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Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends.It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year.However, all that remains of Pepusch's score are the overture (with complete instrumentation) and the melodies of the songs with unfigured basses.Various reconstructions have been attempted, and a 1990 reconstruction of the score by American composer Jonathan Dobin has been used in a number of modern productions.The story satirised politics, poverty and injustice, focusing on the theme of corruption at all levels of society.Lavinia Fenton, the first Polly Peachum, became an overnight success.However, a week or so before the opening night, John Rich, the theatre director, insisted on having Johann Christoph Pepusch, a composer associated with his theatre, write a formal French overture (based on two of the songs in the opera, including a fugue based on Lucy's 3rd act song "I'm Like A Skiff on the Ocean Toss'd") and also to arrange the 69 songs.
Pepusch composed an overture and arranged all the tunes shortly before the opening night at Lincoln's Inn Fields on 28 January 1728.
The work took satiric aim at the passionate interest of the upper classes in Italian opera, and simultaneously set out to lampoon the notable Whig statesman Robert Walpole, and politicians in general, as well as such notorious criminals as Jonathan Wild, the thief-taker, Claude Duval, the highwayman, and Jack Sheppard, the prison-breaker.
It also deals with social inequity on a broad scale, primarily through the comparison of low-class thieves and whores with their aristocratic and bourgeois "betters." Gay used Scottish folk melodies mostly taken from the poet Allan Ramsay's hugely popular collection The Gentle Shepherd (1725) plus two French tunes (including the carol "Bergers, écoutez la musique!
It is one of the watershed plays in Augustan drama and is the only example of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera to remain popular today.
Ballad operas were satiric musical plays that used some of the conventions of opera, but without recitative.