Semiramide (semi-staged)

Gioacchino Rossini [1792 – 1868]

Information on the piece

Melodramma tragico in two acts / Play version
Libretto: Gaetano Rossi based on Voltaire's "Le Tragédie de Sémiramis".
First performance: 3 February 1823 in Venice

approx. 3 hours 15 minutes / one interval

In Italian with German and English surtitles

45 Minutes before the performance: Introductory lecture (in German) in the Rang-Foyer

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About the performance

Rossini is unjustily reduced to his –indisputable- talent as composer of opera buffa works. His opera seria have always taken a back seat, well behind the BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA. His successful work ranges from IL CAMBIALE DI MATRIMONIO [Venice, 1810], his first opera, to his last opera, GUILLAUME TELL [Paris 1829].
They demonstrate a highly versatile development over twenty years with various genres, - from the ›farsa‹ to the opera buffa, from the opera seria to the grande opéra.

Verdi praised Rossini´s supple use of melody, his brilliant usage of cantabile in the vocal parts and his characteristic orchestral accompaniment; all these stand for a typically Italian sound culture on the opera stage. In 1823 Rossini marked the culmination point of the great Italian song opera with SEMIRAMIDE. With the interpretation of works by Wagner and Verdi the future was to hold completely novel developments in the vocal parts. The opera seria libretto varies from the opera buffa libretto in that it has typically a tragedy with characters from history and mythology as subject matter. The archetypes are presented in prescribed situations; the hero, the heroine, the scoundrel, the helpers are accordingly typified, which also reflects on the proportion and setup of their parts. However, at the centre of their impact on the stage, you will find artistic coloraturas and culinary embellishments that take precedence over the psychological and dramturgical development. The primadonna with her unique blend of virtuosity and caprice was the benchmark for composers, theatre directors and audiences in the era of belcanto.

Rossini defined himself as the »Last of the Classicists«. For SEMIRAMIDE, his masterpiece, he chose an archaic story, ideal for an»opera monumentale«. The legendary Queen of Assyria as leading character is caught up in complicated intrigues and family rivalries. There are the calls of blood, the divine oracle and of human conflicts to be weighed and considered. We are offered regicide, unintentional incest and accidental matricide, all in aid of the composer´s need to enrich theatrical situations with profound madness scenes, highly ornamental oaths of love, intense revenge arias and brilliantly impressive choir scenes. According to Rodolfo Celetti in his history of belcanto, SEMIRAMIDE is »the last opera in the great baroque tradition, the most beautiful, fantasy-filled, and quite possibly, the most perfect; but also – irretrievably so- the final one.«


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On 1 December, it's that time again. Our already traditional Advent calendar welcomes you with free admission. Members of the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensembles look forward to shortening the days until Christmas Eve with personalised musical programmes in which you will hear Christmas classics as well as absolute rarities, perhaps never heard before. Just come by and experience our artists up close.

Our Advent Foyer Programme
Enjoy our chamber concerts from Monday to Friday, from 5.00 p.m. to approx. 5.25 p.m., in the rank foyer on the right. Should there be any deviations in the venue or time, you will find a note in the overview. Admission is free.

1 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Dietmar Schwarz reads "The Snow Queen"

2 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
The Little Chorus of the Children's Chorus sings Christmas carols

5 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Old Russian Romances with Maria Motolygina

6 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
Father Christmas comes to visit - together with Elisa Verzier

7 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
"Ding Dong! Merrily on High" - A concert with the VoiceChangers

8 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Chamber music with members of the orchestra

9 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Beyond the Snow Queen" - Songs by Samuel Penderbayne and others
with Alexandra Ionis, Attilio Glaser and Henriette Zahn

12 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Songs and Arias with Sua Jo and Kyle Miller

13 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Daniel Nicholson sings and presents

14 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Ralph Vaughan Williams' "The House of Life"
with Dean Murphy and Elda Laro

15 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Four Hands" - Piano Music
with John Parr and Christopher White

16 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
South American Songs with Jorge Puerta

19 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
English and Polish Songs
with Maire Therese Carmack, Artur Garbas and Manon Gerhardt

20 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Christmas Carols for Two Tenors”
with Kieran Carrel and Thomas Cilluffo

21 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
Christmas caroling together with the brass band

22 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"L'ange et l'enfant" - On the occasion of César Franck's 200th birthday
with Andrea Schwarzbach and Christian Zacker

23 December 2022 | 4.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Brahms songs with Arianna Manganello
Please note the earlier start: 4.00 p.m.

All further information in the respective daily door on our homepage

Raffles at the weekends
Because an Advent calendar is of course also filled at weekends and on Christmas Eve, you will find online raffles on our homepage on Saturdays and Sundays as well as on 24 December. We would like to take this opportunity to thank cooperation partners such as NAXOS and the Yorck cinema group.