The Harmonious Blacksmith George Frideric Handel Download 'The Harmonious Blacksmith' on iTunes
Alex James marks the major musical anniversaries coming up in the week ahead.
On this week’s show, Alex introduces music from Puccini’s evergreen opera La bohème which received its premiere 120 years ago on 1 February 1896. It was conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini at the Teatro Regio, Turin. The initial response of the audience at the first performance was subdued and critical responses were varied. Despite this, the opera quickly became popular throughout Italy and productions were soon mounted all over the country. The UK premiere of the opera took place at the Theatre Royal in Manchester more than a year later, in a presentation by the Carl Rosa Opera Company supervised by Puccini.
And while we're on the subject of Manchester, Alex also celebrates the birth of its world-famous Halle Orchestra, which gave its first concert on this day in 1858.
There are birthday celebrations too for Franz Schubert and conductor Andrew Davis. And Alex discovers why a falling chandelier at the premiere of one of Haydn’s symphonies still causes confusion today.