Feb 01 2011

On This Day in History February 1

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 333 days remaining until the end of the year (334 in leap years).

On this day in 1896, the opera La Bohème receives its premiere in Turin.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La Bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States, just behind another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. In 1946, fifty years after the opera’s premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This performance was eventually released on records and on Compact Disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor.

Origin of the story

According to its title page, the libretto of La bohème is based on Henri Murger‘s novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. Although usually called a novel, it has no unified plot. Like the 1849 play by Murger and Thèodore Barrière, the opera’s libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimi, ending with her death. Also like the play, the libretto combines two characters from the novel, Mimi and Francine, into a single Mimi character.

Much of the libretto is original. The main plots of acts two and three are the librettists’ invention, with only a few passing references to incidents and characters in Murger. Most of acts one and four follow the novel, piecing together episodes from various chapters. The final scenes in acts one and four, the scenes with Rodolfo and Mimi, resemble both the play and the novel. The story of their meeting closely follows chapter 18 of the novel, in which the two lovers living in the garret are not Rodolphe and Mimi at all, but rather Jacques and Francine. The story of Mimi’s death in the opera draws from two different chapters in the novel, one relating Francine’s death and the other relating Mimi’s.

The published libretto includes a note from the librettists briefly discussing their adaptation. Without mentioning the play directly, they defend their conflation of Francine and Mimi into a single character: “Chi puo non confondere nel delicato profilo di una sola donna quelli di Mimi e di Francine?” (“Who cannot detect in the delicate profile of one woman the personality both of Mimi and of Francine?”) At the time, the novel was in the public domain, Murger having died without heirs, but rights to the play were still controlled by Barrière’s heirs.

 1327 – Teenaged Edward III is crowned King of England, but the country is ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.

1411 – The First Peace of Thorn is signed in Thorn, Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights (Prussia).

1587 – The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island is established by the landing of Sir Walter Raleigh. This Colony would become known as the “Lost Colony”

1662 – The Chinese general Koxinga seizes the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.

1709 – Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

1713 – The Kalabalik or Tumult in Bendery results from the Ottoman sultan’s order that his unwelcome guest, King Charles XII of Sweden, be seized.

1790 – In New York City, the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.

1793 – French Revolutionary Wars: France declares war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

1796 – The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York.

1814 – Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupts, killing around 1,200 people, the most devastating eruption of the volcano.

1835 – Slavery is abolished in Mauritius.

1861 – American Civil War: Texas secedes from the United States.

1865 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1884 – The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.

1893 – Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.

1896 – The opera La boheme receives its premiere in Turin.

1897 – Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in South Korea, opens in Seoul.

1908 – King Carlos I of Portugal and his son, Prince Luis Filipe are killed in Terreiro do Paco, Lisbon.

1918 – Russia adopts the Gregorian Calendar.

1920 – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police begins operations.

1924 – The United Kingdom recognizes the USSR.

1942 – World War II: Josef Terboven, Reichskommissar of German-occupied Norway, appoints Vidkun Quisling the Minister President of the National Government.

1942 – World War II: U.S. Navy conducts Marshalls-Gilberts raids, the first offensive action by the United States against Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater.

1946 – Trygve Lie of Norway is picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.

1957 – Felix Wankel’s first working prototype DKM 54 of the Wankel engine runs at the NSU research and development department Versuchsabteilung TX in Germany

1958 – Egypt and Syria merge to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.

1960 – Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.

1965 – The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada is renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.

1968 – Vietnam War: The execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem by South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan is videotaped and photographed by Eddie Adams. This image helped build opposition to the Vietnam War.

1968 – Canada’s three military services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, are unified into the Canadian Forces.

1968 – The New York Central Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad are merged to form the ill-fated Penn Central Transportation.

1972 – Kuala Lumpur becomes a city by a royal charter granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

1974 – A fire in the 25-story Joelma Building in Sao Paulo, Brazil kills 189 and injures 293.

1974 – Kuala Lumpur is declared a Federal Territory.

1978 – Director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees the United States to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.

1979 – Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after her sentence is commuted by President Jimmy Carter.

1979 – The Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back to Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.

1982 – Senegal and the Gambia form a loose confederation known as Senegambia.

1989 – The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

1992 – The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal Disaster case.

1993 – Gary Bettman becomes the NHL’s first commissioner

1996 – The Communications Decency Act is passed by the U.S. Congress.

1998 – Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne became the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral.

2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

2004 – 251 people are trampled to death and 244 injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

2004 – Janet Jackson’s breast is exposed during the half-time show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, resulting in US broadcasters adopting a stronger adherence to Federal Communications Commission censorship guidelines.

2005 – King Gyanendra of Nepal carries out a coup d’etat to capture the democracy, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.

2009 – Johanna Siguroardottir is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay head of government in the modern world.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_1#Holidays_and_observances Holidays and observances

   * Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery (Mauritius)

   * Christian Feast Day:

         o Astina (Syrian Church)

         o Brigid, patron saint of Ireland

         o February 1 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

   * Federal Territory Day (Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, Malaysia)

   * Imbolc (Celtic Calendar)

   * National Freedom Day (United States)

   * The start of Black History Month (United States and Canada)

   * The start of LGBT History Month (United Kingdom)