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An epic Italian poem from the 16th century has inspired more classical music than any other work of literature. Here are a few of the best.
‘Orlando Furioso’ is an Italian epic poem by Ariosto which first appeared in 1516 and was published complete in 1532. The real Orlando was an 8th-century military leader who served the Frankish warrior king Charlemagne. Ariosto turned the story into a 46-part poem about Christians versus Saracens, sorcery and seduction, secret weddings and concealed identity - and composers were thrilled by the amount of material they could turn into great operas.
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