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The Firebrand of Florence

Cover to World Premier Recording

A Musical in 2 Acts, 9 Scenes. Book by Edwin Justus Mayer and Ira Gershwin. Music by Kurt Weil. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Based on the play The Firebrand by Edwin Justus Mayer.

All musical arrangements and orchestrations by Kurt Weill.

Alvin Theatre, Broadway : Opened 22nd March, 1945; closed 28th April, 1945 (43 perfs)


Benvenuto Cellini, the great Florentine artist, is sentenced to hang, but he is pardoned when the duke realises that he has not completed a previously commissioned sculpture. Freed, he is able to turn his attention to his favourite model (and object of his affections), Angela. The Duke also is interested in Angela.

In a typical operetta plot, Cellini swashbuckles around the stage, keeping the Duke away from Angela, keeping himself away from the Duchess, and escaping yet another death sentence by fleeing to Paris, as the end of the show recapitulates the beginning.


(in order of appearance):

  • Hangman
  • Tartman
  • Souvenir Man
  • Maffio
  • Arlecchino
  • Columbina
  • Pierot
  • Flomina
  • Pantalone
  • Fiorinetta
  • Celfomino
  • Rosania
  • Dottore
  • Magistrate
  • (Benvenuto) Cellini
  • Captain of the Guard
  • Ottaviano
  • Ascanio
  • Emelia
  • Angela
  • Marquis
  • Duke
  • Page
  • Duchess
  • Major-Domo
  • Clark of the Court

Chorus of Models; Apprentices; Soldiers; Promenaders; Courtiers

Musical Numbers:


  1. Song of the Hangman - Hangman, Two Assistants
  2. Come to Florence (Civic Song) - Hangman, Chorale Ensemble, Arlecchino, Columbina, Commedia Dell' Arte Dancers
  3. My Lords and Ladies (Aria) - Benvenuto Celllini, Apprentices,Choral Ensemble
  4. There Was Life, There Was Love, There Was Laughter (Farewell Song) - Benvenuto Celllini, Choral Ensemble
  5. You're Far Too Near Me (Love Song) - Angela, Benvenuto Celllini
  6. Alessandro the Wise (The Duke's Song) - Duke, Choral Ensemble
  7. I Am Happy Here (Finaletto) - Duke, Ottaviano, Benvenuto Celllini, Angela, Marquis, Emelia, Choral Ensemble
  8. Sing Me Not a Ballad (The Duchess' Song) - Duchess, 4 Courtiers
  9. When the Duchess Is Away (Madrigal) - Captain of the Guard, Duke, Emelia, Choral Ensemble
  10. There'll Be Life, Love and Laughter (Love Song) - Benvenuto Celllini, Angela
  11. I Know Where There's a Cozy Nook (Trio) - Duke, Angela, Benvenuto Celllini
  12. The Nighttime Is No Time for Thinking (Night Music) - Emelia, Duke, Angela, Choral Ensemble
  13. Dizzily, Busily (Tarantella) - Emelia, Choral Ensemble, Arlecchino, Columbina, Commedia Dell' Arte Dancers
  14. Finale - Entire Company


  1. You're Far Too Near Me (reprise) - Angela, Benvenuto Celllini
  2. The Little Naked Boy (Cavatina) - Angela, Female Choral Ensemble
  3. My Dear Benvenuto (Letter Song) - Benvenuto Celllini, Angela
  4. Just in Case (March of the Soldiers of the Duchy) - Captain of the Guard, Soldiers of the Duchy
  5. A Rhyme for Angela (Ode)- Duke, Poets, Ladies in Waiting
  6. Procession - Hangman, Vendors, Apprentices, Models, Clerks
  7. The World Is Full of Villains (Chant of Law and Order) - Duke, Clerks, Magistrates, Choral Ensemble
  8. You Have to Do What You Do Do (Trial By Music) - Benvenuto Celllini, Duke, Marquis, Duchess, Ottaviano, Magistrate, Choral Ensemble
  9. Love Is My Enemy (Duet) - Benvenuto Celllini, Angela
  10. The Little Naked Boy (reprise) - Duchess, Angela
  11. Come to Paris (Civic Song) - Marquis, Two Ladies of Paris, Choral Ensemble
  12. Finale -
    Gigue - The Commedia Dell' Arte Dancers
    Sarabande - Choral Ensemble
  13. There'll Be Life, Love and Laughter - Entire Ensemble

Scenes and Settings

Act I

Act 2