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Anne Sebba

Michael Berkeley's guest is Anne Sebba, the best-selling biographer of iconic women including Wallis Simpson, Laura Ashley and Mother Teresa.

Michael Berkeley's guest is Anne Sebba, the best-selling biographer of iconic women including Wallis Simpson, Winston Churchill's mother Jennie, Laura Ashley, and Mother Teresa.

Her most recent book tells the stories of the women of Paris in the 1940s. She follows the lives of housewives, Resistance fighters, shop girls, prostitutes and celebrities, all the time examining the big, small - and often impossible - choices people have to make in wartime. And we hear part of an operetta composed by one of these women, imprisoned by the Nazis at Ravensbruck.

Anne tells Michael about her controversial biography of Wallis Simpson in which she claims that we should have more understanding of her situation and more admiration for her as a person - and she argues that Wallis married Edward with great reluctance.

We hear Artur Rubinstein playing Rachmaninov, which brings back memories for Anne of interviewing him when she was a young journalist, and she chooses music by Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Verdi. A passionate advocate for the celebration of women's lives and talents, Anne chooses performances by Robyn Archer, Maria Callas and Margaret Fingerhut.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

34 minutes

Last on

Sun 22 Apr 2018 12:00

Music Played

  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Octet in E flat major (3rd mvt: Scherzo)

    Ensemble: Ensemble.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Piano Concerto no.2 in C minor (2rd mvt: Adagio)

    Performer: Arthur Rubinstein. Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Fritz Reiner.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Don Carlo (Act IV: Tu che le vanita)

    Orchestra: Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Nicola Rescigno. Singer: Maria Callas.
  • Arnold Bax

    Symphonic Variations (no.6: Triumph)

    Performer: Margaret Fingerhut. Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Bryden Thomson.
  • Germaine Tillion

    Le Verfugbar aux Enfers

    Ensemble: Ensemble.
  • Kurt Weill

    The Ballad of Mack the Knife

    Orchestra: London Sinfonietta. Conductor: Dominic Muldowney. Singer: Robyn Archer.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Cello Sonata, Op.65 (2nd mvt)

    Performer: Yo‐Yo Ma. Performer: Emanuel Ax.

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