Handel's Semele

Our annual commission from Carnegie Hall has quickly become a ritual, and it is not difficult to see why.

Uniting some of Handel’s greatest music with all-star casts, directed by Artistic Director Harry Bicket and with our virtuosic orchestra in full flight, it is an unmissable event. With Ariodante and Rinaldo in most recent seasons, now comes the turn of Semele; a tale of adultery and revenge amongst Gods.

The English Concert
Harry Bicket
director/harpsichord
Brenda Rae Semele
Elizabeth DeShong Juno/Ino
Benjamin Hulett Jupiter
Soloman Howard Cadmus/Somnus
Ailish Tynan Iris
Christopher Lowrey Athamas
Clarion Choir
Steven Fox Clarion Choir artistic director

‘In fact, one can’t say enough about the splenors of The English Concert under Bicket. At every turn, it seemed, they brought more colors and virtuosity to the music than we have any right to expect, whether in grand solos or the most minor phrase.’ – Broadway World

‘in arguably one of the most memorable performances of any opera in 2018, The English Concert came in with a superstar cast and conquered in a big way.' - OperaWire (New York)

ARIODANTE HIGHLIGHTS
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"If there is a more supportive Handelian conductor than Bicket, he or she is in hiding. The English Concert played with the vivacity and discipline of a continental ensemble, secured by Joseph Crouch’s expressive and attentive continuo cello, decorated variously with oboes, natural horns and dulcet treble recorders, and perfumed with the heathery tone of a mournful bassoon in Scherza infida" - The...

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Following her stunning appearance in Alcina in 2014, the latest instalment in our Handel opera series sees the return of Joyce DiDonato in the title role. Marking 500 years since the publication of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, a tale of knights and entangled love, Ariodante stands as Handel’s final opera on the subject after Alcina and Orlando.

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‘[DiDonato] allowed herself for a bar or two to drop to a pianissimo in a shattering instant of vulnerability. Bicket and the ensemble were right with her, their sound suddenly as delicate as lace under her whispered phrases.’ – New York Classical Review

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Following Radamisto, Theodora, Alcina, Hercules and Orlando in previous years, the prospects of Ariodante and the all-star cast of Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, Sonia Prina, Christiane Karg, Mary Bevan, David Portillo, Matthew Brook, Tyson Miller and Bradley Smith were enough to send tickets flying out of the door. Catch a glimpse of the highlights, recorded live from Carnegie Hall.