The Beggar's Opera

Revision as of 10:30, 23 March 2016 by Miriamt (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Beggar’s Opera is a ballad opera, The text is by John Gay (1685-1732) and the music consists largely of pouplar tunes of the day to whic Gay adapted his own words. In the original production these were arranged and orchestrated by Dr. Christoph Pepusch, who also composed the overture.

A musical comedy about the love triangle between the highwayman Macheath, his fence's daughter Polly and the jailer's daughter Lucy.

The original text

First produced in the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre in London in 1728.

Translations and adaptations

There was a London revival at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, produced by Sir Nigel Playfair, for whic the music was freely rearranged by Frederic Austin.

Since 1920 there had been several "rewrites" of The Beggar's Opera.

It later formed the basis of Bertolt Brecht’s immensely popular The Threepenny Opera (qv.).

Performance history in South Africa

Satged in Cape Town in 1922 at the {Opera House]] by an overseas company under the direction of African Theatres Ltd.

South African performances of Gay’s opera include productions by CAPAB in 1964 and Louis Burke, with Joan Brickhill, David Holliday, Louis Burke, Maggie Soboil and Frank Lazarus (opened in Cape Town in 1965, and then taken to Johannesburg by Theatre International in 1966).**.


The Beaggar's Opera theatre programme, 1965.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page