Serenata in two parts (1726)
Music by Johann Adolf Hasse
Libretto by Francesco Ricciardi
Opera in concert in Italian
Tuesday, 26 November 2019, 7 pm until 9.45 pm (Intermission: 8.10 pm)
A godlike husband plays around. And what does his wife do? She tries to get rid of her rival. That is how it is today, and that is how it was in the past: Jupiter and the beautiful Semele have fallen in love. He always appears to her in the form of a youth. Juno, Jupiter’s wife, is jealous and persuades Semele as Climene to ask Jupiter to prove his identity: he should appear in his godly form. Semele likes this idea, but Jupiter is unwilling to comply, because she will die looking at the divine. Since she does not accept a no, Jupiter fulfills her wish and she dies... Johann Adolph Hasse was one of the best-known composers of his age and a friend of both leading librettist Pietro Metastasio and star castrato Farinelli, and he was also greatly admired by personalities such as Maria Theresa and Voltaire. He began his career in Naples, where he composed his first serenata (a kind of chamber opera) in 1725. Just one year later he returned to this form of mini musical theatre with Semele, which had two parts, reduced orchestration and only three roles. Discovery of a copy of the score in Vienna enabled a performance of Hasse’s Semele at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music in 2018. The edition was compiled by Claudio Osele using the manuscript in the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.