RAO: Semele

Laurence Cummings conductor
Olivia Fuchs director
takis set and costume designer
Jake Wiltshire lighting designer

Handel Semele, HWV 58

Handel wrote Semele in English for maximum impact, though it is considered ‘no oratorio, but a baudy opera’ (Charles Jennens). Conceived as an allegory on unbridled ambition, greed and lust, Handel drew on the story of Semele who, as a pawn in the battle between Juno and Jupiter, is destroyed by her wish to become immortal.

This witty, cautionary tale reverberates with echoes of contemporary events, showing how power can corrupt and individuals are exploited when egocentricity reigns.

‘To stir, to rouse, to shake the soul he comes And Jove’s own thunders follow Mars’s drums.’

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