Thespis is an operatic extravaganza that was the first collaboration between
dramatist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. It was never
published, and most of the music is now lost. However, Gilbert and Sullivan
would go on to become one of the most famous and successful partnerships in
Victorian England, creating a string of comic opera hits, including H.M.S.
Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, that continue to be
popular. Thespis premièred in London at the Gaiety Theatre on 26 December
1871. Like many productions at that theatre, it was written in a broad,
burlesque style, considerably different from Gilbert and Sullivan's later
works. It was a modest success—for a Christmas entertainment of the time—and
closed on 8 March 1872, after a run of 63 performances. It was advertised as
"An entirely original Grotesque Opera in Two Acts". The story follows an
acting troupe headed by Thespis, the legendary Greek father of the drama,
who temporarily trade places with the gods on Mount Olympus, who have grown
elderly and ignored. The actors turn out to be comically inept rulers.
Having seen the ensuing mayhem down below, the angry gods return, sending
the actors back to Earth as "eminent tragedians, whom no one ever goes to
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The first recorded performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear, based on
the legend of King Lear of Britain, was held.
French Revolution: Louis XVI of France gave his Royal Assent to the Civil
Constitution of the Clergy, subordinating the Roman Catholic Church in
France to the French government.
Physicists Pierre and Marie Curie announced the discovery of a new element,
naming it radium.
Boxer Jack Johnson became the first African American Heavyweight Champion of
the World after defeating Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney.
An undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra,
Indonesia generated a series of devastating tsunamis that killed more than
225,000 people in eleven countries.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
piecemeal (adv) 1. Piece by piece; in small amounts, stages, or degrees.
2. Into pieces or parts.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the
--Harry S. Truman