Handel's Secular Oratorio
THE STATION ORCHESTRA and REPERTORY
Conductor, Joseph Lewis
THE Libretto of Semele, by Congreve, the dramatist, had been prepared for an opera, but Handel wrote the music for concert performance.
ACT I. Semele , the daughter of Cadmus,
King of Thebes, is betrothed to Athamas, but is loved by Jupiter, whose love she returns. Semele appeals for help to Jupiter, who descends in the form of an eagle and carries her away.
ACT II. Juno (known also as Saturnia), the immortal wife of Jupiter, and Iris, the swift-footed messenger of the Gods, plan revenge.
ACT III. Juno and Iris visit Somnus, the God of Sleep, and gain his assistance. Juno appears before Semele in the guise of her sister Ino, and urges her to demand from Jupiter that ho shall come to her as the God himself, and not in mortal form. Jupiter reluctantly consents, and by the thunderbolts which inevitably accompany him in his godlike form, Semele is destroyed.