Saved events

Handel: Semele

The English Concert

The English Concert 2015 group

There’s loving someone who’s out of your league – and then there’s the princess Semele, who’s got her eye on the King of the Gods himself. It can’t end well…

‘Endless pleasure, endless love…’ Handel never wrote anything more sensuous than Semele, and he tells the story of the titular princess in music of quite irresistible theatricality and colour.

It’s a deliciously transgressive evening of music theatre – and Handel’s contemporaries couldn’t work out whether it was an opera or an oratorio. The concert hall is its natural habitat, and vocalists of the quality of Brenda Rae, Elizabeth De Shong and Ailish Tynan are exactly what it demands. The English Concert’s spirited Handel performances have never failed to light up the Barbican: and this might be their most delicious treat yet.

The performance is expected to finish around 10pm, including two 20 minute intervals.

Download the programme


photo of handel

Listen: Barbican Essentials - Handel

Our selection of the best of Handel's music.

architecture detail of the barbican hall

Composer Focus – Episode 1: George Frideric Handel with Iestyn Davies

Ed Seckerson is joined by countertenor Iestyn Davies to discuss George Frideric Handel, the German-born composer whose prolific portfolio of operas and hits such as the Water Music, and Messiah, won the hearts of the British public.

Illustration of two people

Opera Strip: Dido and Aeneas

Widely regarded as the greatest English opera of its time, illustrator Will Elliot creates an illustrated synopsis of Purcell’s poignant tale of love and loss, ahead of the Academy of Ancient Music's performance.

an orchestra playing classical music in the barbican hall in central london

Listen: Classical Music on Spotify

Follow our regularly updated Classical Music playlist for a sample of the music you'll hear across our programme. 

Barbican Hall