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Musical drama by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Dr Alberto Sanna to premiere on BBC Radio 4

alberto and frank Monday 4 January 2016

A musical drama which started life as a performance at Liverpool Hope University’s annual Cornerstone Arts Festival is to be broadcast by BBC Radio 4.  

How to Flee from Sorrow is a witty and entertaining musical drama about the lives and works of two seventeenth-century musicians, Alessandro Stradella and Arcangelo Corelli, who crossed paths in Rome in the 1670s.

Originally devised by Liverpool Hope University Music Lecturer Dr Alberto Sanna (pictured) and written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Professor of Reading and Communication at Liverpool Hope), the show was premiered at Liverpool Hope University’s Capstone Theatre in Liverpool in November 2013.

The new hour-long adaptation will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 2.30pm on Saturday 9th January 2016.

Stradella (played by Trystan Gravelle, who stars in Mr Selfridge as Victor Coleano) enjoys enormous success under the patronage of Queen Christina in Rome but has to flee to Venice after he and his sidekick, the hunchback violinist Lonati (Ralf Little), get a rich man drunk on a heady mixture of wine and song then con him into marrying a poor, old woman of ill repute. Incapable of settling into a comfortable life at court, Stradella becomes one of the first truly freelance composers - juggling commissions, scrabbling after money, fleeing from scandal. The number of midnight flits he has to make give the story a comic tempo, but one story gives the drama its heart, the love story between Stradella and Agnese, the 'niece' of the Doge of Venice.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce researched the original historical letters to create Stadella's fiery, funny and charismatic voice and uses Stradella's astonishingly beautiful and innovative music to tell his story.

Dr Alberto Sanna, who devised the original piece, is one of the leading interpreters of Stradella and Corelli and is the Director of Music on this production.

Dr Sanna, who became director of the Cornerstone Arts Festival in 2014 said: “What was important for me was not so much the Stradella story - that had already been told by historians and critics - but to attempt to explain in artistic terms the relationship between, on the one hand, Stradella's extraordinary music and, on the other hand, the political, economic, social and cultural context out of which it was created.”

How to Flee from Sorrow: BBC Radio 4, 2.30pm, Saturday 9th January 2016.

Dr Alberto Sanna - full profile

Department of Music at Liverpool Hope 

Picture: BBC /Amanda Benson

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