WETA Classical’s Choral Showcase is presenting “A Rogues’ Gallery” – villains and scoundrels, both real and imagined – all this month, beginning September 3 with the timeless story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for worldly wisdom and pleasure: The Damnation of Faust, an operatic oratorio by Hector Berlioz.
For Jean Sibelius, it was a story from Finland’s national epic The Kalevala that inspired his early choral symphony, Kullervo. It’s a cautionary tale of a would-be hero gone rogue, with disastrous results, and can be heard on September 11.
On September 18, it’s Sergei Prokofiev’s cantata Ivan the Terrible, drawn from the score for Sergei Eisenstein’s 1944 epic film portrayal of the 16th-century tyrannical “Tsar of all Russia”. Although admiring his accomplishments, it doesn’t shy away from his faults, either.
We’ll complete the month with Henrik Ibsen’s rascally ne’er do well, Peer Gynt, whose misadventures are illuminated in the incidental music by Edvard Grieg, presented in its entirety on September 25.
Join me for Choral Showcase, Sundays at 9PM ET.
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