Rossini’s final Italian opera Semiramide (Prom 68, 4 September) is an extrovert celebration of the human voice. The composer’s intricate, highly embellished writing pushes his singers further than ever before, and it’s far from empty virtuosity, serving a dramatic, tragic story of violence and incest – what more could any opera-lover want? Conducted by Sir Mark Elder, this concert performance has a cast to die for, including ferociously brilliant Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova (pictured left by Andrei Bogdanov) in the title role, and mezzo Daniela Barcellona as the warrior Arsace. Those who really can’t make the concert – though of course the broadcast will be available for one month on the iPlayer – should look out for the forthcoming recording from Opera Rara.
The fashion for immersive theatre persists, and now spreads to classical music for a concert of 17th century music framed in the recreated 17th-century interior of the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (Proms at…, 13 August). Take a trip to Restoration London, in a programme of music by Purcell, Locke and Draghi, all inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. With an exciting lineup of young soloists and Jonathan Cohen directing, this promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s Early Music strand at the Proms.