The first production by St Andrews University Opera Society, Semele was a fascinating reimagining of a story of Gods and mortals, which was overall a good first effort by the society. In short, the opera depicts the story of mortal Semele, the lover of the God Jupiter, and in turn nemesis to Jupiter’s wife, Juno.
While at first the 20s era setting of the production was quite jolting, everything quickly fell into place. The orchestra played with utmost consistency and a high degree of professionalism, setting the bar for the rest of the production.
The music was beautifully performed, and despite quite a small chorus, their powerful vocals filled the auditorium. It was obvious that plenty of time and effort was dedicated to the production, showcasing the wide array of talent that sometimes goes unnoticed in this small town.
I must, however, point out that there was some discrepancy between the performances of the lead characters. Christina Bell, the angelic soprano who delivered her musical performance with ease and clarity, was at times outshone in her dramatic performance by her counterpart Alice Gold, in the role of Juno.
Indeed, it seemed that Gold was quite the audience favourite, garnering rounds of applause from the audience after every performance. And rightfully so, as not only were her vocals beautifully delivered, but her acting also seemed to be the most lively of the night. So it must be said, although the music was beautifully presented, there was still something left to be desired in terms of the conviction of some of the performers.
Nonetheless, it was overall a solid performance from both female leads, complemented well by the voice of Andrew Mundy, who took on the lead male role of Jupiter. In fact, the performance allowed for a wide range of male voices to be showcased, which is something that the producer, Luisa Hill, should be commended for.
All in all, the event was well organized, and the show elegantly presented. Although the production did leave some room for improvement, it gave promising insight for what is to come from the society, and I look forward to their future endeavours.