The most abstract idea conceivable is the sensuous in its elemental originality. But through which medium can it be presented? Only through music. Kierkegaard, Either/Or
I saw Semele performed last night by the Seattle Opera. It was fantastic, and later this weekend I’ll try to do justice to it in an overview (I’m not really qualified to write a review … probably not qualified to write an overview, either, but from that you cannot stop me. If I can get my act together, that is (I’ve managed to shake the bronchitis).
Anyhow … here are a few versions of Where’er You Walk, by far the most well known aria in the opera—which is too bad, because there are some great ones, even better ones, I would say.
The first isn’t really a video at all. Just lots of pretty pictures to go with the music. But it’s sung here by Leontyne Price, certainly one of the greatest sopranos of the last century:
Leontyne Price is an amazing person, with an amazing life which you can read all about at her wiki entry.
In Semele it’s actually sung by Jupiter, who uses Bryn Terfel’s voice here:
I first heard Semele twenty years ago, when a friend gave me a copy of the Battle/Horne/Ramey performance on CD, and I’ve been listening to it at least once a year since then. Here is Kathleen Battle singing in recital:
If you’ve read this far without trying any of the links, you may want to start there. I’m listening to it now, and it’s pretty sublime. “Pretty” describes Battle’s voice better than Price’s, but they’re both pretty amazing.