Semele is engaged, but secretly in love with someone else. Her lover is none other than Jove, King of the Gods. When he carries her off his wife Juno devises a scheme that will ensure a swift and brutal end – both to her husband’s infidelity and to Semele herself.
With a plot full of lusty Gods and beautiful mortals, where intrigue and desire take centre-stage, Handel’s Semele combines the drama of Italian opera with the choral splendour and richness of English oratorio. Ovid’s colourful Metamorphoses provides the starting point for a work that scandalised 18th-century audiences, a story of transformations, seductions and illusions that drew new sensuality and ecstasy from the composer.
Award-winning director Adele Thomas makes her Glyndebourne debut with the festival’s first-ever staging of Semele. Period specialist Václav Luks conducts an exciting young cast.
Recorded live at Glyndebourne Opera House, Festival 2023