Myself I Shall Adore

Myself I Shall Adore" part of act III of Semele, 'musical drama' composed by Handel

"Myself I Shall Adore" part of act III of Semele, 'musical drama' composed by Handel as performed by Nigeria opera singer, Agatha Oyinye Ibeazor.

Semele is a 'musical drama' in three parts by George Frideric Handel. The story comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses and concerns Semele, mother of Bacchus. Handel also referred to the work as 'The Story of Semele'.

Watch the Performance Here>> Myself I Shall Adore

The work is classified as a 'musical drama', but it does fuse elements of opera, oratorio and classical drama, which anticipates the grand operas of the nineteenth century. However, to explain: it is not classed as an oratorio because that term is used for works based on sacred or religious texts - Semele has a secular text. Neither is it opera due to the large number of choruses (there are 10 in Semele; whereas 2 or 3 would be typical of a Handel opera). These chorus are in oratorio anthem style. Likewise, unlike opera, several incidents rely for their impact on the audience's imagination (rather than by direct portrayal), notably Semele's death and insinuations of her sexual relationship with Jupiter.

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Semele was first performed on 10 February 1744 at the Covent Garden Theatre, London, as part of a concert series held yearly during Lent. The audience naturally expected Bible-based subject matter. But the amorous topic of Semele, which is a creation of the late Restoration Period, transparently drew on Greek myths, and so it displeased those attending for a different kind of uplift. Being in English, Semele likewise irritated the supporters of true Italian opera, particularly as Handel would also not write for the rival Middlesex Opera Company. Winton Dean in his book Handel's Dramatic Oratorios:

"The public [in 1744] found [Semele's] tone too close to that of the discredited Italian opera and set it down as an oratorio manqué; where they expected wholesome Lenten bread, they received a glittering stone dug from the ruins of Greek mythology."

Semele fell into prolonged neglect until its first stage performances, in Cambridge, England, in 1925 and in London in 1954. These fueled an enthusiasm of the work that has not since lapsed.

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Semele was staged on four occasions (1959, 1961, 1964 and 1975) by the Handel Opera Society under Charles Farncombe, and it entered the repertory of the Sadler's Wells Opera (now English National Opera) in 1970. The opera returned in 1982 – after a 238-year hiatus – to Covent Garden (the Royal Opera House), conducted, as at Sadler's Wells, by Charles Mackerras.