Listening and discussion begin at 2:00 PM.

Semiramide was the second of Rossini series that Epstein curated that season; the first, La Donna del Lago with Frederica von Stade, Horne, Rockwell Blake and Dano Raffanti, was offered on “Trove Thursday” several years ago.

Anyone who might have already heard this Semiramide should take another listen as this recording presents it in the finest sound quality I’ve heard. It helpfully begins with the announcement (surely a surprise to very few) that Montserrat Caballé would not be appearing that evening in the title role.

I was told was that everyone else had been rehearsing for at least a week for the performance on a Monday evening but Caballê didn’t show up until the Friday before and then promptly pulled out the next day. Lewis was also a substitute, having taken over for Jesús López-Cobos, who had withdrawn about a week earlier.

Although Anderson was more than six years away from her Met debut, she had had major successes at New York City Opera and elsewhere and her days of covering were behind her. But she had just sung Semiramide in Rome opposite Lucia Valentini-Terrani and knew—given Caballés track record—there was probably a better than good chance she’d be showing off her Babylonian queen to Carnegie audiences. — Christopher Corwin

Rossini: Semiramide

Carnegie Hall
10 January 1983
In-house recording

Semiramide: June Anderson
Arsace: Marilyn Horne
Azema: Stephanie Friede
Assur: Samuel Ramey
Idreno: Douglas Ahlstedt
Oroe: Eric Halfvarson
Mitrane: Walter MacNeil
L’ombra di Nino: Edward Crafts

American Symphony Orchestra
Orpheon Chorale

Conductor: Henry Lewis