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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.
French King Louis XIV commissioned Lully (pictured) to write 'Roland' at a time when the sovereign had reaffirmed his religious faith and wanted to impose Catholic orthodoxy on his country. Thus the Christian knight Orlando's rediscovery of his sacred mission was an ideal subject for the times. The opera premiered in the stables at Versailles, which had been specially adapted for the occasion.
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