Decameron Nights

Episodes

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01Five Italian Indelicacies Remixed From Boccaccio20141207

Terry Jones introduces five ripping Renaissance yarns from The Decameron, starring John Finnemore, Ingrid Oliver, Carrie Quinlan, Lydia Leonard, Samuel Barnett and Colin McFarlane.

The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. They are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of Renaissance Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern, and their subjects - love, fate, sex, religion, morality - are universal.

Radio 3 is retelling ten of these choice Florentine Fancies, this week and next, adapted by Robin Brooks. Tonight's selection box of five tales has been broadcast every evening this week in the Essay. A further five dainties will be served in next week's Drama on 3.

Boccaccio was born to a Florentine banking family in 1313. After an unsuccessful start in law, he turned to his true love: poetry. A humanist and a pupil of Petrarch, Boccaccio's Latin poetry was famous across Europe, and provided the sources for his near-contemporary Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, and The Knight's Tale. But his real innovation was the vibrant, vernacular prose in which he wrote The Decameron. Beautifully realised in the teeming voices of merchants and prostitutes, knights and nuns, shopkeepers and conmen, these stories have become a bedrock of our storytelling tradition, mined ever since by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Moliere, Lope de Vega, Christine de Pizan, Swift, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Caryl Churchill and many more.

The music for the series is arranged and performed by Robert Hollingworth, Director of I Fagiolini, and the lutenist Paula Chateauneuf, with translations by Silvia Reseghetti. The script consultant is Guyda Armstrong.

SAINT CIAPPELLETTO

All is not what it seems, when a fourteenth-century Tony Soprano makes his deathbed confession.

FEDERIGO AND HIS FALCON

Courtly Federigo spends every last groat trying to win the affections of the beautiful Monna. But there is only one thing of his that she wants. And it has feathers.

HOW ELENA BLEW HOT AND COLD

Widowed Elena sleeps around, though she likes to keep up appearances. But when she snubs one man for the amusement of another, she picks the wrong victim.

HOW TO GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST

When Zeppa discovers his wife with his best friend, he's keen to make a proportionate response.

KIND HEARTS AND BAYONETS

Mithridanes wants to be a wise and generous benefactor. Sadly, his neighbour Nathan is always wiser and more generous. How best to deal with this problem? Wisely and generously? Or.... not so much?

02 LASTFive More Italian Indelicacies Remixed From Boccaccio20141214

Terry Jones introduces five more tasty Renaissance treats from The Decameron, starring Tim McInnerny, Neil Pearson, Louise Brealey, Paul Ritter and Tameka Empson.

The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. They are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of Renaissance Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern, and their subjects - love, fate, sex, religion, morality - are universal.

Radio 3 is retelling ten of these choice Florentine Fancies, adapted by Robin Brooks. Tonight's selection box of five tales has been broadcast every evening this week in the Essay. Five more dainties can also be heard in last week's Drama on 3.

Boccaccio was born to a Florentine banking family in 1313. After an unsuccessful start in law, he turned to his true love: poetry. A humanist and a friend of Petrarch, Boccaccio's Latin poetry was famous across Europe, and provided the sources for his near-contemporary Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, and The Knight's Tale. But his real innovation was the vibrant, vernacular prose in which he wrote The Decameron. Beautifully realised in the teeming voices of merchants and prostitutes, knights and nuns, shopkeepers and conmen, these stories have become a bedrock of our storytelling tradition, mined ever since by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Moliere, Lope de Vega, Christine de Pizan, Swift, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Caryl Churchill and many more.

The music for the series is arranged and performed by Robert Hollingworth, Director of I Fagiolini, and the lutenist Paula Chateauneuf, with translations by Silvia Reseghetti. The script consultant is Guyda Armstrong.

THE SWEETEST YOUNG MAN IN PERUGIA

A young bride can't work out why her marriage seems flat. Until she and her husband both meet the sweetest young man in Perugia.

Pietro - Tim McInnerny

Madam - Hannah Genesius

Pandara - Jane Slavin

Masetto - Monty d'Inverno

Ercolano - David Acton

THE WAGER

When Bernabo makes a bet on his wife's chastity, and his friend sets out to prove him wrong, neither man imagines the matter will change their lives forever.

Musciatto - Michael Bertenshaw

Ambrogiuolo - Geoffrey Streatfeild

Bernabo - Paul Ritter

Zinevra - Louise Brealey

Sultan - Jude Akuwudike

Captain - Shaun Mason

A JOB FOR THE BOYS

Masetto's having a quiet drink, when the chance of a new job comes his way.

Masetto - Neil Pearson

Sister Donna - Tameka Empson

Sister Lisa - Rhiannon Neads

Hildegard - Jane Slavin

Nuto - Sam Dale

Steward - Michael Bertenshaw

LOVES LIES SLEEPING

In the middle of the night, Beppo's wife wakes him up to tell him a story. But his night is only just beginning.

Silvestra - Laura Molyneux

Beppo - Rudi Dharmalingam

Giovanni - Joseph Drake

Rinaldo - David Acton

Mother - Jane Slavin

A QUIET NIGHT IN NAPLES

Country boy Andreuccio comes to Naples to buy a horse. If only life in Naples were so straightforward.

Andreuccio - Gunnar Cauthery

Filomena - Roslyn Hill

Scarabone - Shaun Mason

Neighbour - David Acton

Ludo - Paul Heath

Bruno - Ian Conningham

Sister Lisa - Elaine Claxton

Sister Donna - Hannah Genesius

Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting.