John Gay: The Beggar's Opera (2287 words)


The Beggar's Opera is Gay's best-known work and an indisputable masterpiece. First produced, to rapturous acclaim, at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln's Inn Fields on 29 January 1728, the opera was a runaway success. Lavinia Fenton, the actress playing the heroine, Polly Peachum, immediately became the toast of the town and, soon after, married the Duke of Bolton, who came nightly to admire her. The opera received sixty-two performances that season and went on to be continuously performed on the English stage each year throughout the eighteenth century. Its popularity continued in the nineteenth century, and in the twentieth was given a number of added boosts, first by Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht's famous, pre-World War II …

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "The Beggar's Opera". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 February 2004 [, accessed 19 September 2020.]

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