Gioachino Rossini

Semiramide

Feb 19 - Mar 17

This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance—its first in nearly 25 years—with Maurizio Benini on the podium. The all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green complete the stellar cast.

Production a gift of the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for Lincoln Center, established by the founders of The Readers Digest Association, Inc.

Revival a gift of Ekkehart Hassels-Weiler

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 29 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 105 mins
  • Intermission 30 mins
  • Act II 74 mins
  • Opera Ends
Feb 19 - Mar 17

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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Cast

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World Premiere: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 1823

Semiramide is the culmination of the Italian phase of Rossini’s monumental yet unusual career. He had already produced such immortal comedies as Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Italiana in Algeri, but in the early 19th century he was celebrated above all else for his tragedies—none more so than Semiramide. For decades after its premiere, the opera swept through the music capitals of Europe and beyond, enthralling audiences with its urgent, transcendentally beautiful use of melody; undeniably exhilarating drama; and, most importantly, astonishing vocal displays.

Creators

Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) was the world’s foremost opera composer in his day. Over the course of just two decades, he created more than 30 works, both comic and tragic, before retiring from opera composition in 1829. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, Gaetano Rossi (1774­–1855) created libretti for many of the leading composers of his era, including Rossini, for whom he also penned the text for Tancredi (1813), Donizetti, and Meyerbeer.

Production John Copley

Set Designer John Conklin

Costume Designer Michael Stennett

Lighting Designer John Froelich

Gioachino Rossini

Composer

Gioachino Rossini

Setting

Rossini’s epic is set in ancient Babylon, now modern-day Iraq, a kingdom which flourished between the 18th and sixth centuries BCE. While the opera does include a handful of local details for color, including the legendary Hanging Gardens, Rossini and Rossi were more concerned with establishing a feeling of legend and wonder than presenting any true historical accuracy.

Music

The music of Semiramide combines the cherished assets of Rossini’s style—magnificent vocalism, irresistible melody, buoyant energy—with achievements unique to this score. The extremely difficult vocal style necessary for the solos is evident from the title character’s ravishing aria, “Bel raggio lusinghier.” Rossini’s famous mastery of rhythm forms the core of this opera. In the justly famous duets, subtle rhythmic changes and pulsing melodic figures illustrate the characters’ emerging realizations. And the towering ensembles, such as the extended Act I finale, are proof of the vast musical conception Rossini realized in this opera, far beyond opportunities limited to superficial vocal display.