Join mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as she explores Rossini's opera Semiramide. Find out more at www.roh.org.uk Rossini wrote Semiramide in 1823, his last year in Italy before moving to Paris. The opera makes a fittingly magnificent finale to his Italian career: its astonishing structure and span anticipates the sophistication of his later masterpiece Guillaume Tell, while the blistering and virtuoso title role – written for Rossini’s wife Isabella Colbran – inspired many later composers, including Bellini in his Norma. Based on a story by Voltaire, the tragedy sees its characters wrestle against fate as the story propels them towards the harrowing finale, to music of magnificent beauty. David Alden directs a new production for The Royal Opera. He describes Semiramide as ‘hard and political, almost as if it is carved out of stone, and what lies beneath is like a Greek tragedy’. He gives the opera a 20th-century setting, in which Semiramide rules an authoritarian state. He has assembled a team of regular collaborators to bring this late, great Rossini tragedy to the stage, in The Royal Opera’s first ever production.