This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks features an all-star bel canto cast
A rarely performed bel canto gem, Rossini’s Semiramide returned to the Met for the first time in nearly 25 years during the 2017–18 season. Set in ancient Babylon under the reign of the mythic Queen Semiramis, the opera features political scheming, mistaken identity, divine intervention, and bloodthirsty revenge—not to mention one virtuosic vocal display after another. Soprano Angela Meade is the fierce title monarch, whose quest for power comes to a halt with the discovery that the object of her affection, the warrior Arsace—sung by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong—may actually be her long-lost son. Together, the two square off in a pair of dazzling duets and deliver some of the opera’s most challenging arias, including Semiramide’s famous “Bel raggio lusinghier.” Bel canto specialist Maurizio Benini takes the podium to lead a cast that also stars tenor Javier Camarena as the ardent prince Idreno, bass Ildar Abdrazakov as the scheming Assur, and bass Ryan Speedo Green as the stern high priest Oroe.