David Pownall: Cadenza

BBC Radio 3: Sunday Play

Broadcast: Sunday 26th July 1998 @ 9:50 p.m.

The Italian composer Alessandro Stradella was one of the most accomplished musicians of the 17th century. In 1667 he moved to Rome where he composed copiously, mostly sacred music, and began to live a dissolute life. With a friend he attempted to embezzle money from the Catholic Church, but was found out: he fled the city, only returning much later when he thought it was safe. Unfortunately his numerous incautious affairs with women began to make him enemies among the powerful men of the city, and he had to leave Rome for good.

Invited to the city of Venice to provide a musical education for the wealthy Alvise Contarini's mistress, Stradella instead charmed and absconded with the mistress. A price was put on his head by the very powerful Contarini family as he now finds that his music may be the only thing between him and a bloody end...

With Michael Maloney [Alessandro Stradella], Alistair Danson [Abbot Antonio Sforza], Joss Ackland [Alvise Contarini, a Wealthy Venetian], Iwan Thomas [Polo Michielli, a Patron of Stradella / Marcello], Abigail Docherty [Agnese Van Uffele, Alvise's Mistress], Eleanor Bron [Maria Giovanna, Regent of Savoy], Tom Watt [Marcus, a Contarini Henchman], Gavin Muir [Stephano, a Contarini Henchman], Richard Griffiths [Prince Andrea Doria, a Patron of Stradella], Jonathan Coy [Sardoni], Andrew Woodall [Arcangelo Corelli], Alison Pettit [The Passenger], Carolyn Jones [Gregoriana, Leader of the Corsican Brigands], and Sarah Rice [Marcello's Wife].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

Directed by Peter Kavanagh.

Re-broadcast on Sunday 27th December 1998 on BBC Radio 3. 75 min.


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