". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, January 29, 2018

Puuurfect for Mardi Gras Season -- “George W. Chadwick’s Tabasco: A Burlesque Opera”

     . . . .  In the Smithsonian Magazine online:

"Long-Forgotten Opera About Tabasco Sauce Heats Up Stage Again After Almost 125 Years

Thanks to some musical sleuthing, George W. Chadwick’s ode to the now ubiquitous hot sauce brand has been revitalized by the New Orleans Opera"

Cover art for sheet music from the original Tabasco opera, 1894. (Courtesy McIlhenny Company Archives)

Tonight [January 25th] the New Orleans Opera will revive the 124-year-old production for the first time in over a century as part of its 75th-anniversary season. Called “George W. Chadwick’s Tabasco: A Burlesque Opera,” the already sold-out production runs through January 28  [which was yesterday] at the La Petit Théâtre de Vieux Carré in New Orleans. The tongue-in-cheek burlesque opera promises to bring Chadwick’s artistic vision back to life with a full orchestra, chorus and cast of characters, including the protagonist, a hot-tempered grand Pasha, who threatens his personal chef after taking a bite of his dinner only to find it boring and bland. (A blind beggar quickly remedies the chef’s faux pas by selling him a mysterious liquid that turns out to be Tabasco sauce.)

This is how the opera came to be in the first place -- and it was Boston, not New Orleans that was responsible:
Interestingly, McIlhenny’s company had no involvement in the original making of the opera. In fact, Shane Bernard, the McIlhenny Company’s historian, says that a group of military cadets commissioned the production as a way to raise money to help build a new armory in Boston, and they ended up pulling out all the stops.
“These well-to-do cadets hired an actual composer and librettist to create the show,” says Bernard. “We don’t know how they came up with the idea, but what it does tell us is that by 1894 Tabasco must have been a household word, otherwise it wouldn’t have made sense to everybody and the opera would have needed an explanation, but clearly it didn’t.” 

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