By George Frideric Handel
Join us for Opera Santa Barbara’s first mainstage baroque opera! Santa Barbara native, Jana McIntyre (Norina, Don Pasuale ’21) sings the title role, who is in love with the God, Jupiter, sung by Robert Stahley making his Opera Santa Barbara debut. Also making their company debuts are countertenor Logan Tanner in the role of Athamas, Semele’s mortal betrothed, and mezzo soprano Sarah Coit, singing the goddess Juno, the spurned wife of Jupiter. Director Sara E. Widzer (Carmen in your Car, ’20) returns to bring the escapades and foibles of both mortals and Gods alike to the Lobero stage in this production set in the roaring 20’s. This production will feature lighting design by Helena Kuukka and projections designed by Yuki Izumihara. Rounding out our creative team, Maestra Emily Senturia leads the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra through this journey of love, lust, jealousy, and revenge!
Single Tickets and Packages
Single tickets will go on sale 6 weeks before the production. If you are interested in building a ticket package of 2 operas or more, you can do so at the Lobero Box Office now!
Sara E. Widzer
As Director: Chautauqua Opera Scenes Program; Carmen for Rochester Philharmonic; Woman of Salt for The Wildish Theatre; After Life and Letters from Quebec to Providence in the Rain for UCSB Opera and the National Opera Association and UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre; Susannah for Pasadena Opera; The Flying Dutchman for the Hawaii Opera Theatre and Virginia Opera; The Music Man for the Royal Opera House of Oman; Le jongleur de Notre-Dame and L'elisir d'amore for Florida State Opera; Don Giovanni, Tosca, Pagliacci, and Hansel and Gretel for Opera in the Ozarks; Faust and Giulio Cesare for Celestial Opera Company; Reasons to be Pretty, Bury the Dead, Zoo Story, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Lee Strasberg Creative Center.
As Associate and Assistant Director: The Ghosts of Versailles and ¡Figaro! 90210 for Chautauqua Opera; El Gato Montes: The Wildcat for Los Angeles Opera; Madame White Snake for Beth Morrison Projects at the Hong Kong Arts Festival; Der Ring des Polykrates at the Dallas Opera, Silent Night, AIDA and The Daughter of the Regiment for Washington National Opera; The Marriage of Figaro for Music Academy of the West; The Flying Dutchman, King for a Day, and The Music Man for The Glimmerglass Festival. Ms. Widzer has worked with esteemed directors Francesca Zambello, Peter Kazaras, Tomer Zvulun, Eric Einhorn, James Darrah, Michael Counts, Robert Longbottom, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ray Roderick, Robert Eagan, and Mark Rydell.
As an educator, Ms. Widzer is currently on faculty as acting coach and stage director at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles, CA where she has been on staff for over fifteen years. She worked with famed film and tv audition coach Crystal Carson, co-teaching Audition by Heart courses and brought Carson’s technique to film and stage actors across the country. Through her work at City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts, she taught Shakespeare classes at inner city middle schools and high schools throughout Southern California, a project which culminated in a bilingual production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream that she adapted with the Spanish title Un Sueño en Medio-Verano. On the opera stage, she has worked with members of the Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist Program, the Los Angeles Opera Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, the WNO Cafritz Young Artist Program and has also served as guest coach at El Camino College, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University Long Beach, and Florida State University. Ms. Widzer continues to guest teach acting at studios throughout the Los Angeles area, and also maintains a roster of speaking and singing actors for whom she coaches acting and performance technique.
