Johann Adolph Hasse: La Semele (1726)

/Johann Adolph Hasse: La Semele (1726)
Johann Adolph Hasse: La Semele (1726)2016-07-22T10:51:59+00:00

The score of the Neapolitan serenade, uniquely preserved in Vienna, comes from the collection of Count Questenberg in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou. The libretto by Francesco Ricciardi focuses on the Ovid theme of an extramarital relationship between the god Jupiter and a royal daughter, Semele, persecuted by the jealous goddess Juno. Semele was an extraordinarily beautiful daughter of the Theban King Cadmus and his divine wife Harmonia. Jupiter, the ruler of the gods, was mesmerised by her beauty and often met her disguised as a handsome young man. However, Jupiter’s wife Juno noticed her husband’s affair and in her untamed jealousy she decided to destroy Semele. She assumed the form of Semele’s old nurse and aroused suspicion in the young girl, who was no longer sure whether her beloved really was Jupiter. Semele obeyed the cunning advice that she should make her lover show himself to her in his full glory as the ruler of the gods. Semele bound Jupiter by an oath that he would fulfil her wish. Jupiter then in vain tried to divert Semele from this requirement because he knew it meant her destruction. However, even he could not break a most sacred oath and had to grant his lover’s wish. When they next met, Jupiter appeared before Semele as the ruler of the gods with thunder and lightning. The unfortunate girl was burned in the devastating brightness. Nevertheless, Jupiter soon brought her to Olympus and Juno had no choice but to make her peace with her former rival. The message of the work is therefore extremely topical and interesting: How to successfully resolve a love triangle.

Semele – Hana Holodňáková – soprano
Giunone / Climene – Dora Pavlíková – soprano
Giove – Martin Ptáček – countertenor
Amor / Genius – Šimon Hron
Climene / Hatred – Sergej Sanža
Musical arrangement and direction: Tomáš Hanzlík
Stage and costume design: Vendula Johnová, Tomáš Hanzlík

Foto: © Milada Hronová