Listen on BBC Radio 3 & BBC Sounds
About This Event
The BBC Symphony Orchestra assembled an all-star cast for this landmark recreation at London's Barbican Centre in 2000 of the work with which Kurt Weill hoped to lead American musical theatre in a new direction.
Although The Firebrand was, in Weill's words, 'killed by its production,' it contains sumptuous music on a scale not seen on Broadway before. It's based on scenes from the life of the Renaissance sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini who has been sentenced to hang for the attempted murder of Count Maffio.
It opens with a memorable scene in Florence's public square where Cellini awaits his fate and it ends with jugglers and dancers in faraway Fontainebleau. But, in between, there are twists and turns of love, betrayal and adventure with numbers like, 'You're Far Too Near Me,' 'When the Duchess is Away,' The Little Naked Boy,' 'Love is Enemy' and finally a reprise of 'Life, Love and Laughter.'
Presented by Penny Gore.
KURT WEILL: The Firebrand of Florence
Music and lyrics by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin.
Book by Edwin Justus Mayer, based on his play The Firebrand.
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Davis (conductor)
Simon Russell Beale (narrator)
VALGEIR SIGURÐSSON: Eighteen hundred and seventy-five for orchestra and electronics
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Rumon Gamba (conductor)