Rossini’s Masterpiece "Semiramide" from "Great Performances at the Met" Features Angela Meade as the Queen of Babylon

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06 July 2018
Great Performances at the Met: Rossini's Semiramide
Courtesy of Ken Howard/Met Opera
     "Great Performances at the Met: Rossini's Semiramide"
Premieres Sunday, July 8 at 12 PM on PBS
(Check local listings)
          Season 12 of "Great Performances at the Met" continues with a rare Met performance of Rossini’s masterpiece "Semiramide," starring Angela Meade as the titular Queen of Babylon and Elizabeth DeShong as the warrior Arsace. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov and Ryan Speedo Green complete the all-star bel canto cast.
          John Copley’s production takes place in Ancient Babylon, where Assur comes to the temple of Baal in hopes that Queen Semiramide will choose him as the successor to the fallen King Nino. His plans for the throne are quickly thwarted by the arrival of the warrior Arsace, who was summoned by the queen and is announced to become both king and her husband. The ghost of Nino appears and proclaims that the warrior will reign, but only after a victim is sacrificed in atonement, leading Arsace to vow vengeance. 


          Semiramide later denies Assur’s claim that she promised her hand in marriage in return for arranging Nino’s murder. Arsace soon learns that he is the true crown prince of Babylon, the long lost son of Nino and Semiramide, and that the queen and Assur are responsible for his father’s assassination. Arsace reveals himself to Semiramide as her son, but cannot bring himself to kill his mother, against her orders. Semiramide attempts to save Arsace from Assur, who is waiting to ambush Arsace at Nino’s tomb, but her heroic effort ends tragically at the hands of her son when she is mistaken for her accomplice in the dark. Maurizio Benini conducts. Christopher Maltman hosts.
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