What are they saying about Semiramide?

“In a revival long overdue, Gioachino Rossini’s Semiramide, his Babylonian tale of love, murder, and incest, will return to the Metropolitan Opera….” So wrote Philip Gossett in the New York Times in 1990. Although that revival came after almost 100 years, it does seem like quite a while has passed since the current Semiramide last appeared at the Met.

Those 1990 performances were phenomenal mostly because, as Gossett put it “ In the cast are four of the world’s greatest Rossini singers: Lella Cuberil, Marilyn Horne, Chris Merritt and Samuel Ramey. “
Indeed, these artists became so associeted with those roles that it is hard to imagine anyone else assuming them at the Met.
We are fortunate that some members of that historic cast will participate in a Q and A which we will post here in the near future. Stay tuned!!

Unfortunately the “Rossini Renaissance” that Professor Gossett mentioned in his article has not quite gone the way he suggested ( with Bianca e Falliero, Maometto II ,Il Viaggio a Reims, Ermione, La Gazza Ladra,) becoming more frequent in place of YET ANOTHER Barbiere. ) Opera Southwest is doing its best and many will remember the unexpected success of Otello at Loft Opera in Brooklyn last year.

So, American Rossini lovers have to be grateful to the Metropolitain Opera for mounting Semiramide yet again. If you cannot see it at the Met, there is an opportunity to see it in HD, something that was not possible for last year’s William Tell.

The image above appeared on the cover of the program book for Washington Concert Opera’s performance a few years ago of Semiramide, with Jessica Pratt in the title role. The painting hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.