David Alden directs The Royal Opera’s first production of Rossini’s epic tragedy Semiramide.
Rossini wrote Semiramide in 1823, his last year in Italy before moving to Paris. The opera makes a fittingly magnificent finale to his Italian career: its astonishing structure and span anticipates the sophistication of his later masterpiece Guillaume Tell, while the blistering and virtuoso title role – written for Rossini’s wife Isabella Colbran – inspired many later composers, including Bellini in his Norma. Based on a story by Voltaire, the tragedy sees its characters wrestle against fate as the story propels them towards the harrowing finale, to music of magnificent beauty.
David Alden directs a new production for The Royal Opera. He describes Semiramide as ‘hard and political, almost as if it is carved out of stone, and what lies beneath is like a Greek tragedy’. He gives the opera a 20th-century setting, in which Semiramide rules an authoritarian state. He has assembled a team of regular collaborators to bring this late, great Rossini tragedy to the stage, in The Royal Opera’s first ever production.
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