Handel: Semele

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Handel: Semele



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Release date:

30th June 2008




3 hours 0 minutes


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Handel: Semele

Secular Oratorio in Three Acts

Elisabeth Scholl (Semele), Julla Schmidt (Iris), Ralf Popken (Athamas), Britta Schwarz (Ino), Annette Markert (Juno), Knut Schoch (Apollo), Klaus Mertens (Cadmus/Somnus/Priest)

Junge Kantorei & Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra, Joachim Carlos Martini

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Handel’s oratorio Semele was composed in 1743 and tells of a beautiful mortal (Semele), whose short but spectacular love affair with Jupiter, King of the Gods, comes to a terrifying end in consequence of both her own vanity and the scheming of Jupiter’s insanely jealous wife Juno. Written at the peak of Handel’s powers, it is crammed with his most sparkling and dramatic music: spectacular orchestral numbers and powerful choruses combine with heart-stopping arias, including the popular Where’er you walk and the coloratura showpiece Myself I shall adore.

George Frideric Handel: Semele, HWV 58

Act I: Overture

Act I: Gavotte

Act I: Accompagnato: Behold! Auspicious flashes rise (Chief Priest)

Act I: Lucky omens bless our rites (Chorus of Priests and Augurs)

Act I: Recitative and Arioso: Daughter, obey, Hear and obey! (Cadmus, Athamas)

Act I: Accompagnato and Aria: Ah me! What refuge now is left me? (Semele)

Act I: Aria: The morning lark to mine accords his note (Semele)

Act I: Aria: See, she blushing turns her eyes (Ino)

Act I: Recitative: Alas! She yields, and has undone me! (Ino, Athamas, Semele)

Act I: Quartet: Why dost thou thus untimely grieve (Cadmus, Ino, Athamas, Semele)

Act I: Avert these omens, all ye pow'rs! (Chorus of Priests and Augurs)

Act I: Accompagnato: Again auspicious flashes rise (Cadmus)

Act I: Recitative: Thy aid, pronubial Juno, Athamas implores! (Athamas, Semele)

Act I: Cease, cease your vows, 'tis impious to proceed (Chorus of Priests and Augurs)

Act I: Recitative: O Athamas, what torture hast thou borne! (Athamas)

Act I: Aria: Turn, hopeless lover, turn thy eye (Ino)

Act I: Recitative: She weeps! (Athamas)

Act I: Aria: Your tuneful voice my tale would tell (Athamas)

Act I: Recitative: Too well I see, Thou wilt not understand me (Ino, Athamas)

Act I: Duet: You've undone me (Ino, Athamas)

Act I: Recitative and Accompagnato: Ah, wretched prince, doom'd to disastrous love! (Cadmus, Athamas, Ino)

Act I: Hail, Cadmus, hail! Jove salutes the Theban King (Chorus of Priests and Augurs)

Act I: Aria: Endless pleasure, endless love (Semele)

Act I: Endless pleasure, endless love (Chorus of Love and Zephyrs)

Act II: Symphony

Act II: Recitative: Iris, impatient of thy stay (Juno, Iris)

Act II: Aria: There, from mortal cares retiring (Iris)

Act II: Recitative and Accompagnato: No more, I'll hear no more! (Juno, Iris)

Act II: Aria: Hence, Iris, hence away! (Juno)

Act II: Aria: Come, Zephyrs, come (Cupid)

Act II: Aria: O sleep, why dost thou leave me? (Semele)

Act II: Recitative: Let me not another moment bear the pangs of absence (Semele)

Act II: Aria: Lay your doubts and fears aside (Jupiter)

Act II: Recitative: You are mortal and require time to rest (Jupiter)

Act II: Aria: With fond desiring (Semele)

Act II: How engaging, how endearing (Chorus of Loves and Zephyrs)

Act II: Recitative: Ah me! (Semele, Jupiter)

Act II: Aria: I must with speed amuse her (Jupiter)

Act II: Now Love, that everlasting boy (Chorus of Loves and Zephyrs)

Act II: Recitative: By my command now (Jupiter, Semele)

Act II: Aria: Where'er you walk (Jupiter)

Act II: Recitative: Dear sister, how was your passage hither? (Semele, Ino)

Act II: Aria: But hark! (Ino)

Act II: Accompagnato and Arioso: Prepare then, ye immortal choir (Ino, Semele)

Act II: Bless the glad earth with heav'nly lays (Chorus of Nymphs and Swains)

Act III: Symphony

Act III: Accompagnato: Somnus, awake! (Juno, Iris)

Act III: Aria: Leave me, loathsome light! (Somnus)

Act III: Recitative: Dull God, canst thou attend the water's fall (Iris, Juno)

Act III: Aria: More sweet is that name (Somnus)

Act III: Recitative: My will obey (Juno, Somnus)

Act III: Duet: Obey my will (Juno, Somnus)

Act III: Aria: My racking thoughts by no kind slumbers freed (Semele)

Act III: Recitative: Thus shap'd like Ino (Juno, Semele)

Act III: Accompagnato: Behold in this mirror (Juno)

Act III: Recitative: O ecstasy of happiness! (Semele)

Act III: Aria: Myself I shall adore (Semele)

Act III: Recitative: Be wise, as you are beautiful (Juno, Semele)

Act III: Accompagnato: Conjure him by his oath (Juno)

Act III: Aria: Thus let my thanks be pay'd (Semele)

Act III: Recitative: Rich odours fill the fragrant air (Juno, Semele)

Act III: Aria: Come to my arms, my lovely fair (Jupiter)

Act III: Recitative: O Semele! Why art thou thus insensible? (Jupiter, Semele)

Act III: Recitative: Speak, speak your desire (Jupiter, Semele)

Act III: Aria: Ah! Take heed what you press! (Jupiter)

Act III: Aria: No, no, I'll take no less (Semele)

Act III: Recitative: Ah, whither is she gone! (Jupiter)

Act III: Aria: Above measure is the pleasure (Juno)

Act III: Recitative: Ah me! Too late I now repent (Semele)

Act III: Recitative: Of my ill-boding dream (Ino)

Act III: Chorus: Oh, terror and astonishment! (Chorus of Priests)

Act III: Recitative: How I was hence remov'd (Ino, Cadmus, Athamas)

Act III: Aria: Despair no more shall wound me (Athamas)

Act III: Recitative: See from above the bellying clouds descend (Cadmus)

Act III: Symphony

Act III: Recitative: Apollo comes, to relieve your care (Apollo)

Act III: Happy, happy shall we be (Chorus)

Penguin Guide



“There are many pleasures to be had...given a generally enjoyable performance, stylishly accompanied by the excellent Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra...Elisabeth Scholl's dashing coloratura in the name role certainly carries the part, and she is delightful in her portrayal of the morning lark...She gets appealing support from the other female participants...Knut Schoch has a fine, resonant tenor voice as Jupiter”

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