Friday, 8 June, 6:00pm – ONE ONLY
In Italian with subtitles
This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance — its first in nearly 25 years — with Maurizio Benini on the podium. The all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong.
Semiramide is the culmination of the Italian phase of Gioachino Rossini’s monumental yet unusual career. He had already produced such immortal comedies as Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Italiana in Algeri, but in the early 19th century he was celebrated above all else for his tragedies — none more so than Semiramide.
For decades after its premiere, the opera swept through the music capitals of Europe and beyond, enthralling audiences with its urgent, transcendentally beautiful use of melody; undeniably exhilarating drama; and, most importantly, astonishing vocal displays. Based on a Voltaire tragedy of ancient Babylon with nods to Hamlet and Oedipus, the plot is a heady mixture of romantic intrigue and jockeying for power that unfolds in a sprawling pageant of arias and duets. In the title role of the queen who murders her husband and unwittingly tries to marry her son, the soprano Angela Meade gives her gutsiest Met performance since Norma in 2013, her coloratura fireworks amplifying her pride, guilt and fear.
Rossini’s epic is set in ancient Babylon, now modern-day Iraq, a kingdom which flourished between the 18th and sixth centuries BCE. While the opera does include a handful of local details for colour, including the legendary Hanging Gardens, Rossini and Rossi were more concerned with establishing a feeling of legend and wonder than presenting any true historical accuracy.
USA 2018, 209 min
(includes one 30 min intermission)
Live performance opera
Conductor: Maurizio Benini
Vocal cast: Angela Meade, Elizabeth DeShong, Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov & Ryan Speedo
The Metropolitan Opera changed the face of theatergoing nearly a decade ago with high-definition simulcasts in movie theaters using a technology associated more with rock concerts and boxing matches than opera. We are very lucky at Arthur’s to be able to offer this sensational bit of culture, art and entertainment to you.