Read more at www.saraewidzer.com
Praised for her ability to “draw a rich and beautiful sound,” Emily Senturia is quickly earning recognition as a talented opera conductor capable of leading a wide spectrum of repertoire. In 2018, Senturia made her mainstage debut with Houston Grand Opera conducting Il barbiere di Siviglia, followed by her Kennedy Center debut leading the same piece for Washington National Opera, and her West Coast debut leading Mata Hari for West Edge Opera. In the same year she was selected by The Dallas Opera to participate in the Hart Institute for Women Conductors for the 18-19 season, and in the spring of 2019, made her Hawaii Opera Theater debut leading La traviata and led a workshop of a world premiere for San Francisco Opera, and made her Wolf Trap Opera mainstage debut conducting Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. This season, Senturia returns to Opera Philadelphia as music director for the world premiere of Denis & Katya, makes her Boston Lyric Opera debut conducting Fellow Travelers, makes her Florida Grand Opera debut conducting Il matrimonio segreto, conducts the Mill City Summer Opera’s production of Rigoletto, and joins On-Site Opera as music director for their production of Das Barbecu.
After graduating from the HGO Studio, Senturia joined the HGO music staff during which time she conducted performances of L’elisir d’amore, The Little Prince, and The Magic Flute. Recently, Senturia has been on the music staff at The Atlanta Opera (Sweeney Todd), Opera Philadelphia (O17 Festival and O18 Festival), and at Wolf Trap Opera where she has conducted two Studio Spotlight programs.
In 2017, Senturia conducted Iolanthe with Savoynet Performing Group at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival before joining the music staff at Opera Philadelphia for productions of Elizabeth Cree and War Stories as part of their inaugural festival, O17. She covered Alcina at Washington National Opera, led La liberazione di Ruggiero for the inaugural project of Opera X, a company devoted to promoting operas by female composers, and finished her season coaching Sweeney Todd for The Atlanta Opera.
Senturia’s training includes studies at the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Wolf Trap Opera, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She studied orchestral conducting at Indiana University and Boston University, and violin at Rice University.
Yuki Izumihara is a Los Angeles based freelance scenic, projection designer for theater and opera, and a production designer for film.
Yuki has received her MFA in Entertainment Design from UCLA in 2016.
Lighting Designer / Carmen
March 2018 (debut)
Jana McIntyre has been praised for her “dancer’s grace, mercurial wit, and vibrant soprano tone” (Opera News). This season will see Ms. McIntyre make her role debut as Ännchen in a new production of Der Freischütz with Heartbeat Opera, as well as join Santa Fe Opera for their workshop of the completed version of M. Butterfly in New York City. She will also debut with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera singing from Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro as Despina and Susanna in their “All Mozart Concert.” During the 2018-2019 season, Ms. McIntyre reprised the role of The Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with Toledo Opera as well as with Opera Grand Rapids. She also made company debuts with Arizona Opera (Le nozze di Figaro), Santa Fe Opera (Jen?fa), and with Tulsa Opera singing Zerlina in Don Giovanni as well as Water in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince for which women held both posts of director and conductor. Additionally, she covered La Fée in Laurent Pelly’s iconic production of Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In the 2017-2018 season Ms. McIntyre performed with the San Francisco Symphony as Pamina and Die Königin der Nacht in selections from Die Zauberflöte at Stern Grove. She also presented the Wolf Italienisches Liederbuch and Strauss’ Brentano Lieder in concerts under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera Center. In New York City, she made her role debut as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with City Lyric Opera and she finished the season as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera covering Najade in Tim Albery’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos.
Career highlights include critical acclaim for her portrayal of Andromède in the American premiere of Ibert’s Persée et Andromède which made the New York Times “Best Classical Music of 2016;” her professional debut as the Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice alongside Anthony Roth Costanzo and Kiera Duffy in an installment of “Orphic Moments” with Brooklyn’s National Sawdust Theater under the baton of Matthew Aucoin; as well as performing in the west coast premiere of Jonathan Scheffer’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor (Rose 1) at age 19.
Additional operatic roles include the “saucy and domineering” (San Francisco Classical Voice) Serpina, in La serva padrona with Merola Opera Program where she also covered Despina (Così fan tutte) and Clorinda (La cenerentola), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), La Fée (Cendrillon), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Leïla (Les pêcheurs de perles) Drusilla (L’incoronazione di Poppea), and Señora Grazia in the world premiere workshop of Roger Bourland’s The Dove and the Nightingale. In the Clark Library of Los Angeles, Ms. McIntyre sang as a soprano soloist in James Darrah’s staging of Handel’s L’Allegro, il penseroso, ed il moderato under the musical preparation and direction of Maestro Stephen Stubbs.
