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Handel's Semele

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Event description

In April 2022, Concordia Ensemble will inaugurate their yearly Lenten oratorio performance. For our first oratorio in the Lenten period, we have selected the wonderfully beautiful Semele, composed by G.F. Handel. When this work first premiered, on 10th February 1744, it caused much debate as it was presented as an oratorio based on a mythological, rather than a Christian subject. Typically, during the Lenten period in England at the time, opera was not performed and was replaced by the concert style of oratorio out of respect for the Christian observation. These oratorios would depict Christian stories from the Bible, such as those of Saul, Theodora and Esther, which Handel also composed for.

Semele stood out of the crowd as an oratorio written on a pagan theme for Lent. Non-Christian stories were usually reserved for the drama and frivolity of the opera, and most people understood Semele to be a thinly veiled work of opera, and thus a scandal was born.
Since then, Semele has cemented itself as a standard of Handel's English repertoire. While not as famous as his Messiah, Semele is regularly staged as an opera. 

Over two evenings in April, Concordia Ensemble will explore the story of Semele through two different casts. This performance will be staged with piano accompaniment in the worship centre of St Stephen's Uniting Church, Sydney. This work will also be abridged to just under two hours.

Semele | Lana Kains
Iris | Molly Ryan (8th), Amelia Bland (9th)
Ino | Cassandra Doyle
Juno | Ella Orehek-Coddington
Athamas | Wesley Yu (8th), John L'Estrange (9th)
Jupiter | Alexander Caldwell
Apollo | John L'Estrange (8th), Wesley Yu (9th)
Cadmus | Yuan Gao
Somnus | Tobias Page

Jamie-Lee Xu (Piano)
Joanna Li (Piano)
Ashly Zhang (Piano)

Warnings: Please note this opera contains a number of sexual references and themes. While child tickets are offered, this opera is recommended for ages 14 and up. The sexual themes presented are implied, and the opera will feature no nudity or graphic acts.

This opera will also feature a character death and alcohol use. 

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