Handel’s ‘Semele’ Takes Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, & John Eliot Gardiner On A European Tour

By Nicole Kuchta

This spring, a new production of “Semele,” directed by Thomas Guthrie, will take the Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, and John Eliot Gardiner on a European tour. This will be the team’s first time collaborating together on Handel’s 1744 opera since recording it for Erato Records over 30 years ago.

The ensemble is set to perform at Europe’s foremost concert halls including the Philharmonie de Paris, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música, Milan’s La Scala, and Rome’s Sala Santa Cecilia. Additionally, “Semele,” which originally premiered in London, will be returning to the city with a performance at the Alexandra Palace Theatre.

“Semele,” which Gardiner refers to as “Handel’s sexiest opera,” tells the salacious story of the affair between Jupiter, king of the gods, and his mortal mistress Semele, ultimately culminating in an act of bitter vengeance by Jupiter’s wife Juno.

Guthrie will present the score in an original concert staging starring Louise Alder in the title role of Semele, Hugo Hymas as Jupiter, and Lucile Richardot as Juno / Ino. Also featured are countertenor Carlo Vistoli as Athamus and bass Gianluca Buratto as Cadmus / Somnus.

Performance dates are scheduled as follows: April 8 in Paris, April 24 in Barcelona, May 2 in London, May 6 in Milan, and May 8 in Rome.