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  Semiramide Overture (arr. 1939) GIOACHINO ROSSINI (arr. V.F. Safranek) The overture from Semiramide is perhaps the most known part from that entire opus. Based on a play by Voltaire, “Semiramis,” its brief story is this: Ninus, the king of Babylon, has been murdered by his Queen, Semiramis, aided by Assur, a prince enamoured of her and aspiring to the throne. One of the Queen’s warriors, Arsaces, supposed to be of Scythian origin, but in reality her own son, returns from a foreign expedition and is loaded with honors for the victory he has won. Semiramis, ignorant of his parentage, has a secret passion for him, he in the meantime being devoted to Azema, one of the Princesses royal. As all gather together in the temple to swear allegiance to the Queen, the gates of Ninus’ tomb suddenly open and his ghost appears and announces that Arsaces will be the succesor to the Crown. At midnight Semiramis, Assur, and Arsaces meet at the tomb, and by mistake Assur stabs her instead of Arsaces, who in turn kills Assur, and, all obstacles being removed, is united to Azema and ascends the throne.
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