Fra Diovolo, or The Banditti of the Abrouzes
Fra Diovolo, or The Banditti of the Anrouzes was a "Grand Historical Pantomime" in two acts put on by the Equestrian Gymnastics company, with music by Guerroluch. According to the advertisement in the South African Commercial Advertiser of 19 October 1850, it had been first performed Circus Theatre of Paris, and consisted of "Grand Military Evolutions by upwards of Sixty Actors on Foot and on Horseback." It was performed a number of times in Cape Town between October and December, 1850, and possibly elsewhere in the region.
The original text
A horseback event, it was originally performed at the Circus Theatre of Paris, to music by Guerroluch, and deals with the twenty-nine days' chase of the elusive guerilla leader/brigand Fra Diavolo (lit. "Brother Devil") by Colonel Hugo (the father of Victor Hugo) and his ultimate capture and execution. Actually named Michele Pezza (1771–1806), and depending on the source, he was either soldier turned guerilla fighter and patriot, at least in the eyes of Italians, or he was a brigand who was made into a hero by his exploits.
Pezza figures prominently in Italian and French folk lore and fiction. He appears in several works of Alexandre Dumas for example, including The Last Cavalier, and Washington Irving's short story "The Inn at Terracina". The most famous stage version was the French opéra-comique by Daniel-François-Esprit Auber and Eugène Scribe, called Fra Diavolo ou l’Hôtellerie de Terracine, which was first performed on 28 January, 1830 in the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and many times afterwards, in many languages.
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