Your THIRD Step to Success!!!

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по английскому языку для студентов-гуманитариев

Just Train Your Brain -"All the world's a stage..."


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As it was written in Punch magazine of humor and satire, a pound in Victorian era could be spent in the following way:

"A pound dear father is the sum
That clears the opera wicket:
Two lemon gloves, one lemon ice,
Libretto and your ticket."

Lemon gloves could be a tribute to Victorian era fashion, but they could also be lemon-scented gloves that people held against their noses in order not to feel the unpleasant smells (sewage was not always properly disposed of). During Victorian era ice cream was often pressed into molds to produce elegant desserts, some of ice cream types had fillings, usually fruit – lemon ice cream might have been a popular dessert to eat in the opera. At that time it was fashionable to study the libretto and discuss operas, so it was important to keep one handy. And even in Victorian era you needed a ticket to see a performance.

Анна Даурских, МГТУ им. Баумана, Москва


London. 18th century. The evening.
The crowds of people in elegant costumes and evening dresses are gathering around Covent Garden’s Opera House. Guards with solemn air are welcoming the guests of Opera standing in the gateway. What a splendid view is in front of the theatre! Fops, ladies in festive attires, gentlemen dressed full fig… all are thronging near flower and fruit shops, strolling along the Piazza and talking over the forthcoming performance. What a striking contrast with the time of plague, poverty and stinking huts!
In florist’s sellers offer different flowers and lemon gloves. A very nice and fashionable purchase indeed: you make the experience of being part of an audience bearable for those who still paid heed to their sense of smell and make a contribution to the theatre’s atmosphere spreading lemon fragrance all over the place.
The performance will start soon and the guests are reserving their seats. The price for admission to boxes is 5 shillings, half a crown to the pit and the gallery cost 1 shilling. A very fashionable audience can pay 10 shillings to sit even on the stage.
In the hall there is still a big crowd in front of pre-performance food and drinks. How many palatable scents are hovering here! How many savoury desserts and snacks arouse appetite! Take for example lemon ice – a deliciously light sherbet which is really good to have in the stuffy theatre. Ah! I forgot to buy a libretto! In high life it is so fashionable to study it and discuss theatre life within tea hour.
The performance is about to start in a few minutes. I have to hurry up to take my seat…

Галина Коломиец, Южный Федеральный Университет (Ростов-на-Дону)


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When in 1728 John Rich, the father of pantomime, produced in his New Theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields “The Beggar’s Opera” by John Gay, the play ran so successfully that it was said that it “made Gay Rich and Rich gay”, meaning that the success enriched and gladdened both the author and the producer. Thus, the play on words, is based on the fact that “rich” and “gay” may be treated both as proper names and adjectives, depending on whether they are written in capital or small letters.
In the end, the success of “The Beggar’s Opera” allowed Rich to open the new theater at Covent Garden, and Gay’s play influenced all later British stage comedies. Besides, it can be lawfully called “the grandfather” of the modern musical.

Григорий Казаков, Московский Государственный Университет им. Ломоносова


The first night of “The Beggar’s Opera” was a sheer magic! It was a mutual achievement of the two famous Johns of the time. The first one, John Gay, was the author of the play. The tremendous success of the opera made him very wealthy. Therefore "Gay became rich". This can also be proved by the fact that “The Beggar’s Opera” is considered to be the first recorded long running play which managed 62 successive performances at the Lincolns Inn Fields theatre in 1728.
The second one was John Rich. It was he who opened Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, now known as the Royal Opera House. He was the director and the manager of the play, which made him “gay”. For sure he had all the grounds to be happy as the success made him wealthy too. Moreover, it made him famous and won him a reputation of the most successful theatre manager.

Виктория Климова, Ульяновский Государственный Университет



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NB! Whilst making your mini-investigations, you could take advantage of our page of sources and useful links.

As always there are people without whose help this project would not have been possible.
We are particularly grateful to Mr. Anthony Johns who kindly agreed to take part in creating these video-questions!