Sémélé

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For the opera by Handel, see Semele (Handel). For the opera by Eccles, see Semele (Eccles).

Sémélé is an opera by Marin Marais first performed on April 9, 1709, by the Paris Opera at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. The opera is in the form of a tragédie en musique with five acts and a prologue.

Marais's opera has been published in a modern performing score by France's Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, and the full opera was due to be given in Europe during the 2006 summer festival season.

John Eccles 1707 opera Semele is based on the same myth, and set to a libretto by William Congreve. This libretto (in expanded form) later served as the basis for yet another opera, with the same title as Eccles', by George Frideric Handel (1744). Handel's treatment of this myth is now better known than either Marais' or Eccles'.

Roles and role creators[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, April 9, 1709
(Conductor:)
Apollon tenor (haute-contre) Beaufort
Sémélé soprano Françoise Journet
Dorine soprano Marie-Catherine Poussin
The grand priestess of Bacchus soprano Dun
Junon mezzo-soprano Françoise Dujardin
Adraste tenor (haute-contre) Jacques Cochereau
Jupiter baritone Gabriel-Vincent Thévenard
Mercure baritone Jean Dun "pére"
Cadmus, grand priest of Bacchus baritone Charles Hardouin
First shepherdess soprano Aubert
Second shepherdess soprano Daulin
Third shepherdess soprano Boisé

Recordings[edit]

A recording of the work under the direction of Hervé Niquet was published by the firm Glossa [1].

A recording of instrumental music from the opera, performed by Wieland Kuijken and Montréal Baroque, was released in late 2006.

Sources[edit]