Monday, March 5, 2018

Semiramide Is March 10, 2018, Met Opera Saturday Matinee Broadcast


Summary: The March 10, 2018, Met Opera Saturday  matinee broadcast is Semiramide by Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini.


2017-2018 Met Opera season's staging of Gioachino Rossini's Semiramide revives an opera that was last performed at Met Opera during the opera house's 1990-1991 season: METOperaChoristers ‏@MetOperaChorus via Twitter Feb. 13, 2018

Semiramide, a two-act opera seria (“serious opera”) about a scheming queen and her son’s mistaken identity by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (Feb. 29, 1792-Nov. 13, 1868), is the March 10, 2018, Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee broadcast.
Italian opera librettist Gaetano Rossi (May 18, 1774-Jan. 25, 1855) wrote the Italian libretto. The literary source for Rossi’s libretto is Sémiramis, a five-act tragedy by Voltaire, pen name of French Enlightenment philosopher and writer François-Marie Arouet (Nov. 21, 1694-May 30, 1778). Sémiramis premiered Aug. 29, 1748, at the Comédie-Française, then sited in central Paris’s sixth arrondissement (6e arrondissement de Paris), on the Seine’s Left Bank (Rive Gauche de la Seine). Gaetano Rossi previously adapted another Voltaire play, Tancrède (1760) for another Rossini opera, Tancredi (1813).
Semiramide numbers among Rossini’s last three operas. Ugo, re d’Italia (1823-1824), left unfinished, has not been performed. Rossini’s last opera with an Italian libretto, Il Viaggio a Reims, premiered June 19, 1825, at Théâtre Italien, also known as Comédie-Italienne, then sited in the first Salle Favart, near the center of Paris, in the second arrondissement (2e arrondissement de Paris), on the Seine’s right bank (Rive Droite de la Seine). After Il Viaggio a Reims, Rossini concentrated on operas with French librettos.
Semiramide premiered Feb. 3, 1823, at Teatro La Fenice (“Phoenix Theatre”) in Venice, Veneto, northeastern Italy. Rossini’s other Voltaire-influenced opera, Tancredi, had premiered Feb. 6, 1813, at La Fenice.
Eight performances of Semiramide are scheduled for the 2017-2018 Met Opera season. Opening night, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, marks the opera’s 29th performance at the Metropolitan Opera. Two additional performances are scheduled for February: Saturday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
Five early spring performances are scheduled, beginning with Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. The March 10 Saturday matinee broadcast is the opera’s last 2018 performance on Eastern Standard Time. The Wednesday, March 14, performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Closing night, marking Met Opera's 36th performance of Semiramide, is Saturday, March 17, at 8 p.m.
Estimated run time for Semiramide is 3 hours 29 minutes. Act I spans 121 minutes. An intermission of 30 minutes follows the first act. Act II, which is timed for 89 minutes, ends the opera.
Maurizio Benini conducts all performances, including the March 10 Saturday matinee broadcast. His birthplace is Faenza, Ravenna province, northeastern Italy. The Italian conductor debuted Jan. 19, 1998, in the Metropolitan Opera’s 231st performance of L’Elisir d’Amore by Italian bel canto composer Gaetano Donizetti (Nov. 29, 1797-April 8, 1848).
Angela Meade appears in all performances as Semiramide, the scheming Queen of Babylon who discovers that Arsace, the Assyrian commander whom she loves is really her long-lost son, Ninia. Her birthplace is Centralia, Lewis County, southwestern Washington. The American operatic soprano debuted March 21, 2008, in the Metropolitan Opera’s 83rd performance of Ernani by Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi (Oct. 10, 1813-Jan. 27, 1901). In the 2017-2018 Met Opera season, Angela Meade also appears in the title role of Norma by Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini (Nov. 3, 1801-Sept. 23, 1835).
Elizabeth DeShong appears in all performances in the trouser role of Arsace, who accidentally kills his mother, Semiramide, in his father King Nino’s darkened tomb when she tries to stop his sword fight with Prince Assur, a descendant of Baal hopeful of becoming the next King of Babylon. Her hometown is Selinsgrove, Snyder County, central Pennsylvania. The American mezzo-soprano debuted Dec. 31, 2008, as Suzy in the Metropolitan Opera’s 19th performance of La Rondine by Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini (Dec. 22, 1858-Nov. 29, 1924).
