Semele at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Directed by Emmanuelle Haïm
Semele at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Until February 15, 2025

English surtitled in French (See the page)


Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
15 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
Capacity 1905 seats


3 hours

With intermission



For all audiences

In English with French and English surtitles


Having premiered in 1744, Semele is a an opera by the great German composer George Frideric Handel, a singular work that stands out both in the Baroque movement and in the composer's own repertoire.


In many of his works, Handel explores profound themes such as the destructive power of love, the quest for the absolute, and the dangers of excessive ambition. His music is richly expressive, alternating between lyrical arias and grandiose choruses, all which work to skilfully illustrate the characters' intense emotions.


Semele is distinguished from other works of Handel by its uniquely hybrid structure, combining elements of both opera and oratorio. The dramatic action is punctuated by recitatives and solo arias, while the choruses comment on and amplify the events.
The work also features daring instrumentation for its time, including hunting horns and powerful oboes, which help to create an intense and truly theatrical atmosphere.
Semele is considered a masterpiece of Baroque music, a unique and fascinating work that continues to captivate audiences with its power and musical beauty.


The cast at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is breathtaking: you'll hear the beautiful soprano voice of Pretty Yende, the sumptuous tenor voice of Ben Bliss, and the mezzo-soprano Alice Coote.


This iteration is directed by the superb Emmanuelle Haïm, a great specialist in Baroque opera. Her expertise is evident and her passion palpable; allow her immaculate precision to guide you through her nuanced version of this masterpiece with ease.


How far would you go for love?
Find out the extremes of this most commanding emotion with this production of Semele at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.


Semele, a secular oratorio by George Frideric Handel, tells the story of the passionate love between the mortal Theban princess Semele and the god Jupiter.


Seduced by Jupiter's promises to make her immortal, Semele longs to see him in his divine form, despite the warnings from Jupiter that the power would be too great.


Unaware of the danger, Semele insists and, with the help of Jupiter’s jealous wife Juno, wins her case. But when Jupiter is revealed in all his divine splendour, Semele is consumed by flames and tragically dies. Jupiter, overcome with grief, promises to fulfil Semele's last wish: to give birth to their son Bacchus, the god of wine. The work ends on a note of consolation and hope, celebrating the birth of Bacchus and the power of enduring love in the face of cruel mortality.


The operatic form, the sublime setting for passionate love stories, exalts feelings and sublimates tragic destinies. Semele is irrefutable proof of this most expressive art form’s infinite potentiality.


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Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

15 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris

History and Fun Facts about the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Hosting one of the most lavishing concert halls in all of Paris, Champs- Élysées is the true definition of architectural beauty with its historic foundation. Inaugurated on April 2nd, 1913, the structure is quite large comprising three auditoriums: Théâtre des Champs- Élysées, The Comédie des Champs- Élysées, Studio des Champs- Élysées, and a restaurant. The main theatre which has 1905 seats is Italian styled and originally constructed to host guests visiting the theatre to watch opera shows and concerts. This was the first theatre in Paris to be built completely from reinforced concrete instead of steel.


Over the years the famed theatre has hosted many recognized artists such as the beautiful cabaret dancer Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and many other entertainers from our cherished olden day era. In 2005 the main room in the theatre was renovated in order to improve the acoustics, it is confirmed that during a show the sounds are very clear, almost as if you were up close to the stage. Théâtre des Champs- Élysées is one of the most frequently visited monuments in Paris, on an annual basis more than 300,000 people attend programs from contemporary dance and ballet recitals to orchestras, operas, and other concerts. Carrying a number of diverse performances of different genres, the theatre attracts audience members of all ages. 

Fast facts
Capacity: 1,905
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Air conditioning: No
Heating: Yes
Coat Check: Yes (paid service)


How do I get to Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris?

The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is accessible by:
Metro: Line 1 (station Franklin D. Roosevelt), line 9 (station Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alma Marceau)
RER: Line C (station Pont de l’Alma)
Address: 15 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
In case of difficulty, our hotline can be reached during our business hours. Please see the footer of this page for our contact details.

What do I do when I get to Théâtre des Champs-Élysées?

We invite you to arrive 20 minutes before the beginning of Semele, and present your voucher at the front desk. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées’s English-speaking staff members will guide you to your seats.
The auditorium doors close as soon as the performance of Semele begins. The first latecomers are placed in late boxes with a limited number of seats.
Those who arrive later will have to wait for the interval (if there is one), watching the broadcast of the performance on screens located around the perimeter of the Orchestra, in order to get back to their seats.

How long does Semele last?

Semele at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées lasts approximately 3 hours, with intermission.

Is Semele for an international audience or French speakers?

Both! The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées has been welcoming audiences from all over the world for 30 years. Semele, is sung in its original Italian version. Surtitles are provided in both French and English so that international audiences can appreciate this masterpiece in this incredible Parisian venue.

Where will I be seated, and will I see the surtitles* properly?

At Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, there are a maximum of four categories available for Elektra. The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées has an Italian-style auditorium, i.e. in the shape of a horseshoe. The surtitles are projected on both sides of the stage. Seats in categories 1, 2 and 3 give a good view of the stage and the surtitles. Category 4, on the other hand, offers reduced visibility.
You can find the seating plan in the theatre’s "photo" section on this page.
*Surtitles (also called supertitles) are the theatre equivalent of subtitles. That’s because in French “sur” means “above”. At Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the text is projected on the sides of the auditorium.

Can I choose my seat when booking?

No, unfortunately it is not possible to choose your seat when booking for Semele. However, you can choose the category and we will allocate you the best seats in the chosen category!
Please note that tickets of the same category that are booked during the same purchase session, in the same booking order on our website are always assigned side by side. To be sure of this, make sure all of your tickets are in the same category and are included in your shopping cart at the time of purchase.
You can find the seating plan in the theatre’s "photo" section on this page.
If there are no available adjacent seating arrangements, our customer service team will contact you before the booking is confirmed.

Is there a dress code at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées?

There is no specific dress code at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, but proper attire is appreciated. Many Parisians will arrive directly from work, dressed in business casual or chic attire.