The Beggar's Opera

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Edgar V. Roberts
U of Nebraska Press, 1969 - Drama - 238 pages

The Beggar's Opera introduced to theater the ballad-opera and an immortal cast of characters. The Peachums, employers of a company of pickpockets, shoplifters, and thieves, raised their daughter Polly for finer things, but she has done a dreadful deed. She has married for love. Her husband is Macheath, so exquisite a robber he might have been a lawyer or lord, and so devoted to matrimony that he has two or three wives already.


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The beggar's opera

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Czech Republic President Havel's 1975 adaptation of British dramatist John Gay's 1728 political satire, The Beggar's Opera, and other subversive works made him a blacklisted dissenter in the Czech ... Read full review


Regents Restoration Drama Series
Introduction xii
The Music

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About the author (1969)

Gay is a highly original poet and dramatist who experimented in various forms and genres. His The What D'Ye Call It: A Tragi-Comical Pastoral Farce (1715) is a burlesque of high seriousness, as is Three Hours after Marriage, which he wrote with his fellow members of the Scriblerus Club Alexander Pope and Dr. John Arbuthnot. The Beggar's Opera (1728) is his best-known work; it started the vogue for ballad operas, with tunes drawn from popular airs (Gay's are mostly from Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, a popular sourcebook for ribald songs). The Beggar's Opera satirizes gentility and vulgarity alike, and its topical political allusions are so direct that the government forbade its' sequel, Polly. Bertolt Brecht caught the spirit of the work in his Threepenny Opera.

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