News & features

Handel at Glyndebourne

Enjoy videos of some of our stand-out Handel moments, as we look forward to 2023’s new production of Semele.

Over the past few decades Glyndebourne has built a reputation for its inventive and popular stagings of Handel’s operas and oratorios, from Robert Carson’s schoolyard-set Rinaldo, to Barrie Kosky’s awe-inspiring Saul.

This year the tradition continues as we welcome the Olivier Award-winning Adele Thomas to direct our first ever production of Handel’s Semele, a tale of lust and revenge.

Combining the sexual intrigue of classical myth with the solo virtuosity of Italian opera and the choral splendour of oratorio, Semele is the best of all worlds, a piece that rewrites the theatrical rules.

You can get a taste of the music in this performance by soprano Jane Archibald and pianist Benedict Kearns…

To whet your appetite for Semele, we’ve collected some of our best Handel moments for you to enjoy again…

Giulio Cesare: ‘Da tempeste il legno infranto’

Described variously as ‘witty, sexy and tragic’, ‘luxurious and exciting’ and ‘hugely entertaining’ by critics, David McVicar’s Giulio Cesare is one of Glyndebourne’s all-time greats. First seen in 2005, it dazzled audiences with its breathless pace, stylish Bollywood-meets-baroque designs and buoyant mood. This is a production that combines song, dance and spectacle to witty and irrepressibly joyful ends.

Danielle de Niese takes centre stage as Cleopatra in this all-singing, all-dancing aria, which pairs Handel’s music with Andrew George’s playful choreography.

Rinaldo: ‘Venti turbini’

Robert Carsen’s ‘ingenious, witty, joyous and completely over-the-top’ (The Arts Desk) production of Rinado takes Handel’s Crusader opera and transforms it into the wild, fantastical imaginings of a schoolboy. If you’re looking for a high point – stratospheric, really – how does a flying bicycle sound?

Saul: ‘How Excellent’

Bursting with energy and sensation, Kosky’s Saul combines exhilarating contemporary choreography with lavish period costumes in a stylish fusion of old and new that creates some of Glyndebourne’s most striking visuals. Here’s a taste of this spectacular staging – the oratorio’s opening chorus ‘How Excellent Thy Name O Lord’, in which the Israelites celebrate David’s victory over the giant Goliath.

Alcina: ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’

Francesco Micheli’s production of Handel’s Alcina brings style and sumptuous excess to Glyndebourne’s first-ever staging. Alcina’s magical island becomes a 1960s night club, where the enchantress and her sister Morgana dazzle their suitors each evening.

Rinaldo, Guilio Cesare, Saul and Alcina are available to rent on Glyndebourne Encore, our streaming service now.


 Public booking for Semele, and all our Festival 2023 productions opens on Sunday 5 March at 6.00pm

You might also like

Read our top tips for a Festival visit.
Go behind the scenes to see how some of the production’s the…
Join Louise Alder for an up-close look at the costumes she'l…
Explore our latest job vacancies
Brighten the stage with world-class opera and artists
Glyndebourne Shop
Our online shop offers a great selection of exclusive and locally sourced products. Every purchase supports our work.
Become a Member
Enjoy priority booking for the Festival. Find out how you can join as an Associate Member
Support us
Glyndebourne is a charity and the Festival receives no public subsidy. We rely on generous supporters who are passionate about opera.