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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Comic Opera

The first comic opera, Chi Soffre Speri by Virgilio Mazzocchi and Marco Marazzoli, premiered in Rome in 1639.

Thomas Arne and Isaac Bickerstaffe's  Love in a Village was probably the first English comic opera. It premiered December 8, 1762.

1767 oil painting by Johann Zoffany showing Act 1, Scene 2
Gilbert and Sullivan's fourth operatic collaboration, H.M.S. Pinafore, opened at the Opera Comique in London, on May 25, 1878 and ran for 571 performances, which was the second-longest run of any musical theatre piece up to that time.

H.M.S. Pinafore was Gilbert and Sullivan's first international sensation. Its triumphant American premiere in 1879 made comic opera the most popular musical form for the rest of the century in  the States.

Poster illustration from original 1878 production

A church organist in the French city of Marseilles, Edomnd Audran also composed comic operas. One of the comic operas he composed (La Mascotte in 1879) gained him immortality. The central figure was a character whose extraordinary good fortune could not be due to mere chance or be the result of ordinary circumstances and the law of averages. It could only have been caused by some supernatural agent. Looking for an appropriate figure and name for the opera, Audran chose from the Provencal dialect the "little sorceress" - the original mask: La Mascotte. The success of the production and its catchy tunes that made a local slang word world-famous; thus the Anglicized "mascot" survives as the name for objects or living beings imagined to bring good luck.

Source Europress Encyclopedia

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