NTSC 16:9 (720x480) VBR Auto Pan&Scan | English (LinearPCM, 2 ch) English (DTS, 5 ch) | 6.02 Gb + 3,72 Gb (DVD9+DVD5) Classical | DECCA | Sub: English, Francais, Deutsch, Espanol, Chinese | 154 min | +3% Recovery
By 1741 Handel was out of the opera business. For three decades he had presided over a thriving Italian Opera House in London, had produced dozens of operas by other composers as well as written and produced some thirty five or so operas of his own composition. All this time he had been in the favor of the royals and the "people of Quality". However the tastes of the London audience had changed and he had gone from a wealthy man to near bankruptcy. Now he simply changed forms and was writing oratorios in English and was again prospering. A succession of "hits" folloowed including Messiah, Samson, Saul, Joseph and his Brethren etc. Then in 1743 he too up the script of Semele, a tale from Ovid. He had previously written a "serenata" in English also based on Ovid in 1714 called Acis and Galatea which is in oratorio style, not staged. Semele was to be a non-opera even though the libretto by William Congreve was set as an opera by John Eccles in 1707 but not performed at that time. This libretto is a masterpiece of English writing. It pulsates with life, passion, lust, comedy, pathos and eroticism. Certainly not something for a church choir. Handel added some parts of Alexander Pope e.g. Jupiter's "Where 'er you walk" to fill in the Congreve text. His great inspiration began to flow again and Handel produced one of the most perfect gems of his great output.
Semele - Cecilia Bartoli Juno - Birgit Remmert Ino - Liliana Nikiteanu Jupiter - Charles Workman Iris - Isabel Rey Cadmus/Somnus - Anton Schringer Athamas - Thomas Michael Allen Chorus of the Opernhaus Zurich Orchestra “La Scintilla” Conductor - William Christie
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