Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphée aux enfers, 1858) is a comic opera
with music by Jacques Offenbach (pictured) and words by Hector Crémieux
and Ludovic Halévy. It was extensively revised and expanded in 1874 for
a run that broke box-office records at the Théâtre de la Gaîté,
Paris. In the opera, a lampoon of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice,
Orpheus is a rustic violin teacher who is glad to be rid of his wife
when she is abducted by the god of the underworld. The reprehensible
conduct of the gods of Olympus was widely seen as a veiled satire of the
court and government of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French. Some
critics expressed outrage at the librettists' disrespect for classic
mythology and the composer's parody of Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice;
others praised the piece highly. It was Offenbach's first full-length
opera and remains the one that is most often performed. Can-can cabaret
acts still use its "Galop infernal", adopted later in the 19th century
by the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpheus_in_the_Underworld>
Today's selected anniversaries:
Alexios Strategopoulos led the Nicaean forces of Michael VIII
Palaiologos to recapture Constantinople, re-establish the Byzantine
Empire, and end the Latin Empire.
Spanish–American War: After over two months of sea-based
bombardment, the United States invaded Puerto Rico.
Bob Dylan, who had previously been known for folk music, gave a
controversial performance at the Newport Folk Festival playing songs
with an electric guitar.
Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announced that the United
States would not "undertake all the defense of the free nations of the
world", beginning the Vietnamization of the war.
Pratibha Patil was sworn in as the first female president of
Wiktionary's word of the day:
(dated, rare) The view that all property should be in common ownership
and that no individual should benefit from private possession.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
If by politeness then is meant goodness, it is appreciated by me
as I trust it always has been, but if it is to mean the string of
ceremonies generally used for concealing ill nature, and which have been
found necessary to the existence of every society whose members are
wanting in self respect and morality, I detest it more than ever. My
prominent idea of a polite man is one who is nothing but polish. It is
an unenviable reputation. If there was anything else in him the polish
would never be noticed. He is a bad drawing finely worked up, and
Gérôme says that every attempt at finish on a bad design serves only
to make the work more contemptible.
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