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The Beggar's Opera - the first musical comedy

Author: Opus Arte

Ian Burton and Robert Carsen’s new version of Gay’s comedic exploration of society “… a Beggar’s Opera for our own turbulent times” (The Guardian).

  • The Beggar's Opera | Copyright: © Patrick Berger

    The Beggar's Opera © Patrick Berger

  • The Beggar's Opera | Copyright: © Patrick Berger

    The Beggar's Opera © Patrick Berger

Written by John Gay in 1728, The Beggar's Opera is widely considered to be the first musical comedy, and one that pre-empted by about 300 years the current vogue for “jukebox“ productions, which create a plot to fit around hit songs. Gay took some of the best-known tunes of his day, both classical and popular, and worked them into a savagely satirical tale set amongst London's thieves, pimps and prostitutes.

Wildly popular from its first performance in 1728, it has been the basis for numerous stage, musical and cinematic adaptations ever since. It explores a cynical world where capitalist greed, crime and social inequality are the norm. Robert Carsen’s new take on this classic is indeed “A brilliant tour de force between baroque and modernity” (Libération).

“It sets the tone brilliantly for a scabrous, virulent, gleefully profane production that teeters between grotesque humour and genuine shocks”
(The Telegraph ****)

“[Robert Carsen] bedazzles us when, with a magician’s touch, he spins the stage set around and transforms a baroque farce into a Thirtie’s Hollywood comedy…”
(Libération)

“An update that underlines the timelessness of a play whose fiery irony inspired so many artists over the years.’
(La Croix)

Genre Opera
Recording location Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris
Recording date April 2018
TV Director Francois Roussillon
Director Robert Carsen
Orchestra / Band Les Arts Florissants
Conductor William Christie
Distribution TV Naxos Rights (Europe) Limited
Distribution DVD Naxos Rights (Europe) Limited
Distribution VOD Naxos Rights (Europe) Limited

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