At the den of Peachum, a receiver of stolen goods, he and his wife ponder the value of various rogues in their employ before turning their attention to the highwayman Captain Macheath, on whom their daughter Polly dotes. When Mrs Peachum and her husband charge her with having married Macheath she is forced to admit it. They console themselves with the prospect that he is likely to be impeached soon for his activities by them, if no-one else and Polly left a wealthy widow. At a tavern near Newgate Prison, a criminal gang assembles with a view to waylaying a coach on Hampstead Heath. Macheath warns them he must lie low for a while. With the others gone, a bevy of loose women enters to entertain him though, primed by Peachum, they are actually there to betray Macheath, who is handed over to the constables as the act ends.
The Beggar's Opera - Wikipedia
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. 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. Usage terms Public Domain Wild was one of the most famous lawbreakers of the period, and became a folk hero for his shameless manipulation of the legal system, which enabled him to move in legitimate circles while still controlling a vast network of criminal gangs. John Gay reimagines Wild as the corrupt thief-catcher, Peachum. In this play-within-a-play, one Peachum, a thief-catcher and fence for stolen goods, is horrified to discover that his daughter Polly has fallen in love with and secretly married his great rival, the highwayman Macheath a thinly veiled portrait of another celebrated real-life criminal called Jack Sheppard , whom Wild sent to the gallows.
The Beggar's Opera (arr. Frederic Austin)
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Like so many sequels it lacks the juices of the original. However, Gay was not prepared merely to copy slavishly his earlier success. Admittedly the formula was the same—a simple ballad opera with strong satirical overtones and popular airs, once more arranged by the admirable Dr. The score has now been realized, very attractively, by Mel Marvin. Yet the story was quite different and refreshingly original.