“There was once a king named Cadmus, and he had two daughters – Semele and Ino.
Cadmus decided that Semele should marry Athamos, a young prince.
Athamos loved Semele.
But, unknown to all, Semele was already the lover of Jupiter, father of the gods.
Her sister Ino loved Athamos, but she kept that to herself.
Cadmus insisted the marriage go ahead.
Ino suffered in silence.
Then Juno, wife of Jupiter, discovered her husband’s infidelity, and set out to exact her revenge …”
Moral fable or “bawdy play”, Handel’s Semele contains some of his most lyrical arias and dramatic
choruses. Part opera, part oratorio, its unique mixture of tragedy and comedy makes Semele one of
the richest and most compelling of all Handel’s compositions for the stage.