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.
October 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 82 days remaining until the end of the year.
Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy and the play of the same name which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Rainbow Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.
Originally conceived by Gershwin as an “American folk opera”, Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers-a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose African American Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.
The work was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976, when the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s complete score established it as an artistic triumph. Nine years later the Metropolitan Opera gave their first performance of the work. This production was also broadcast as part of the ongoing Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some critics from the outset have considered it a racist portrayal of African Americans.
“Summertime” is by far the best-known piece from the work, and countless interpretations of this and other individual numbers have also been recorded and performed. The second best-known number is “It Ain’t Necessarily So“. The opera is admired for Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.
Porgy and Bess tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black beggar living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina. It deals with his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life, the drug dealer. Where the earlier novel and stage-play differ, the opera generally follows the stage-play.
The Porgy and Bess original cast recording was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress, National Recording Registry in 2003. The board selects songs on an annual basis that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
On July 14, 1993, the United States Postal Service recognized the opera’s cultural significance by issuing a commemorative 29-cent postage stamp, and in 2001 Porgy and Bess was proclaimed the official opera of the State of South Carolina.
19 AD – Roman general Germanicus suddenly dies in Antioch under mysterious circumstances. Roman historian Tacitus records that Germanicus was poisoned by Syrian Governor Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso under orders from Roman emperor Tiberius.
680 – Battle of Karbala: Hussain bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, is decapitated by forces under Caliph Yazid I. This is commemorated by Muslims as Aashurah.
732 – Battle of Tours: Near Poitiers, France, the leader of the Franks, Charles Martel and his men, defeat a large army of Moors, stopping the Muslims from spreading into Western Europe. The governor of Cordoba, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, is killed during the battle.
1471 – Battle of Brunkeberg in Stockholm: Sten Sture the Elder, the Regent of Sweden, with the help of farmers and miners, repels an attack by Christian I, King of Denmark.
1575 – Battle of Dormans: Roman Catholic forces under Duke Henry of Guise defeat the Protestants, capturing Philippe de Mornay among others.
1580 – After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads over 600 Irish and Papal soldiers and civilians at Dun an Oir, Ireland.
1582 – Because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar this day does not exist in this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
1631 – A Saxon army takes over Prague.
1780 – The Great Hurricane of 1780 kills 20,000-30,000 in the Caribbean.
1845 – In Annapolis, Maryland, the Naval School (later renamed the United States Naval Academy) opens with 50 midshipmen students and seven professors.
1860 – The original cornerstone of the University of the South is laid in Sewanee, Tennessee.
1868 – Carlos Cespedes issues the Grito de Yara from his plantation, La Demajagua, proclaiming Cuba’s independence
1911 – The Wuchang Uprising leads to the demise of Qing Dynasty, the last Imperial court in China, and the founding of the Republic of China.
1911 – The KCR East Rail commences service between Kowloon and Canton.
1913 – President Woodrow Wilson triggers the explosion of the Gamboa Dike thus ending construction on the Panama Canal.
1920 – The Carinthian Plebiscite determines that the larger part of Carinthia should remain part of Austria.
1933 – United Airlines Chesterton Crash: A United Airlines Boeing 247 is destroyed by sabotage, the first such proven case in the history of commercial aviation.
1935 – A coup d’etat by the royalist leadership of the Greek Armed Forces takes place in Athens. It overthrows the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and establishes a regency under Georgios Kondylis, effectively ending the Second Hellenic Republic.
1938 – The Munich Agreement cedes the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany.
1942 – The Soviet Union establishes diplomatic relations with Australia.
1943 – Double Tenth Incident in Japanese controlled Singapore
1944 – Holocaust: 800 Gypsy children are murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp.
1945 – The Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang signed a principle agreement in Chongqing about the future of post-war China. Later, the pact is commonly referred to as the Double-Ten Agreement.
1957 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after he is refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.
1957 – The Windscale fire in Cumbria, U.K. is the world’s first major nuclear accident.
1963 – France cedes control of the Bizerte naval base to Tunisia.
1964 – The opening ceremony at The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, is broadcast live in the first Olympic telecast relayed by geostationary communication satellite.
1967 – The Outer Space Treaty, signed on January 27 by more than sixty nations, comes into force.
1970 – Fiji becomes independent.
1970 – In Montreal, Quebec, a national crisis hits Canada when Quebec Vice-Premier and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte becomes the second statesman kidnapped by members of the FLQ terrorist group.
1971 – Sold, dismantled and moved to the United States, London Bridge reopens in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
1973 – Vice President of the United States Spiro Agnew resigns after being charged with federal income tax evasion.
1975 – Papua New Guinea joins the United Nations.
1985 – United States Navy F-14 fighter jets intercept an Egyptian plane carrying the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijackers and force it to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily where they are arrested.
1986 – An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale strikes San Salvador, El Salvador, killing an estimated 1,500 people.
1997 – An Austral Airlines DC-9-32 crashes and explodes near Nuevo Berlin, Uruguay, killing 74.
1998 – A Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises Boeing 727 is shot down by rebels in Kindu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 41 people.
2006 – The Greek city of Volos floods in one of the prefecture’s worst recorded floods.
2008 – The 10 October 2008 Orakzai bombing kills 110 and injures 200 more.
2009 – After having closed borders for about two hundred years, Armenia and Turkey sign protocols in Zurich, Switzerland to open their borders.
2010 – The Netherlands Antilles are dissolved as a country.