" Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
John Milton

Back in the day


Wagner's Parsifal Premiers in the Bayreuth Festival Theatre

Loosely based on Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival—the medieval epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival and his quest for the Holy Grail—Parsifal is a three-act opera by German composer Richard Wagner. The opera was first conceived in 1857 but not completed until 25 years later. It premiered in 1882 at the second Bayreuth Festival, where it was performed exclusively until 1903. What tradition has arisen among the audience at performances of Parsifal at Bayreuth?



Sargon of Akkad

Sargon of Akkad was a 24th-century BCE Mesopotamian king who established one of the first multiethnic and centrally ruled empires in history. His dynasty lasted approximately 160 years, and his vast territory extended from Elam to the Mediterranean Sea and included Mesopotamia, parts of modern-day Iran, Syria, and possibly portions of the Arabian Peninsula. An account of Sargon's early childhood from his purported autobiography closely resembles that of what religious figure?

Born on a day like today


George Bernard Shaw

Shaw was an Irish playwright and critic who revolutionized the Victorian stage, authoring more than 60 plays, including Man and Superman and Pygmalion, his comedic masterpiece. Nearly all of his works mix a vein of comedy with stern social commentary—on subjects including education, marriage, religion, government, and class privilege. Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 and is the only person to have received both it and what other award?

Last updated on Monday, 26th July 2010

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