It was on this date, February 24, 1893, the Italian librettist and composer Arrigo Boito was born. Boito is primarily remembered as librettist for Giuseppe Verdi’s operas “Otello” (1887) and “Falstaff” (1893), and for his own 1868 opera, “Mefistofele.” It was through “Mefistofele,” based on Goethe’s “Faust,” that Boito infuriated the Italian clergy through his frivolous treatment of religion – not the least for making the villain, the devil, into the most interesting character.
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Although the playwrights mock the William Jennings Bryan character, they are really focused on defending freedom of thought in a time of anti-communist hysteria.