I admit I am more of a traditionalist when it comes to opera, but I don't mind modern dress as long as the production is entertaining. And entertaining this Semele is. It is not quite endless pleasure, I didn't care for Baroli's unflattering bed-robe and Liliana Nikiteanu is disappointing compared to other roles I've seen her in, like her superb Dorabella, the voice is beautiful and the acting committed, but her voice has an unusual tendency to fade out. On the whole though, I loved this Semele, it is very witty and funny with the costumes and sets on the whole quite good, a nice message that is lightly touched upon and Robert Carsen's stage direction while not quite as impressive as his Eugene Onegin for example is generally faithful to Handel's spirit and any gratuitous directorial touches are nothing compared to his Bregenz Il Trovatore and La Scala Don Giovanni. The orchestral playing is light, stylish and prove also to be sensitive accompanists, and William Christie's conducting is sympathetic to the style, never plodding or broad. Although her wardrobe is unflattering, Cecilia Bartoli gives a committed, musical and very sensuous performance as Semele, and is well matched by the brilliant Jupiter of Charles Workman, the charming Iris of Isabel Rey and the firm(if slightly devalued) Juno of Birgitt Remmert. So all in all, entertaining and worth watching, not everyone will like the idea of modern dress or Carsen's style but none of those generally were a problem for me. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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