10 – 19 September 2020

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Tour Dates


10, 12, 15, 17 September 2020  / 7.30pm

19 September 2020 / 5.00pm

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Fame and immortality

Mythology goes to church in this unique staging of Semele inside Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral directed by Thomas de Mallet Burgess and Jacqueline Coats.

Handel’s score is an opera and oratorio hybrid, Unlike his much more famous Messiah, this work was considered profane when first performed. Drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and turned into a libretto by Congreve, the sensual story explores a love triangle between Jupiter, King of the Gods, his wife, the goddess Juno, and his lover, the mortal princess Semele.

A new Baroque orchestra will be formed especially for Semele featuring period instrument players conducted by Peter Walls, a globally acknowledged expert in the performance of period music. Influential British Baroque violinist Catherine Mackintosh joins the production as Concertmaster.

Australian soprano Celeste Lazarenko will make her New Zealand Opera debut in the title role, alongside remarkable New Zealand singers Amitai Pati, Paul Whelan, Sarah Castle, Stephen Diaz and Chelsea Dolman. The work incorporates the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus and the Cathedral Choir to give voice to the polyphonic choruses so beloved by Handel.

Duration: This performance is 3 hours long with a 20 minute interval.

This opera is sung in English.

Meet The Cast

Semele Celeste Lazarenko

Jupiter/Apollo Amitai Pati

Cadmus/Somnus Paul Whelan

Juno/Ino Sarah Castle

Athamas Stephen Diaz

Iris Chelsea Dolman

The Creative Team

Directed by Thomas de Mallet Burgess & Jacqueline Coats

Designed by Tracy Grant Lord

Lighting designed by Jo Kilgour

Conductor Peter Walls