For many years, Tony Simmons, president and CEO of the McIlhenny Company, knew that an opera about the company’s famous Tabasco sauce had been composed in 1894, but he had been unable to locate a copy of it. Enter Paul Mauffray.
“Some time around 2011 or 2012, Paul got in touch with me and let me know he had located the libretto, the music and the director’s notes,” Simmons said. “We were excited.”
Mauffray, a Slidell resident who has conducted throughout the U.S. and Europe, stumbled upon the “Tabasco” materials while exploring the archives of the New Orleans Opera Association. He reworked the full opera, composed by George W. Chadwick, and it will be performed for the first time in 124 years this weekend.
“Tabasco: A Burlesque Opera” is being staged at Le Petit Theatre from Thursday-Sunday with Mauffray conducting a 30-piece orchestra. The opera features a seven-member cast and the New Orleans Opera Chorus. The McIlhenny Company is underwriting the production and small sample bottles of their product will be distributed to audience members.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday to Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday or Sunday.
WHERE: Le Petit Theatre, 616 St. Peter St., New Orleans
INFO: (504) 529-3000. neworleansopera.org
To hear selections from “Tabasco,” go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN-XkNk68sg