Pittsburgh Opera to perform Art Deco production of Handel’s Semele for live, socially-distant audiences May 8-20
Semele is a timeless tale from Greek antiquity about the pitfalls of ambition, vanity, and making open-ended promises.
Stage Director Kristine McIntyre, whose most recent collaboration with Pittsburgh Opera was the critically-acclaimed ‘film noir’ production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in October 2019, is giving Semele a stylish Roaring Twenties Art Deco treatment.
Pittsburgh Opera is pleased to partner with Chatham Baroque for Semele. Founded in 1990, Chatham Baroque continues to excite local, national, and international audiences with dazzling technique and lively interpretations of 17th- and 18th-century music played on authentic period instruments.
Pittsburgh Opera will have live, socially-distant audiences at all six performances. Pittsburgh Opera is maintaining its comprehensive COVID-19 safety protocols, which it used most recently at its successful April performances of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird including reduced seating capacity, mandatory mask wearing, health screenings and temperature checks for all people entering the building, and more. Full details are available on Pittsburgh Opera’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols webpage.
All six performances are currently sold out, but there is room on the waiting list. The Friday, May 14th performance at 7:30PM will be livestreamed free of charge on both Pittsburgh Opera’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. The livestream is sponsored by UPMC.
Patrons may sign up for the livestream at pittsburghopera.org/SemeleRSVP to both receive a reminder email before the broadcast with links to view the livestream and to unlock premium content, including the official program book and the Pre-Opera talk podcast.
Princess Semele wants to live her best life. To her, that doesn’t mean marrying Athamas, a mere human prince. She has her eyes on a bigger prize, none other than Jupiter, King of the Gods, who she thinks will fulfill her in ways no mortal ever could.
Jupiter is a cad, who is all too happy to add Semele to his long list of human mistresses. His wife Juno is none too pleased, and hatches a sure-fire plan for revenge. Appearing as Semele’s sister Ino—who is in love with Athamas — Juno tricks Semele into making a fatal request.
Jupiter, inflamed with passion, swears to give Semele whatever she desires. Semele insists that he appear to her in all his divine glory. Realizing this would kill her, since no human can withstand the awesome power of his thunderbolts, Jupiter tries in vain to change her mind. Undaunted, Semele insists. Being unable to rescind his oath to grant her request, Jupiter reluctantly complies, and the ensuing thunderbolts consume Semele in flames.
- Saturday, May 8, 2021 8:00PM
- Tuesday, May 11, 7:00PM
- Friday, May 14, 7:30PM
- Sunday, May 16, 2:00PM matinee
- Tuesday, May 18, 7:00PM
- Thursday, May 20, 7:30PM
See the Semele show page for the complete cast and artistic team of the opera.
- PNC is the 2020—21 Pittsburgh Opera Season Sponsor.
- UPMC is the Livestream Sponsor.
- Ambridge Regional Distribution and Manufacturing Center is the Tuesday Performance Sponsor.
- WQED-FM is Pittsburgh Opera’s Media Sponsor.
- The performances will be sung in English, with English supertitles projected both above the stage and on-screen during the livestream.
- Run Time: Approximately 1 hour, 25 minutes with no intermission
- Pittsburgh Opera’s popular Audio Commentary program for patrons with visual impairments is available at the Tuesday, May 18th performance.