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The Sunday Opera: Camille Saint-Saens' "Henry VIII"

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Camille Saint-Saens wrote twelve operas, and he’s mostly remembered for “Samson and Delilah,” but on this week’s Sunday Opera (4/26 3:00 p.m.), we’ll be travelling to 16th century London for the turmoil caused by Henry VIII’s driving desire to have a male heir.  “Henry VIII” doesn’t look at the entire life of the infamous monarch; it just deals with his struggles with the Catholic church to divest himself from his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, who could not give him his desired son and his conquest of the reluctant Anne Boleyn.  Along the way, he turns his back on the Vatican and founds the current Church of England.  

Our cast for this recording includes Philippe Rouillon, Michele Command, Lucile Vignon, and Alain Gabriel, and they’re joined by the Arts Theatre Chorus of Rouen and the Lyric Orchestra of France with Alain Guingal, conducting.  After the opera, stay with Michael Kownacky for more of Saint-Saens’ glorious music with his Suite Algerienne, Phaeton – Poeme Symphonique, and La Mort d’Ophelie.  Sadly, there’s no happy ending here, but there is some wonderful music.

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.