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William Tell premiered in 1829 and was the last of Rossini's 39 operas, after which he went into semi-retirement. WNO Orchestra will be performing the well known overture as part of our opening concert at this year’s International Concert Seriesat St David’s Hall on Sun 4 Nov (3pm). There has been repeated use (and often parody) of parts of this overture in popular media, most famously as the for in radio, television and film. But, where else may you have heard it?
Cartoon fans may recognise the piece from a number of different scenes: the overture features prominently in Walt Disney'scartoon . It has also been used in animations parodying classical music (eg in which the finale section is performed by and ) or like . The finale has also been sung with specially written lyrics by Daffy Duck in and by a quartet of singing policemen in episode The Hot Piano!
The overture is also one of the most frequently used pieces of classical music in American advertising – with a psychologist suggesting it is particularly suitable for those targeting male customers. Among others, it was used in aversion by to accompany a 2001 campaign for and in an electronic version for a 2008 campaign.
Films which feature the overture prominently include Stanley Kubrick's, where an electronic rearrangement of the finale is played during a fast motion orgy scene. The opening phrase of the finale was also used in when Security Chief Joe rescued Mia Thermopolis after her Mustang stalled out in a driving rainstorm. It also features in the score of the Marx Brothers Duck Soup and disaster film Armageddon.
The overture, especially its finale, is also played at certain sporting fixtures in America – during the third television time-out of every second half atbasketball games, the Indiana pep band and cheerleading squad perform the overture with cheerleaders racing around the court carrying eighteen flags – a tradition that has been in place since the late 1970s.
Most recently you may have heard the tune on an advertisement for the sandwich chain Subway – in an electric guitar remix.
Welsh National Opera last performed the full opera in 2014.