Update: For the Saturday, March 17, 2018, performance, Sarah Mesko appears as Arsace. She replaces Elizabeth DeShong, who is ill. Her birthplace is Hot Springs, Garland County, west central Arkansas. The American mezzo-soprano debuted Dec. 20, 2016, as the Second Lady in Met Opera's 426th performance of Die Zauberflöte by Classical Era composer Wolfgang Mozart (Jan. 27, 1756-Dec. 5, 1791). Sarah Mesko also appears in the 2017-2018 Met Opera season as the Second Lady in both the German-language staging of Die Zauberflöte and the family-friendly, English-language staging of The Magic Flute. (Update via Metropolitan Opera ‏@MetOpera Twitter tweet March 17, 2018.)
Javier Camarena appears in all performances as Idreno, an Indian King who joins Arsace and Assur in loving Princess Azema, a descendant of Baal promised to Queen Semiramide’s and deceased King Nino’s lost son, Prince Ninia. His birthplace is Xalapa, Veracruz, eastern Mexico. The Mexican operatic tenor debuted Oct. 1, 2011, as Count Almaviva in the Metropolitan Opera’s 587th performance of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Ildar Abdrazakov appears in all performances as Assur, who hopes for the throne and for Princess Azema’s hand in marriage are both dashed by his rival, Arsace, who in reality is Prince Ninia. His birthplace is Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, southwestern Russia. The Russian bass-baritone debuted March 1, 2004, as Masetto in the Metropolitan Opera’s 476th performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni. In the 2017-2018 Met Opera season, Ildar Abdrazakov also appears as Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
Ryan Speedo Green appears in all performances as Oroe. His birthplace is Tampa, Hillsborough County, west central Florida. The American bass-baritone debuted Sept. 26, 2012, as a Mandarin in the Metropolitan Opera’s 287th performance of Puccini’s Turandot.
Met Opera’s 2017-2018 staging of Semiramide revives the 1990-1991 Met Opera season’s new production directed by John Copley. The British opera and theatre producer’s new production debuted Nov. 30, 1990, in the opera’s 10th performance at the Metropolitan Opera. The production team comprises John Conklin, set designer; Michael Stennett, costume designer; John Froelich, lighting designer.
The opera’s setting is ancient Babylon. Rossini’s opera and Voltaire’s tragedy have roots in events concerning legendary Queen Semiramide of Assyria.
Semiramide appears as the 15th of the 2017-2018 Met Opera season’s 23 Saturday matinee broadcasts. Madama Butterfly was the season’s 14th Saturday matinee broadcast. Madama Butterfly aired Saturday, March 3, 2018, at 1 p.m.
The season’s 16th Saturday matinee broadcast is Elektra by German late Romantic and early modern composer Richard Strauss (June 11, 1864-Sept. 8, 1949). Elektra is scheduled for March 17, 2018, at 1 p.m.
Online database Operabase places Gioachino Rossini in fourth place in a worldwide ranking of 1,281 composers for the five seasons from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016. Giacomo Puccini and Richard Wagner occupy third and fifth places, respectively.
Semiramide occupies place 403 in the worldwide list of 2,658 most popular operas. Places 404 and 405 are held by How the Whale Became by Welsh-born composer Julian Philips and by L’Artaserse by Baroque Neapolitan composer Leonardo Vinci (1690-May 27, 1730), respectively.
Semiramide’s Metropolitan Opera debut took place March 22, 1892. Prior to the 2017-2018 Met Opera season, Semiramide’s most recent Met Opera performances occurred during the 1992-1993 season.
The Metropolitan Opera’s Repertory Report provides statistics for the opera house’s operatic performances. Semiramide is in place 122. Places 121 and 123 are occupied by Der Freischütz by German Romantic Era composer Carl Maria von Weber (Nov. 18/19, 1786-June 5, 1826) and La Damnation de Faust by French Romantic Era composer Louis-Hector Berlioz (Dec. 11, 1803-March 8, 1869), respectively.
The takeaway for Semiramide as the March 10, 2018, Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee broadcast is that the 2017-2018 Met Opera season’s 15th Saturday matinee broadcast presents dramatic portraits of mistaken identity and foiled schemes but offers a happy ending with a long-lost prince’s winning of his rightful throne and of his promised love, Princess Azema.

