Sex goes back on the cover

Sex goes back on the cover


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2021

Just when you thought relevance had returned to record marketing, here’s the latest from the Academy of Ancient Music.

Nice photography, but…. is this the best way to introduce a long-forgotten opera dusted off by scholars?


  • jack says:

    So, when is sex not a central subject of operas?

    • Tamino says:

      …and… where is the sex in the picture? Only in Saudi Arabia that picture counts as sex(ual). For the enlightened world in the year 2021, there are two naked bodies in a hug, lighted ‘artistically’.

  • Patricia says:

    Yes. I have ordered my copy. Have you actually listened to the music or do you just have no in erest in period orchestras?

  • JussiB says:

    well..Semele is a nympho after all, ancient music or not. BTW Norman I just found your stash of VHS adult titles.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    No, it’s not the best way – it’s the lowest way.

  • Peter says:

    Here’s the plot, from Wikipedia: “ Jupiter, King of the gods, takes the mortal Princess Semele to a secret hiding place on a mountain to be his mistress. When Jupiter’s wife, Juno, hears of her husband’s adultery she is enraged, and plots to ensure Semele’s downfall. In disguise, Juno appeals to the girl’s vanity and persuades her to insist on seeing her lover in his divine form. Jupiter reluctantly agrees but his thunderbolts burn and consume Semele. From her ashes, though, arise her unborn child by Jupiter – Bacchus, god of wine and ecstasy.”

    Not really dusty and academic. Perhaps the cover should be a bit more provocative ?

  • John McMunn says:

    Insofar as it pertains directly to the content of the work, yes. The work isn’t about scholarship, it is about love. As such what image could be more appropriate?

  • Douglas says:

    Semele burned to a frazzle by thunderbolts when she thought she was going to see serial adulterer Zeus “in all his glory” (nudge, wink) and then the god-child Dionysus ripped from her womb and sewn into Zeus’ thigh (according to a variant of the myth). Photo pretty tame by comparison!

  • sam says:

    I am less disturbed by the cover art than by the vibrato in their singing!

    Vocal vibrators are “Not Suitable for Work” of 1700 music.
    ; )

  • Tony says:

    The visual concept is twenty years out of date. In context it looks irrelevant and desperate to me if they cannot come up with anything better. CDs are not as important in the marketplace any more. Maybe this will be the first of a series of naughty cover photos and even AAM videos – I can hardly wait. The AAM should run a competition to guess who out of the orchestra is in the photo.

    • Brettermeier says:

      “the paintings and drawings are often literally hot!”

      They didn’t have to worry about being banned from facebook for posting nipple pics.

  • Karl says:

    The Kardashians had their TV show cancelled. Will there be a Kardashians opera?

  • BrianB says:

    Why not? The post-Restoration and early18th century was a very randy age and the subject is a bit racy. Better to just celebrate the appearance of the work.

  • Stuart says:

    Who cares about the CD cover picture? There is not a lot of Eccles recorded, so to have a professional recording of Semele is a rare event. Eccles worked in Purcell’s shadow and was blown away by Handel a few years after Semele’s composition. The concert is out on YouTube – nice music though a touch boring at times. Compare Eccles Semele in 1706 to Handel’s version 30+ years later. Opera in London grew up under Handel and, listening to it, it is no wonder that Eccles piece got lost and is almost never heard.

  • Jack says:

    I can’t believe this obsession with album covers. If it’s a damned good performance I could care less what’s on the cover.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    While I am yet to discover the Eccles Semele on stage, I am an abiding fan of Handel’s.
    The most stirring performance of it that I have been privileged to witness was that given ten years ago, at the Theater Basel, directed by Karin Baier and conducted by Konrad Junghänel.
    Maya Boog was incredibly athletic and intensely erotic, as this brief scrap testifies:

    I cannot find the cover of the new Eccles Semele anything but highly appropriate, tasteful, and relevant.
    Looking forward to it!

  • Ks. Christopher ROBSON says:

    C’mon Norman, I am sure you know it is entirely relevant and appropriate 🙂