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New Productions by Calixto Bieito and Claus Guth of Handel's La Resurrezione and Semele

Aug. 03, 2023

<em>New Productions by Calixto Bieito and Claus Guth of Handel's <em>La Resurrezione</em> and <em>Semele</em>

From July 9-23, Georg Friedrich Handel's dramatic oratorio, La Resurrezione, was presented at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen. The production was directed by Calixto Bieito and conducted by Wolfgang Katschner. 

La Resurrezione, set to a libretto by Carlo Sigismondo Capece, is a captivating sacred drama about the forces of good versus evil. The story begins on the night of Easter Sunday and depicts Christ's descent into hell, his glorious resurrection and the fight between Lucifer and the heavenly powers. Thanks to the editions published in the Halle Handel Edition, both sacred and secular oratorios by George Frideric Handel are increasingly enriching the repertoire of opera houses.

(G.F. Handel/La Resurrezione/Emmanuel Music/Nathan Troup, director/Ryan Turner, conductor)

Additionally, as part of the Munich Opera Festival, Semele was presented in a production by Claus Guth, conducted by Gianluca Capuano at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Semele tells the story of Semele’s love affair with Jupiter, and the timeless conflict between desire and duty. As the Halle Handel Edition explains:

"Handel’s Semele, which premiered in February 1744, is based on an adapted version of William Congreve’s opera libretto titled “The Story of Semele”, originally published in 1706. However, neither Handel nor his librettist referred to Semele as an opera or an oratorio, which, according to the understanding at the time, would have required a biblical and/or Christian subject matter. Contemporary audiences also disagreed on the genre. The problematic classification as an oratorio has persisted into the present day, likely due to the edition labeled as such by Chrysander. The “Halle Handel Edition” (HHA) distances itself from this classification and, considering the available sources, refrains from assigning a genre label."

Click here to read more about Semele and the HHA's unparalleled edition.

Semele is currently in repertoire at Glyndebourne, featuring soprano Joélle Harvey in the title role. 

(Trailer: Semele at Glyndebourne)

To learn more about Georg Friedrich Handel, visit

Georg Friedrich Handel
La Resurrezione, HWV 47
oratorio in two parts
Edited by Terence Best
2Soprano solo.Alto solo.Tenor solo.Bass solo
Mixed choir (SATB) lute.hpd)

HWV 58 
Edited by Mark Risinger.
Halle Handel Edition I/19.1 (Version of the premiere in February 1744)
and I/19.2 (Appendix I-II and Critical Commentary)
Cast: Semele (Soprano), Jupiter (Tenor), Athamas (Alto/Tenor), Apollo (Tenor), Iris (Soprano), Juno (Alto/Mezzo-soprano), Ino (Alto/Mezzo-soprano), Cadmus (Bass), Somnus (Bass)
Chorus (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass)