The artist and the entertainers
Still, Mary Helen
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Composed by Emmanuel Chabrier in 1877, the opera L’Étoile quickly become fodder for “borrowing” by American and British musical comedy collaborators. An American adaptation by Woolson Morse, The Merry Monarch, was produced in 1890, and a British adaptation by Ivan Caryll, The Lucky Star, was produced in London in 1899. Each subsequent version is in no way simply a translation or reproduction of L’Étoile; these are adaptations in a broad sense, with little Chabrier left at all. It is the purpose of this thesis to demonstrate by means of this case study how the musical comedy genre and the popular music industry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made use of an established and canonic genre, opera, by investigating what is appropriated and what is not valued in this borrowing process.