Equally at home in concert and recital repertoire as she is on the opera stage, Jana most recently sang the soprano solo in Mozart’s Requiem with Signature Symphony in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2016 she joined Maestro George Manahan to perform Joaquin Rodrigo’s Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios in concert with the Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia and also sang Mater Gloriosa in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Manhattan Oratorio Society at St. John the Divine Cathedral. She later performed and recorded the piece as a part of David Briggs’ organ transcription which was released by Albany Records in 2016.
Miss McIntyre won first prize in the Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Competition which gave her the opportunity to travel to Buenos Aires to sing a series of concerts at various venues including El Salon Dorado at the Teatro Colón. She is an award winner from the Jensen Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, George London Foundation, Art Song Preservation Society, Metropolitan National Council, among others. She is a Richard F. Gold grant recipient from the Shoshana Foundation (Merola), and the winner of the Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition at Manhattan School of Music.
Jana has been an apprentice with Tulsa Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Merola Opera Program. She did her undergraduate academic work at the University of California, Los Angeles in Psychology (B.A.) and Music (B.A.). She received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
Tenor Robert Stahley, known for “bringing vociferous ring to the tenor line,” (South Florida Classical Review), is making waves throughout the operatic industry. He is a current member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein young artist program at LA Opera where he has performed roles such as Le Berger in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Valcour in L’Amant Anonyme, First Armored Man in Barrie Kosky’s famed production of Die Zauberflöte, and Parpignol in the North American premiere of Barrie Kosky’s La bohème. In the 2021 festival season, Robert will return to the Santa Fe Opera as a second-year Apprentice, where he will sing the role of The Captain in the world premiere of John Corigliano’s The Lord of Cries and will be featured in concert with Grammy Award winning Soprano Angel Blue. Recent engagements include the title role in The Tales of Hoffmann with Arbor Opera Theater, the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Messa Da Requiem with the Quad-City Symphony, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Lynn Philharmonia. Previous performances include William Marshall in Regina with Opera Theater of St. Louis, scenes as Lenny in Of Mice and Men and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with the St. Louis Symphony, and Pang in Turandot with the Kentucky Symphony. He also appeared as Trajan in a Workshop of Rufus Wainwright’s new opera Hadrian with the Canadian Opera Company. He has been a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera where he covered the role of Rodolfo (La Boheme) and Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). Other significant roles include Candide (Candide) Idomeneo (Idomeneo), The Schoolmaster (The Cunning Little Vixen), Charlie (Mahagonny-Songspiel), The Lamplighter and Drunk (The Little Prince), Sam Kaplan (Street Scene), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), and Hubert Humphrey (Dark River).
Equally comfortable on the concert stage, Mr. Stahley recently made his Indianapolis Symphony debut singing arias from operas such as Tosca and Die Zauberflöte. He has also been the tenor soloist for Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, St. Matthew Passion with the Amherst Bach Festival, the tenor soloist in Schubert's Mass in A-flat with CCM choirs, and appeared in several operatic scenes, such as Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Hoffmann (Les contes d’Hoffmann), The Duke (Rigoletto), and Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly).
Mr. Stahley won first prize in the 2019 Wagner Society of New York Competition, was a third prize winner in the 2018 Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition, placed first in the 2017 Piccolo Vocal Competition, and was a finalist in the 2018 Mildred Miller Competition. He completed his Artist Diploma and Masters at the College Conservatory of Music. He has bowed with opera companies such as Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Wolf Trap Opera, Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Arbor Opera Theater, Palm Beach Opera, and Cincinnati Opera.
