Victoria Mostue on Handel's Semele

Image may contain: Artifact, Vase.

An imitation of an Ancient Greek vase. Anonymous, Greece, 20th c. (photo: Victoria Mostue)

Victoria Mostue (MA candidate in Latin, University of Oslo) will present her ongoing research for her MA thesis, tentatively entitled "Semele Transformed: Handel’s reception of the myth of Semele". The abstract for the seminar follows. All are welcome to attend.

In stark contrast to the sacred music which had dominated previous centuries, the composers of the 17th and 18th century started looking to pagan antiquity for inspiration. From Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (1607) and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (1689) to Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride (1779), this period is rich with musical works inspired by classical myths and literature. One such work is Handel’s Semele (1744), an oratorio which tells the story of her relationship with Jupiter and her subsequent downfall orchestrated by Juno. For my MA thesis I plan to analyse the character of Semele, both in the classical sources and in the oratorio, and then compare them to one another. In addition, I intend to trace the chain of receptions between antiquity and Handel. In doing so I hope not only to discover how the portrayal of Semele as a character has been changed from antiquity to the Baroque era, but also to discuss how our perception of her is altered through the oratorio.


Classics seminar
Published Oct. 21, 2019 7:13 PM - Last modified Oct. 21, 2019 11:18 PM