Opera Collective Ireland & Kilkenny Arts Festival present Handel’s Semele
Opera Collective Ireland and Kilkenny Arts Festival are delighted to present Handel’s masterpiece Semele for three special performances as part of KAF 2022. A story of adultery and vengeance among the gods, its lyrical arias and dramatic choruses , coupled with a unique blend of tragedy and comedy make it one of Handel’s richest and most compelling operas.
Based on one of the most salacious passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and with a libretto by Restoration playwright William Congreve, its risque script is one of the reasons why “Handel’s sexiest opera” has was axed after only a handful of performances.
The production reunites some of the creative team behind the critically acclaimed production of Monteverdi’s Return of Ulysses (Kilkenny Arts Festival 2018), including Tony-winning director Patrick Mason, baroque conductor Christian Curnyn and the world-renowned baroque ensemble Akademie für Alte Musique Berlin. They are joined by an exciting cast of young singers (Kelli-Ann Masterson, Jade Phoenix, Andrew Gavin, Dominica Williams, Gerben Van der Werf, Edward Hawkins and Fionn Ó hAlmhain) and the dynamic Sestina Choral Ensemble for this must-see production.
“It is extremely exciting to welcome our wonderful partners, Opera Collective Ireland, back to Kilkenny for our long-planned co-production of this wonderful opera, Handel’s Semele. Audiences who witnessed the return of Monteverdi’s Ulysses in 2018 will be delighted to see the same creative team reunited again for this thrilling production, featuring Patrick Mason, Christian Curnyn, Paul Keogan and Catherine Fay. In addition to a stellar cast, it is a real joy to welcome back our friends from the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and welcome the very exciting vocal ensemble Sestina as our festival choir for the first time. It promises to be a highlight of the opening weekend in Kilkenny in August,” said Kilkenny Arts Festival Director Olga Barry.
“It is hard to describe how delighted Opera Collective Ireland is to finally be able to join our partners and co-producers at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in presenting Handel’s magnificent masterpiece, Semele. It is with deep sadness that this production had to be canceled not once but twice, and our wonderful young cast, creative team, superb Sestina Choir and world-class orchestra Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin have been waiting for this moment since 2020! I can only say what a joyous time it is for the whole company. Our thanks to the Kilkenny Arts Festival and the Arts Council of Ireland for their support of Semele,” added Colette McGahon, Artistic Director of Opera Collective. Ireland.
Performances will be August 4 at 7 p.m., August 5 at 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. on August 7 at the Watergate Theatre.
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