In 2018, Mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit was heard in several recital performances as a Vocal Fellow with Ravinia's Steans Music Institute and made several important house and role debuts. Opera News praised her performance in Le nozze di Figaro with Michigan Opera Theatre: "Sarah Coit's burnished mezzo-soprano gave her Cherubino a seductive tinge. Her pure, lovely "Voi che sapete" confirmed her bright future, made all the more likely by her undeniable aptitude for physical comedy."
In the 2019-20 season, Sarah performed Mercédès in Carmen with Opera Tampa. Covering Daniela Mack as Rosmira in Handel’s Partenope with San Francisco Opera, plus a concert engagement as the mezzo soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New West Symphony were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, Sarah sings Addison Moore in the world premiere film of Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos’ The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera, Varvara in Katya Kabanova with West Edge Opera, Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Utah Opera, Messiah with Winston-Salem Symphony, American Bach Soloists, and Indianapolis Symphony. In 2022, she makes house and role debuts with Opera Santa Barbara as Juno in Handel’s Semele and San Diego Opera as Stéphano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.
In the 2018-19 season, Sarah performed the role of Adonis in the world premiere of Dan Visconti and Cerise Jacobs' ‘Interactive video game opera’ PermaDeath with White Snake Projects in Boston. She made her Seattle Opera debut as Mercédès in Carmen, performed at the Ravinia Festival as a soloist in Bernstein’s Songfest, joined West Edge Opera as Jenny Diver in The Threepenny Opera, sang her first Olga in Eugene Onegin with Livermore Valley Opera, sang the Vivaldi Gloria and Bach Magnificat with the Master Chorale of South Florida, and was heard in a special New Year’s Eve concert with American Bach Soloists joined by Hadleigh Adams.
Her repertoire includes such roles as Nancy in Albert Herring, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, the title role in Giulio Cesare, and the Waitress in the World Premiere of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight.
In the summer of 2015, Sarah was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis where she covered Richard in the American Premiere of Handel’s Richard the Lionheart. She spent two years as a Resident Artist with Utah Opera where she sang the Shepherd, White Cat, and Squirrel in L’Enfant et les sortilèges with the Utah Symphony and performed the roles of Mercédès in Carmen and Zerlina in Don Giovanni on the mainstage. As an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera, she covered the roles of Erika in Barber's Vanessa and Laurene Powell Jobs in the World Premiere of Mason Bates' The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. As Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Classical Review remarked "...mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit distinguished herself as Alisa, especially in the gorgeous sextet."
She was a 2017 National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has received prizes from the George London Foundation and the Handel Aria Competition. She is the 2020 recipient of the American Bach Soloist’s Jeffrey Thomas Award and was a runner-up in the “Best Opera Singer” category for 2019-2020 season San Francisco Classical Voice Audience Choice Awards.
A native of Spring Hill, FL, Sarah holds degrees in Music Studies and Theatre Performance from the University of South Florida and a Masters degree from the University of Michigan.
Praised for his “striking musicality, clarity, and strong coloratura” (Opera Canada), countertenor Logan Tanner has performed on operatic stages throughout the United States and abroad. He recently performed the role of Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and “commanded the role of Oberon charmingly” (Opera Canada) in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Halifax Opera Festival.
In the 2021-2022 season, Tanner will make company debuts with Opera San Jose as the Spirit in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Opera Santa Barbara in the role of Athamas in Handel’s Semele and with Gulfshore Opera as Prince Orlofsky in J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus.
Tanner has garnered awards in numerous competitions, placing first in the Choralis Young Artist Competition, Ise-Shima International Singing Competition, New Opera Stars Vocal Competition, New York Classical Music Society International Competition, and the Vano Visioli International Opera Competition. He took third prize in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and 5th in the Opera Tools International Competition, and has won the American Prize in Opera and the Pasadena Vocal Competition Special Encouragement Award. In addition, Tanner was granted honorable mention by the NOMEA International Competition and the Vienna New Year Concert International Competition.
