This operatic masterpiece by Rossini, full of vocal fireworks, is a real challenge for every theatre house, which is why it rarely gets into their repertories. At the Met “Semiramide” has not been performed for 25 years. Now it is being conducted by the veteran Maurizio Benini who always impresses with his sensitivity and finesse. He is a world renowned master of the bel canto repertoire. The production is under the direction of the 84 years old Brit John Copley who has also made a film version of the opera in 1990.
Gaetano Rossi uses the tragedy of the same name by Voltaire for the base of his libretto, while Rossini turns to the traditions of baroque singing with its demand for virtuosity. Particularly stunning are the duets of Semiramide and Arsace – the Queen of Babylon and the young warrior with whom she is in love and who turns out to be her lost son. Rossini prepared the complex music score in the course of only 33 days.
In the staging at the Met, soprano Angela Meade, winner of the prestigious “Beverly Sills” Award, makes her debut in the role of Semiramide.
John Conklin’s sets and Michael Stennett’s costumes, plausibly Baroque in scale, were generous with color and not afraid to glitter.
New York Times
On the photo: A scene from Rossini’s Semiramide