Premieres Sunday, July 8 at 12 PM on PBS
(Check local listings)
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.