John Eccles: Semele (c.1707)
Released in January 2021 and available now for pre-order, the Academy of Ancient Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Cambridge Early Music and Julian Perkins are proud to present the first professional recording of John Eccles’s Semele (c.1707), a notable early setting of the great English libretto by William Congreve better known in a version by GF Handel from 1744.
The Academy of Ancient Music’s mission is to explore, reveal and preserve the great treasure house of baroque and classical music, and a spirit of newfound discovery runs through all our work. Eccles’s Semele is the next step on this journey, released here on 2 CDs in deluxe hardback presentation with an extensive accompanying full-colour booklet containing scholarly essays, Stephen Fry’s modern re-telling of the story, autograph manuscript images of Eccles’ score, the full libretto text and much more. A fascinating insight into how opera in England might have developed after Henry Purcell’s death had not Handel moved to London in 1712, Eccles’s Semele is the perfect addition to any baroque-music lover’s library.
Jupiter, King of the Gods – Richard Burkhard, baritone
Juno, Queen of the Gods – Helen Charlston, mezzo soprano
Iris, handmaid to Juno – Héloïse Bernard, soprano
Cupid, God of Love – Bethany Horak-Hallett, mezzo soprano
Somnus, God of Sleep – Christopher Foster, bass
Apollo, Sun God and God of Prophecy – Jolyon Loy, baritone
Cadmus, King of Thebes – Jonathan Brown, baritone
Semele, daughter of Cadmus – Anna Dennis, soprano
Ino, sister of Semele – Aoife Miskelly, soprano
Athamas, a prince of Bœotia – William Wallace, tenor
Chief Priest – Graeme Broadbent, bass
Second Priest / First Augur – Rory Carver, tenor
Third Priest / Second Augur – James Rhoads, tenor
Julian Perkins, Director
Academy of Ancient Music
Release date: January 2021.