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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Friday, April 3

Offenbach, Wagner and Satsuma in New York

Synopsis

In the 19th century, same as today, New Yorkers looking for fun had a lot to choose from. Can you blame them for being a little jaded, when, for example, on today's date in 1871, the options included these three musical offerings:

First: at Lina Edwin's Theater, a musical burlesque entitled "Pluto," an entertainment The New York Times billed as an "Anglicized and condensed" version of Jacques Offenbach's racy operetta, "Orpheus in the Underworld," with, as an added attraction, interpolated comic sketches and monologues by the show's star, the David Letterman of the day, the ever-popular comedian Mr. Lingard .

Second: for the more serious sort, the American staged premiere of Richard Wagner's opera, "Lohengrin," at the Stadt Theater. The Times noted that Wagner's opera was "brought out in Germany some 20 years earlier, but was unknown here in its entirety until now." A large audience showed up for the "entirety" of "Lohengrin," which lasted over four hours and ended around midnight.

Finally: at Broadway's Minstrel Hall, directly from Japan, twenty star performers from Satsuma's Japanese Circus Troupe offered "varied and interesting" entertainment in New York that night, including the amazing Mr. Yadunochi, who first smoked a pipe, then ate it, then smoked WITHOUT his pipe while playing on a flute and expelling smoke from that instrument, and, for his grand finale, concluded by reproducing, as the Times put it "the original pipe whole and unsullied." Now, THAT'S entertainment!

Music Played in Today's Program

Offenbach (arr. Rosenthal) Cancan, from Gaite Parisienne Montréal Symphony; Charles Dutoit, cond. London 430 718

Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883) Act 3 Prelude, fr Lohengrin Berlin Philharmonic; Daniel Barenboim , cond. Teldec 81791

Kozaburo Hirai Sonata Kazue Frances Asawa, flute; Kazue Kudo, koto Crystal 316

Additional Information

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