Arts: This Was The Week That Was

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Today On this day in 1732 the first Covent Garden Opera House opened its doors; now it is defunct (a fate liable to overtake the current one). On this day in 1982, Hero was released. English-speaking audiences who suspected they had a problem with the accent were right: it was the first feature film in Gaelic.

Tomorrow 1660 saw a Shakespearean first: a female role was played by a woman instead of the usual young man, with a Mrs Norris taking the part of Desdemona.

Wednesday Sir Anthony van Dyck died in 1641. The Belgian-born portraitist came to London and was made "painter-in-ordinary", although really he was anything but.

Thursday The first night of Ubu Roi, the first drafts of which had been written by Alfred Jarry at 15, launched Theatre of the Absurd in 1896. The second night was a riot - literally. The curtain came down in mid- play.

Friday In 1987 a bowler hat and cane were auctioned at Christies for pounds 82,500, possibly because they had belonged to Charlie Chaplin.

Saturday In 1926 James Joyce began reading Finnegans Wake to his friends. As with the recent audio version, that did not necessarily make it more comprehensible. In 1955, Bill Haley and the Comets recorded the classic "See You Later Alligator".

Sunday In 1913 the Mona Lisa was discovered in a Florence bedroom. An Italian housepainter had been insulted as "a macaroni-eater" by some Frenchmen and had stolen the painting from the Louvre in revenge (as you do). The first concert in sign language was given in1989 by a deaf choir performing in unison with a male voice choir in West Glamorgan.