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The Sunday Opera: "Benvenuto Cellini" by Hector Berlioz

The music of Hector Berlioz will be featured on this week’s Sunday Opera (3/15 3:00 p.m.) as we turn to his 1838 semiseria work “Benvenuto Cellini.”  Although Berlioz was fascinated by the accounts of the life of this 16th century Italian sculptor and rogue, very little of Cellini’s actual life found its way into the work.  Cellini has been commissioned by the Pope, through his treasurer Balducci, to create the statue of the victory of Perseus over Medusa.  Balducci wanted a rival sculptor, Fieramosca, to have both the commission and his daughter, Teresa’s, hand.  Teresa loves Cellini, and their plot to run away during carnival is overheard by Fieramosca, and confusion ensues.  Will Cellini get his nearly 17-foot-tall statue cast or will he fail, lose Teresa, and suffer the wrath of the Pope?  Tune in this Sunday to see.  

The cast for this recording includes Marcello Giordani, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Del Carlo, Peter Coleman-Wright, Patrick Carfizzi, and Eduardo Valdes.  We’ll finish the afternoon with two more works of Berlioz, the much loved Harold en Italie which was based on the writings of Lord Byron and caused a rift between Berlioz and Nicola Paganini who commissioned the work, and one of the first works written by Berlioz in 1828, the Waverly Overture, Op. 1 which was based on the work of the same name by Sir Walter Scott.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.