NZO Returns With Handel’s Semele

one of the most famous arias from Semele, performed by Garsington Opera's Semele and Jupiter

New Zealand Opera’s 2020 season will resume this September with a brand-new immersive production of Handel’s Semele, to be staged at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The sensual story explores a love triangle between Jupiter, King of the Gods (Sol3’ Mio’s Amitai Pati), his wife, the goddess Juno (Sarah Castle), and his lover, the mortal princess Semele (Celeste Lazarenko).

General Director Thomas de Mallet Burgess says that New Zealand will be leading the way with live opera performances.

“We have been working on a number of scenarios throughout New Zealand’s lockdown and with the introduction of Level 1, we’re delighted to be able to confirm that the rest of our 2020 season will go ahead as planned,” de Mallet Burgess said.

“Opera in much of the world is at a terrifying standstill due to the Covid-19 crisis, and we’re thrilled that we’ll be able to bring this new site-specific and immersive production of Handel’s life-affirming Baroque masterpiece to New Zealand audiences in September. We are currently fundraising to film this production so that we can share our New Zealand talent with the rest of the world.”

Audience members will be invited to dress up as guests at THE wedding of the year and be at the heart of the story of love, passion, revenge and quest for fame. With just five performances, Semele is an experience not to be missed.

The company will open its doors for a special open day during Semele rehearsals on Saturday 22 August, allowing the public to see the behind the scenes preparations for the production, including costumes, wigs and make-up and the chance to watch part of a rehearsal.

Following Semele, New Zealand Opera will stage The Human Voice in hotel rooms in Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch in October and November, with rescheduled Christchurch dates for the critically acclaimed Eight Songs for a Mad King due to be announced soon. The three-city tour of The Marriage of Figaro that was originally scheduled for June and July this year has been moved to mid-2021.


10-19 September
Holy Trinity Cathedral
Book at

Semele Celeste Lazarenko
Jupiter/Apollo Amitai Pati
Cadmus/Somnus Paul Whelan
Juno/Ino Sarah Castle
Athamas Stephen Diaz
Iris Chelsea Dolman

Directed by Thomas de Mallet Burgess & Jacqueline Coats
Designed by Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting designed by Jo Kilgour
Conductor Peter Walls

Featuring the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus and the Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir

Tickets available here

Written By: Radio13