From: Monday, 16th November 2009
To: Monday, 23 November 2009
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Irreverent slice of classical mythology - sensual and satirical, hilarious and heart-warming. A mortal beauty loved by a god who over-reaches herself and is destroyed.
18 November 2009
It is easy to see why Handel’s Semele was such a flop when it premiered in 1744. When audiences were expecting another Samson or Saul, a steamy tale of sex, seduction, betrayal and revenge was never likely to go down well during the Lenten season.
By the same token, however, it is no more difficult to explain why this current Royal Academy Opera production is such a success. Not only are we happy to warm to the subject matter today, but this young, and highly talented, cast succeed in tempering the necessary vitality and raunchiness with a certain youthful innocence.
Director Anna Sweeny has chosen to set the tale in castle grounds, with the opera itself being staged by the owner of the estate’s wife. The chorus stand in tiers on one side of a classical pergola, as if supporting a summer outdoors production, whilst we as the audience become an extension of those spectators who sit opposite them. If the negative effect of this decision is th...
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