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Seattle Opera.

Semele

Feb. 21 - Mar. 7, 2015

Overview

By George Frederic Handel

ENDLESS PLEASURE. ENDLESS LOVE. In Handel’s sensuous and sparkling charmer, an unsophisticated but ambitious maiden journeys outside her comfort zone to the rarefied realm of the “beautiful people.” Elegant and expressive, this all-new production stars the incomparable Stephanie Blythe as Juno, the goddess queen bent on teaching the interloper a lesson. Highlighting the opera’s universal themes and sense of play, our debut presentation of this early work explores what it means to live life to the fullest.

In English with English subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Approximate Running Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes with 2 intermissions

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Synopsis

ACT I
The Temple of Juno, Queen of the Gods, wife of Jupiter.
 Semele, daughter of Cadmus, is engaged to marry Athamas, and the family gathers to celebrate the nuptials. Not everyone is happy, however; Semele's sister, Ino, secretly loves Athamas. And Semele herself is really in love with the god Jupiter, also known as Jove. She prays to him to intervene, whereupon the Mighty Thunderer breaks up the wedding with dreadful omens.

Privately, Ino admits that she loves Athamas. Cadmus interrupts them to say that Semele was abducted and whisked away to the realm of the gods. There Semele discovers a world of "Endless pleasure, endless love."


ACT II
Juno's Dwelling.
 The goddess Iris tells Juno (who is also known as "Saturnia") about the gorgeous pleasure-palace Jupiter has created for Semele. Juno vows to destroy her new rival. In the aria "Hence, Iris, away," she and Iris set out on their quest: Juno plans to enlist the help of Somnus, god of sleep.