Opera: Passion, Power and Politics
Sponsored by Societe Generale · In collaboration with Royal Opera House
Friday, 10 November, 18.00-19.00
Saturday, 11 November, 14.00-15.00
Composed in 1744, Semele features some of Handel’s most exquisitely beautiful music, with soaring choruses and splendid orchestral writing enhancing this most touching and humorous opera.
A love story with a twist; the god Jupiter is captivated by the beauty of the all-too-human Semele. Inspired by the dramatic and colourful mythological characters, Handel’s music is powerfully seductive. Jupiter entrances Semele by promising that ‘Where e’er you walk’ he will arrange for trees to provide welcome shade, and that at her every step, flowers will blossom into life. She exults, with unabashed sensual delight, in everything that Jupiter has to offer, singing triumphantly of ‘Endless pleasure, endless love’. In this parable of over-ambition and over-indulgence Semele flirts with danger by demanding immortality and suffers the consequences, leaving behind her one life-enhancing legacy – her son, Bacchus, god of wine.
Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Norwegian National Opera, directs, with Jonathan Cohen making his Garsington Opera conducting debut. Heidi Stober and Robert Murray make their role debuts as Semele and Jupiter with the renowned Christine Rice returning to Garsington to sing Juno.
“Comical and clever.” – Financial Times