16 Dec, 18 Dec 2004. The London Coliseum has recently been re-opened after a period of refurbishment and the home of opera sung in English just north of Trafalgar Square is back in business.
The English National Operas production of Semele uses William Congreve's libretto although many still insist that the work is in fact an oratorio, although at its 1743 premire it was described as a near opera. The director, Robert Carsen, has put together a humorous production inspired by the glamour of 1950s haute couture.
The story is taken from Ovid. and recounts Jupiter's love for Semele, Europa's niece. Semele was a Theban princess and the mother of Dionysus/Bacchus who she fathered with Zeus whose wife sets out to take her revenge.
Carolyn Sampson stars in the title role, with Ian Bostridge as Jupiter. Stephanie Marshall sings Ino, with Kathleen Kuhlmann as Juno, counter tenor Robin Blaze as Athamas, Graeme Danby as Somnus, Iain Paterson as Cadmus and Janis Kelly as Iris.