March 30, 2010

Forever mad: The Legacy of Orlando Furioso

38,736 lines of poetry collected into 46 cantos make up one of Western culture's most influential works of literature – Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso. Written and rewritten over the course of 26 years, this masterpiece once inspired operas, plays, poems, novels, art work and, of course, plenty of copy cats. Ariosta's work "of loves and ladies, knights and arms... of courtesies, and many a daring feat" was actually a sequel of Matteo Maria Boiardo's unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato, which fused the French legends Charlemagne with the English legends of King Arthur.

Until recently though, many in our office hadn't even heard of the poem, the source material, for Handel's opera Orlando (and a couple others too). Well, thank goodness for us (and you), Stanford University's Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies is hosting a symposium this spring about this poem and its legacy, which includes a conversation with Nic about Handel's Orlando and a performance by the Sicilian puppet company Figli d'Arte Cuticchio. Learn more.

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