Tanner has been a Stern fellow at SongFest, and a Vocal Fellow at The Music Academy of the West, where he worked with famed mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne. He has been engaged as soloist with the Pacific Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Europa, North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, New York Repertory Orchestra, the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, Choralis, Chorus Austin, New York Chamber Choir, the Henry Purcell Society of Boston, La Fiocco, the Arcadia Players, Monmouth Civic Chorus, the Westchester Oratorio Society, and the Sparkill Concert Series.
Tanner’s concert repertoire spans a wide breadth of material, and he is known for bringing a flowing bel canto dimension to the alto solos in Handel’s Messiah, the Roasting Swan in Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Brahms Viola Songs, and the treble solos in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, which he performed alongside Jamie Bernstein, author, and daughter of Leonard Bernstein. Tanner has also appeared in concert alongside renowned artists including Cynthia Phelps of the New York Philharmonic, and Martin Katz. Tanner will make several international debuts in the 2021 season including appearances in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, and Germany.
A native of Texas, Mr. Tanner started his musical studies as a tenor at Baylor University and went on to graduate studies at Westminster Choir College. There he studied with Christopher Arneson who encouraged him to become a countertenor. Mr. Tanner dove into the repertoire and found it a perfect match.
He entered the 2017 New York Classical Music Society International Competition and won it. “It was kind of mind-blowing,” he said. “I never looked back after that.”
Bass-Baritone Colin Ramsey has been lauded for his “majestic, rotund, ravishing bass” (Opera Today). During the 20-21 season, Mr. Ramsey joined San Diego Opera as Colline in La bohème, as well as returning to Pacific Opera Project as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the Festival Lyrique en Mar as Leporello in Don Giovanni (COVID19). Other recent engagements include returns to Opera Santa Barbara as Frère Laurent in Romèo et Juliette and the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, joining the Festival Lyrique en Mar as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and the bass soloist in Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and multiple productions of La bohème as Colline including Opera Idaho, Gulfshore Opera, and Opera Buffs Inc in Los Angeles. In upcoming seasons, Mr. Ramsey will return to Opera Santa Barbara as Fafner in Jonathan Dove’s arrangement of Das Rheingold, and San Diego Opera, singing The Speaker and 2nd Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte (COVID19), Capulet in Romèo et Juliette, and Betto in Gianni Schicchi.
His 2018-19 season was an exciting one including a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for performances of John Cage’s Europeras directed by Yuval Sharon. Mr. Ramsey also made his San Diego Opera debut as Marullo in Rigoletto and in the spring of 2019, Mr. Ramsey returned to Opera Santa Barbara for an exciting and timely production of Robert Ward’s The Crucible singing the role of Reverend Hale.
Other recent performances have seen him in role and company debuts singing Le Comte des Grieux in Manon, The Speaker in Die Zauberflöte, and his Santa Fe Opera debut singing the Registrar in Madama Butterfly and covering Edward Teller in John Adam’s Dr. Atomic in a landmark production directed by Peter Sellars. Mr. Ramsey’s unique “smoky” timbre has been well lent to additional roles such as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Father Palmer in Silent Night, Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Collatinus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mr. Kofner in Menotti’s The Consul, Il Frate in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Angelotti in Tosca, and Cadmus and Somnus in Handel’s Semele.
Hailed for her "fleet vocal technique" and "resonant, smoky mezzo", Mezzo-soprano Christina Pezzarossi is quickly gaining recognition as a distinguished and versatile young artist in the world of opera. Originally from Miles City, Montana, she received her Master's degree from the The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
In the 2020 season, Christina made her debut with Pacific Opera Project in a critically acclaimed drive-in performance of Cosi fan tutte (under the parody title COVID fan tutti) as Dorabella.
For the 2018/2019 season, Christina joined Pensacola Opera as a Resident Artist, singing The Witch in their touring production of Hansel and Gretel, Gertrude in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette and Paula in Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas. She also was an Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera, making her company and role debut as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and performed in, Encore: A Musical Revue Concert. She received the John and Ginny Starky Award from Central City Opera at the end of the summer.
