Classical Notes

Dick O’Riordan: Kilkenny kicks off proceedings with ‘Handel’s sexiest opera’

Semele spent 238 years in the artistic wilderness before being revived. Now it’s coming to the Kilkenny Arts Festival, thanks to Opera Collective Ireland

Kelli-Ann Masterson who sings the leading role of Semele in Handel's opera of the same name at the Kilkenny Arts Festival

What can you say about Handel? He hasn’t gone away, you know, just because his annual Messiah slot in April is over. Opera Collective Ireland (OCI) is presenting his masterpiece Semele for three performances as part of August’s Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Based on one of the more salacious passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Semele’s risqué storyline landed the composer in a lot of trouble when it was first produced at Covent Garden in 1744. It has ...