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East Meets West at the BAM


See the U.S. premier of Semele

It’s not often that inflatable puppets, debauched monks, sumo wrestlers, and an aroused donkey come to together, especially in an opera, but this isn’t your father’s Barber of Seville. In the Canadian Opera Company’s presentation of Semele, George Frideric Handel’s sublime operatic adaptation of the titular Greek myth, nothing is predictable and anything might happen.

Chinese visual artist Zhang Huan—renowned for his provocative interrogations of eastern culture—makes his directorial debut, transforming the restored 17-ton temple into an altar, palace, crematory, and heaven to tell of the karmic fate of Semele (performed by Jane Archibald), whose attempt to trade sexual favors for divinity goes up in flames.

See this inventive adaption at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, March 4th through March 10th.