GP at the Met: Semiramide

Semiramide: About

Premieres nationwide Sunday, July 8 at 12:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)

Season 12 of Great Performances at the Met continues Sunday, July 8 on PBS (check local listings) with a rare Met performance of Rossini’s masterpiece Semiramide, starring Angela Meade as the titular Queen of Babylon and Elizabeth DeShong as the warrior Arsace. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov and Ryan Speedo Green complete the all-star bel canto cast.

John Copley’s production takes place in Ancient Babylon, where Assur comes to the temple of Baal in hopes that Queen Semiramide will choose him as the successor to the fallen King Nino. His plans for the throne are quickly thwarted by the arrival of the warrior Arsace, who was summoned by the queen and is announced to become both king and her husband. The ghost of Nino appears and proclaims that the warrior will reign, but only after a victim is sacrificed in atonement, leading Arsace to vow vengeance. Semiramide later denies Assur’s claim that she promised her hand in marriage in return for arranging Nino’s murder. Arsace soon learns that he is the true crown prince of Babylon, the long lost son of Nino and Semiramide, and that the queen and Assur are responsible for his father’s assassination. Arsace reveals himself to Semiramide as her son, but cannot bring himself to kill his mother, against her orders. Semiramide attempts to save Arsace from Assur, who is waiting to ambush Arsace at Nino’s tomb, but her heroic effort ends tragically at the hands of her son when she is mistaken for her accomplice in the dark. Maurizio Benini conducts. Christopher Maltman hosts.

Notable Talent:

  • Angela Meade – Semiramide
  • Elizabeth DeShong – Arsace
  • Ildar Abdrazakov – Assur
  • Javier Camarena – Idreno
  • Ryan Speedo Green – Oroe

Run time: 3.5 hours

Production Credits:

  • Maurizio Benini – Conductor
  • John Copley – Production
  • John Conklin – Set Designer
  • Michael Stennett – Costume Designer
  • Gil Wechsler – Lighting Designer

For the Met, Matthew Diamond directs the telecast. Tim Martyn is music producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are supervising producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are producers. Peter Gelb is executive producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.


Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.

About the Met Print

THE METROPOLITAN OPERA is America’s leading performing arts organization and a vibrant home for the world’s most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched many initiatives designed to make opera more accessible, most prominently the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions, which dramatically expands the Met audience by allowing select performances to be seen in more than 2,000 theaters in more than 70 countries around the world.

About WNET Print

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! And Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history experience. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person. Through multi-platform initiatives Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America and Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, WNET showcases the human stories around these issues and promising solutions. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: