Beggar's Opera

John GAY

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Item#: 127295 price:$650.00

Beggar's Opera
Beggar's Opera


GAY, John. The Beggar's Opera. London: William Heinemann, 1921. Royal octavo, modern full brown morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $650.

Illustrated edition of Gay's "ebullient masterpiece," with eight color plates of depicting characters and scenes, beautifully bound.

British poet and dramatist John Gay was the "inventor of the ballad opera." When The Beggar's Opera was first performed in 1728, "it started a ten-year fashion for ballad operas, and was the greatest theatrical success of the century" (New Grove VII:203). To audiences at its first performances, this "stage comedy with music organic to its plot development—not incidental or entre'acte music… was new. Musical comedy was being invented… Gay's ebullient masterpiece… lives comfortably alongside Handel's great operas, works of that master from whom Gay learned his craft" (Winton, John Gay and the London Theatre, 109-110, 127). The continuing success of The Beggar's Opera is "due equally to the catchily impertinent tunes and the fascinating inversion of morals, with bad behavior shown as acceptable" (New Grove).

Scattered light foxing. Beautifully bound.

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