Rare Operatic Performance

(Above: Angela Meade as Queen Semiramide in the Met staging of Rossini’s opera. Source: YouTube screenshot)

This Sunday, July 8, PBS will air a rare Metropolitan Opera staging of Gioachino Rossini’s opera Semiramide (check your local listings).

The program is part of PBS’ Great Performances at the Met, now in its 12th season.

Semiramide is set in Ancient Babylon, “where Assur comes to the temple of Baal in hopes that Queen Semiramide will choose him as the successor to the fallen King Nino. His plans for the throne are quickly thwarted by the arrival of the warrior Arsace, who was summoned by the queen and is announced to become both king and her husband.” Then things get interesting.

Angela Meade performs the role of Queen Semiramide of Babylon and Elizabeth DeShong appears as the warrior Arsace.

The cast also includes Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov and Ryan Speedo Green.

Below, from a dress rehearsal, Meade sings the aria “Bel raggio lusinghier” from Act I:

Maurizio Benini conducts the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. Susanna Phillips hosts.

The New York Times called the Met’s revival of Rossini’s bel canto work (the first such Met staging in 25 years) “unglamorous but excellent.” (What is bel canto? The New York Times’ chief classical music critic Anthony Tommasini explains.)

You can stream PBS programming by becoming a supporter of your local PBS station. The PBS Passport is available to viewers who donate a minimum of $5 a month/$60 a year. For more information, visit pbs.org/video and select your local station from the tab in the upper left-hand corner.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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