Christina has spent two summers as an Apprentice with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering Mrs. Segstrom in Sondheim's A Little Night Music and The Stewardess in Jonathan Dove's Flight.
Christina’s repertoire includes the title role in Handel’s Agrippina, Minerva in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Hermia in Purcell’s Fairy Queen, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Flora in La traviata, and Alisa in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
She has performed with Opera San Jose, Opera NEO, The Pacific Symphony, Boulder Opera, Emerald City Opera, and received an Encouragement Award from the San Francisco District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Cadmus and his devout followers have created a temple to Juno, the queen of the gods, in order to bless the arranged marriage of his daughter Semele to Athamus. A sacred fire develops on the altar and the chorus proclaims that the omens for the marriage appear favorable. Semele arrives for the ceremony after many attempts to delay the marriage due her new love of Jupiter, the king of the gods. She pleads to Jupiter to intervene and his responding thunder interrupts the ceremony. The symbolic flames on the altar of Juno are extinguished as Cadmus prays for their return. Sensing a war between the immortal spouses, the chorus flees from the temple, but Athamus and Semele’s sister Ino remain.
Ino and Athamus each reveal surprising truths. Both are startled when Cadmus interrupts with the shocking news that Jupiter has abducted Semele. The trio languishes while Semele transcends to the realm of the gods.
Juno, angered at her husband’s adultery, has ordered her messenger Iris to discover where Semele has been taken. Iris reports that Jupiter has built his new mortal lover an elaborate palace guarded by fierce dragons that never sleep. The enraged Juno swears vengeance, and hurries to visit Somnus, the god of sleep, to demand his aid.
Semele wakes and immediately calls out for Jupiter. He arrives in human form, reassures her of his fidelity, and reminds her of her fragile mortality. Semele professes devotion to him, but reveals her discontent that she has not yet been made immortal. Sensing Semele’s dangerous ambition, Jupiter promises to summon her sister Ino from the earth to keep her company. As a gift, Jupiter transforms the palace into a beautiful garden to comfort and distract her…
Ino, enraptured, describes the extraordinary journey to the immortal realm. The sisters are joyfully reunited, but Semele is once again distracted by the pursuit of pleasure, immortality and love.
Somnus is disturbed from his deep sleep by the arrival of Juno and Iris. He wakes but refuses to help Juno. She barters, offering his favorite nymph in return for his aid and he relents. Juno orders Somnus to give Jupiter an erotic dream that will make him desperate for Semele. Juno then receives Somnus’ potent power in order to lull any being to sleep on command. She uses this new power to manipulate Ino, whom Juno puppets in order to convince Semele that she has been made as beautiful as a god.
Trusting her sister, Semele sees her glorified reflection and becomes narcissistically obsessed. Juno, still disguised as Ino, advises that if Semele wishes to become truly immortal, she must refuse Jupiter until he promises to grant any wish she desires. The disguised Juno suggests that Semele demand Jupiter to appear to her only in his true form. Semele eagerly accepts this advice. Juno departs when she senses the approach of her husband.
Jupiter is alarmed when Semele rejects him. He rashly swears an irrevocable vow to grant her whatever she desires, and she demands that he visit her in his true form. He reacts with horror, knowing that his non-human form will instantly kill her. Semele refuses to listen, assuming that Jupiter’s protestations are only to resist granting her immortality. Left alone, Jupiter tries to find a way to save Semele’s life, but is forced to accept his loss. Juno, victorious, re-joins her husband.
Semele sees Jupiter approach as a fiery cloud of lightning and thunder, laments her folly, and is consumed by flames.
Ino, safely returned to earth, announces the tragic news that Semele has perished. Athamus offers Ino unexpected comfort. Jupiter descends with the pleased Juno and announces a decree from Apollo that from Semele’s ashes the unborn child of Semele and Jupiter has risen. Named Bacchus, God of Wine, he will bring a reckless delight to all the earth…
(from Opera Philadelphia written by James Darrah)