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Beatrice Cenci, Tragic Heroine

Coinciding with the National Opera of the Rhine performances of Beatrix Cenci, an opera by Alberto Ginastera premiered in 1971, the Fine Arts Museum looks again at this heroine, whose fate captured the European imagination from the time of her death.

Beatrice Cenci really did exist, being born into a family of Roman aristocrats in 1577. In reaction to her father's many crimes – among others, he had committed incest upon his own son and had similar designs on Beatrice – members of his family decided to put him to death. Despite the protests of the Roman people, moved by the girl's resistance to her father's depravity, the pope refused to pardon the parricides and Beatrice was beheaded at the age of 22 years. She has been portrayed by numerous artists. As well as painters (a portrait believed to be of her is attributed to Guido Reni or his pupil Elisabetta Sirani), there are novelists (Stendhal, Dumas, Zweig), playwrights (Shelley, Moravia, Artaud, with Balthus sets), photographers (Cameron), and appearances in the cinema and opera.

In partnership with Opéra National du Rhin

Beatrix Cenci Opera in two acts Libretto by William Shand and Alberto Girri after Stendhal's Chroniques italiennes and The Cenci by Percy Bysshe Shelley, 17 – 25 March 2019 at Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg.