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Georg Frideric Handel: Semele

Justino Diaz • Sheila Armstrong • Helen Watts
Robert Tear • Felicity Palmer
Amor Artis Chorale • English Chamber Orchestra
Johannes Somary, conductor

*** (3 stars) “Though he favours oratorio-like tempi, [Johannes] Somary keeps in mind an operatic flavour and the Amor Artis Chorale (pseudonymn for well-known professional recording choir) sings splendidly, often with great vigour… attractive ornamentation…. Overall the performance has much charm and spirit with superb soloists…. [T]he fine recording allows excellent detail yet is full and expansive.”
– © Penguin Guide to Classical Recordings , 1999

Georg Frideric Handel (1985-1759)
Semele, opera-oratorio in 3 acts
Disc One (73.27)

1. Overture 5.59
Act One, Scene I (Temple of Juno: Cadmus, Athamus, Ino & Priests)
2. Recitative: Priest “Behold, auspicious flashes rise……” 1.55
3. Chorus of Priests “Lucky omens bless our rites” 3.54
4. Cadmus, Athamas. Recitative, arioso & duet: Cadmus: “Daughter, obey” 1.14
5. Recitative & Aria: Semele “Ah me…” 3.37
6. Cadmus, Ino, Athamas, Semele. Recitative: Ino “Alas ! she yields”: Quartet: response 4.28
7. Chorus of Priests “Avert these omens” 2.12
8. Cadmus, Athamas, Semele, Chorus of Priests. Recitative: Cadmus:
“Again, auspicious flashes….” 2.06
Scene III (Cadmus joins Athamus & Ino)
9. Cadmus, Athamas, Ino. Recitative & aria: Cadmus “Ah, wretched prince…” 3.07
Scene IV (enter Chorus of Priests & Zephyrs)
10. Cadmus, Chorus of Priests & Augurs. Recitative: Cadmus, Chorus “See, see” 1.38
11. Semele, Chorus. Aria: Semele, “Endless pleasure” 4.54
Act Two
12. Sinfonia 1.52
Scene I (Juno & Iris descend into a pleasant country)
13. Juno, Iris. Recitative & Aria: Juno, “Awake Saturnia” 6.17
Scene II (Semele in Palace, Loves & Zephyrs attend)
14. Aria: Semele “Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me?” 3.50
Scene III (Juno enters)
15. Semele, Jupiter. Aria: Semele, “Let me not another moment” 4.14
16. Jupiter; Athamus, Chorus of Loves & Zephyrs. Recitative, Jupiter: “you are mortal” 4.55
17. Jupiter, Semele. Recitative: Semele “Ah, me” Aria, Jupiter: “why sigh” 3.55
18. Chorus of Loves & Zephyrs “Now love, that everlasting boy invites” 2.43
19. Jupiter, Semele. Recitative & Aria: Jupiter “By my command”..”Where’er you walk” 6.47
Scene IV (Semele and Ino embrace, Chorus attends)
20. Semele, Ino, Chorus of Nymphs & Swains: Recitative & Aria:
Semele: “Dear Sister, how was your journey hither?” 3.41
Disc Two (70.19)
Act Two, Scene IV (concluded)
1. Duet: Semele & Ino “Prepare then, ye immortal choir” 2.28
2. Chorus of Nymphs & Swains: “Bless the glad earth” 2.58
Act Three
3. Sinfonia 1.58
Scene I (Juno, Iris enter the Cave of Sleep)
4. Recitative. & aria: Juno Iris, Somnus. Juno “Somnus awake” 5.08
5. Iris, Juno, Somnus. Recit. Iris: “Dull God, canst though attend” Aria, Juno: 3.37
6. Juno, Somnus & Iris. Recitative: Juno: “My will obey” 3:17
Scene III (Juno now as Ino)
7. Juno, Semele. Aria: Semele “Myself I shall adore” 7.29
8. Recitative & aria: Juno, Semele. Juno: “Be wise, as you are beautiful” …. 4.56
9. Recitative & aria: Juno, Semele. Juno: “Rich odours fill the fragrant air” … 4.07
Scene IV (Jupiter & Semele )
10. Jupiter, Semele. Recitative: Jupiter: “Oh Semele” 2.55
11. Jupiter, Semele. Recitative & aria: Jupiter: “Speak, speak your desire” 3.28
12. Aria: Semele “No, no, I’ll take no less” 5.56
Scene V (Jupiter alone)
13. Aria; Jupiter “Ah, wither is she gone?” 3.51
Scene VI (Juno alone)
14. Aria: Juno “Above measure is the pleasure” 2.21
Scene VII (Semele sees Jupiter descending, Lightning & thunder)
15. Aria : Semele “Ah, me ! Too late I now repent” 4.19
Scene VIII
16. Cadmus, Athamus, Ino, Chorus of Priests. Recitative: Ino: “of my ill-boding dream” 5.08
Scene, the last (Apollo appears)
17. Sinfonia 1.44
18. Recitative & aria: Apollo: “Apollo comes” Chorus: “Happy, happy” 4.31

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