The Beggar's Opera Essay

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Discussion From research it shows that one of the earliest signs of a jukebox musical was John Gay’s creation of The Beggar’s Opera (1728). Before The Beggar’s Opera all popular theatre was opera and the main operas were mostly written by a man name Georg Frideric Handel. The daring storylines and poetry were written in a time when all operas focused on love, romance, gods and heroes. In contrast, Gay took a completely different approach and wrote a performance based on thieves, maliciousness, and set in Newgate Prison. The reason I believe it was daring, is because the popular crowd who visited the theatre were the upper class, who would generally attend the opera to see the romance and perhaps to use this as a form of escapism from the real life happening on the streets of London. Most operas were also inspired by Italian opera, so it was only accessible for a certain type of person. The Beggar’s Opera was written and sung in British, but like an Italian opera he had the same three acts, but all used songs so it was more familiar for the audience and as proven more contagious so it would result in hopefully a bigger and more diverse crowd. Gays first performance of The Beggar’s Opera according to (McIntosh, 1974) was on the “29th January 1728”. In the 18th…show more content…
This means that even though it is still using songs from the past, as previously discussed, the words are fitted around the play, similar to an opera which mostly comprises of singing all the way through. This brings me onto the difference between ballad operas and jukebox musicals. The definition of a jukebox musical according to (Merriam-webster.com, 2017) is simply “a musical that features popular songs from the past”, which combines various amounts of spoken dialogue, music and dance. Whereas the main focus in opera is the music, which can be accompanied by libretto and very rarely by

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