by George Frideric Handel • May 8, 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 2021

Semele is a Baroque gem by master composer George Frideric Handel. It is timeless tale from Greek antiquity about the pitfalls of ambition, vanity, and making open-ended promises.

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 Jove (Jupiter), King of the Gods, who she thinks will fulfill her in ways no mortal ever could. 

Jove 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, Juno tricks Semele into making a fatal request. 

Jove, 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, Jove tries in vain to change her mind. Undaunted, Semele insists. Being unable to rescind his oath to grant her request, Jove reluctantly complies, and the ensuing thunderbolts consume Semele in flames.

Join us for Pittsburgh Opera’s first-ever performances of Handel’s Semele, with a stylish Roaring Twenties Art Deco production conducted by Music Director Antony Walker and directed by Kristine McIntyre.

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.

Sung in English, with supertitles projected above the stage.

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Register for the Friday, May 14th livestream here, sponsored by UPMC.


License by arrangement with Oxford University Press

Cadmus (Jeremy Harr) with his daughter Ino (Madeline Ehlinger). photo credit: David Bachman

Juno, Queen of the Gods and spurned wife of Jove (Maire Therese Carmack). photo credit: David Bachman

Semele (Véronique Filloux) lives in splendor in the palace Jove has created for her. photo credit: David Bachman

Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow (Meghan DeWald). photo credit: David Bachman

Jove (Aaron Crouch) tries to reconcile with his wife Juno (Maire Therese Carmack). photo credit: David Bachman

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