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Playing: Wie schon leucht't uns der Morgenstern, from 2 Chorale fantasies Op.40 by Max Reger
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20 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 20 July 2013

Roger Parker chairs a round-table discussion about Verdi's idea of God, the Church and Religion.

The Four Sacred Pieces were Verdi's final work and he said he wanted to be buried with the manuscript of the Te Deum. But Verdi was an agnostic, who refused to accompany his wife to church, and his religious music was described as 'opera in ecclesiastical clothing'.

In Verdi's God, Roger Parker and his guests explore the composer's spiritual life and its impact on his music, relationships and politics. Taking part in the discussion are Flora Willson from the University of Cambridge, who takes a special interest in the culture and society of Italy in the 19th century, and one of the pre-eminent Verdi conductors of today, Semyon Bychkov, whose performance of the Requiem was a highlight of the 2011 Proms season, and who will be bringing to bear his experience of the religious music in Verdi's operas and the operatic element in his religious music.

These three great Verdi experts will attempt to answer a very difficult question: who was Verdi's God?


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