Set partly in Newgate Prison and populated by a back-stabbing cast of con artists, highwaymen , corrupt jailers and prostitutes , the piece is an audacious blend of lowlife farce and high art, comedy and cruelty. Usage terms National Galleries of Scotland. At this time, there was a huge market for racy stories about daring criminals and highwaymen. This image shows Jonathan Wild being carried towards his execution at Tyburn.
The Beggar's Opera
The Beggar's Opera (Excerpts) Poem by John Gay - Poem Hunter
It is one of the watershed plays in Augustan drama and is the only example of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera to remain popular today. Ballad operas were satiric musical plays that used some of the conventions of opera, but without recitative. The lyrics of the airs in the piece are set to popular broadsheet ballads, opera arias, church hymns and folk tunes of the time. The Beggar's Opera premiered at the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre on 29 January  and ran for 62 consecutive performances, the second longest run in theatre history up to that time after performances of Robert Cambert 's Pomone in Paris in The piece satirised Italian opera , which had become popular in London.
Note: This is a longish post. As for the music, well, all I can say is that while some of the tunes are enduring and lovely,that has nothing to do with the composer involved. Nearly none of the music in the play is new , after all.
The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names. Gay was born in Barnstaple , England, and was educated at the town's grammar school. On leaving school he was apprenticed to a silk mercer in London, but being weary, according to Samuel Johnson , "of either the restraint or the servility of his occupation", he soon returned to Barnstaple, where he was educated by his uncle, the Rev.