Last night was the first performance of the Met’s revival of Rossini’s final italian opera, Semiramide. I’ll have more to say about this opera and its current Met run after the telecast on March 10. The colossal finale of its first act is one of the glories of Italian opera. Here is this finale from last night’s performance, beginning with the words Qual mesto gemito.
Briefly, Semiramide has decided to marry, Arsace (unknown to her, he’s her son) and make him king. All are horrified as King Nino’s ghost appears (Arasce’s father), warning of the crimes to be expiated, telling Arsace that he will reign and to respect the High Priest’s wisdom, and commanding him to come down into his tomb. Each character expresses his or her own anguish.