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TABASCO SAUCE?? The subject of a new production of an old opera –

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

By Jennifer
January 25, 20181.9K28232.1K

Back in 1894, a traveling comic opera drew crowds to theaters across America. They came to listen to witty lyrics and catchy tunes about… Tabasco. Yes, the ubiquitous peppery hot sauce brand. Called the “Burlesque Opera of Tabasco,” the show quickly became an overnight sensation (it did, after all, feature a giant papier-mâché Tabasco bottle and the verse “Turn out the town, boys drink it down, hail to the Peer of Tabasco”). Due to alleged conflicts between composer George W. Chadwick and producer Thomas Q. Seabrooke, however, after the opera’s initial run, it faded into obscurity and was largely forgetten about—until now.

Tonight, 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 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.)


Thanks to Kathy Waller who posted this in HOTSHOTS, the newsletter of Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter.

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