Angela Meade in the title role in 2017-2018 Met Opera season's staging of Gioachino Rossini's Semiramide: The Metropolitan Opera @MetOpera via Facebook Feb. 28, 2018

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
2017-2018 Met Opera season's staging of Gioachino Rossini's Semiramide revives an opera that was last performed at Met Opera during the opera house's 1990-1991 season: METOperaChoristers ‏@MetOperaChorus via Twitter Feb. 13, 2018, @ https://twitter.com/MetOperaChorus/status/963457995865837571
Angela Meade in the title role in 2017-2018 Met Opera season's staging of Gioachino Rossini's Semiramide: The Metropolitan Opera @MetOpera via Facebook Feb. 28, 2018, @ https://www.facebook.com/MetOpera/photos/a.134969600532.229232.20807115532/10160199953160533/

For further information:
"Composers: Composers Ranked by the Number of Performances of Their Operas Over the Five Seasons 2011/2012 to 2015/16." Operabase > Opera Statistics.
Available @ http://operabase.com/top.cgi?lang=en
“Debut: Angela Meade.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 352433 Ernani {83} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/21/2008.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=352433
“Debut: Javier Camarena.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 354056 Il Barbiere di Siviglia {587} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/01/2011.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=354056
“Debut: Maurizio Benini.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 330354 L’Elisir d’Amore {231} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/19/1998.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=330354
"Debuts: Ildar Abdrazakov . . ." MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 350919 New Production Don Giovanni {476} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/01/2004.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=350919
“Debuts: Jessica Pratt, Sarah Mesko, Misha Grossman, Dylan Hansen Hamme.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 356569 Die Zauberflöte {426} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/20/2016.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=356569
“Debuts: Marius Brenciu, Elizabeth DeShong.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 352796 La Rondine {19} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/31/2008.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=352796
“Debuts: Ryan Speedo Green, Oriada Islami Prifti.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 354549 Turandot {287} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/26/2012.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=354549
Marriner, Derdriu. “2017-2018 Met Opera Season Premiere of Madama Butterfly Is Nov. 2.” Earth and Space News. Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2017/10/2017-2018-met-opera-season-premiere-of_23.html
Marriner, Derdriu. “Madama Butterfly Is March 3, 2018, Met Opera Saturday Matinee Broadcast.” Earth and Space News. Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/02/madama-butterfly-is-march-3-2018-met.html
METOperaChoristers ‏@MetOperaChorus. "OK, seriously, you all need to see #Semiramide at @MetOpera…the singing by these folks is out of this world! @SoprAngela #RyanSpeedoGreen @tenorjcamarena @IldarAbdrazakov @egdeshong." Twitter. Feb. 13, 2018.
Available @ https://twitter.com/MetOperaChorus/status/963457995865837571
The Metropolitan Opera @MetOpera. "Celebrate Rossini's (almost) birthday tonight with Semiramide! The bel canto composer was born in the leap year of 1792. Semiramide is on stage through March 17 starring Angela Meade in the title role of the Babylonian queen. bit.ly/2r0aUJ4 Photo by Ken Howard/Met Opera." Facebook. Feb. 28, 2018.
Available @ https://www.facebook.com/MetOpera/photos/a.134969600532.229232.20807115532/10160199953160533/
Metropolitan Opera ‏@MetOpera. "For this evening’s performance of Semiramide (3/17), Arsace will be sung by Sarah Mesko, replacing Elizabeth DeShong, who is ill. #CastChange." Twitter. March 17, 2018.
Available @ https://twitter.com/MetOpera/status/975155911089147905
“New Production: Semiramide.” MetOpera Database > [Met Performance] CID: 302670 New Production Semiramide {10} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/30/1990.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=BibSpeed/fullcit.w?xCID=302670
"Performances Statistics Through October 31, 2016.” MetOpera Database > The Metropolitan Opera Archives > Repertory Report.
Available @ http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/Database%20Opera%20Statistics.xml
Voltaire. Semiramis, Tragédie, par Monsieur de Voltaire. La Haye, France: n.p., 1749.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_BIvmdULuPVsC

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