Quote of the Day – August 2, 2010
by FSM: QUOTE OF THE DAY
August 2, 2010
“I put together a comedy of manners set in the seraglio (harem). As a Spanish writer, I think I can criticize Mahomet (Mohammed) without scruples: straight away an envoy... from I don’t know where, arrives to complain that my verses cause offense in the Sublime Porte (the Ottoman capital), Persia, part of the Indian subcontinent, all of Egypt, the kingdoms of Barca (Ethiopia), Tripoli, Algeria and Morocco: and hey presto! My comedy is incinerated, to satisfy Mahometan princes of whom none, as far as I know, can even read, while they bruise our backs, calling us Christian dogs. Unable to destroy a man’s spirit, they wreak their revenge through physical abuse.”
- Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732 – 1799), in his play “Le Mariage de Figaro”, produced in 1783 (editor’s translation).
Three years after Beaumarchais had written the play, Mozart would use it as the base for his famous opera, the Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro). The original French version of the speech from Beaumarchais’ play can be found here. Another of Beaumarchais’ plays – the Barber of Seville, first staged in 1775 – would also inspire operas, the most famous being the version by Rossini, from 1816.
Trivia: The famous musical interlude from the movie The Shawshank Redemption is the Sull’Aria from Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” opera.