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Händel’s sexiest opera

John Eliot Gardiner + the Monteverdi ensembles perform Händel’s “Semele“.

  • Semele | Copyright: © Antoni Bofil

    Semele © Antoni Bofil

  • Semele | Copyright: © Brescia Amisano

    Semele © Brescia Amisano

In Spring 2019, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, led by John Eliot Gardiner, presented a critically acclaimed European tour of Händel’s opera “Semele”, including Alexandra Palace Theatre in London, where this live recording took place.

Before the tour, “Semele” had not been performed by John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi ensembles since they originally recorded it in the 1980s and this recording gives audiences the chance to hear and to see a fuller version of the work, notably with some passages by Händel very rarely heard in modern performances. Close examination of Händel’s autograph (held in the British Library) and some fragmentary sketches (held in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge) reveals the complex series of revisions made by Händel.

A glamorous team of young soloists joins the Monteverdi ensembles to bring the story of “Semele” to life, including celebrated English soprano Louise Alder, who takes on the title role, with the young tenor Hugo Hymas portraying the amorous Jupiter.

“Semele’s musical score is a glorious blend of irresistible solo arias – some virtuosic showstoppers, others lyrical, sensual and evocative, ensembles, duets, accompanied recitatives and (unlike his operas) imposing choruses. Still more than when I first performed it and recorded it almost forty years ago, I feel Semele's time has finally come.” John Eliot Gardiner

Genre Opera
Recording location Alexandra Palace Theatre in London
Recording date 2 May 2019
Duration 180'
Video format HD
Production Company Stagecast Limited
TV Director Robert Kealey
Producer A production by The Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras Limited
Director Thomas Guthrie
Light Design Rick Fisher
Costumes Patricia Hofstede
English title of music work George Frideric Handel: Semele (Dramatic Oratorio in three acts)
Libretto William Congreve
Choir Monteverdi Choir
Soloist English Baroque Soloists
Soloist Louise Alder (Semele), Hugo Hymas (Jupiter), Lucile Richardot (Juno / Ino), Carlo Vistoli (Athamas), Gianluca Buratto (Cadmus / Somnus), Emily Owen (Iris), Angela Hicks (Cupid), Peter Davoren (Apollo), Angharad Rowlands (Endless Pleasure), Christopher Webb (High Priest)
Conductor John Eliot Gardiner
Distribution TV EuroArts Music

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