9 August 2019

The 40th Rossini Opera Festival opens with a new staging of Semiramide, a co-production with the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Liège, conducted by Michele Mariotti with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai and the Chorus of the Teatro Ventidio Basso, staged by Graham Vick with  scenery and costumes by Stuart Nunn, and with lighting designed by Giuseppe Di Iorio.  Mariotti and Vick worked together on the monumental Guillaume Tell at the ROF in 2013.

The cast of Semiramide, which will be produced at the Vitrifrigo Arena on the 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th, features Salome Jicia in the title rôle, with Varduhi Abrahamyan (Arsace), Nahuel Di Pierro (Assur), Antonino Siragusa (Idreno), Martiniana Antonie (Azema), Carlo Cigni (Oroe), Alessandro Luciano (Mitrane) and Sergey Artamonov (the Ghost of Nino).

The first night performance of Sunday 11th August will be broadcast live on RaiRadioTre; Rai Cultura will show the performance on the Rai5 television channel during the autumn.

Semiramide, a tragic melodrama in two acts to a libretto by Gaetano Rossi, was first performed at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, on the 3rd February 1823.  The story is taken from the tragedy of the same name by Voltaire (1748).   The opera is returning to the ROF in this new production after having previously been staged here twice: in 1992, a production by Hugo de Ana conducted by Alberto Zedda (revived in 1994, conducted by Roger Norrington) and in 2003, produced by Dieter Kaegi and conducted by Carlo Rizzi.