Definition of The Beggar's Opera from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


The Beggar's Opera

; NAmE
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an opera (1728) by John Gay, in which the songs are set to the popular tunes of the time. The main character is Macheath, a highwayman (= a person who robs travellers), and many of the other characters are criminals. The opera was written as a humorous comment on the dishonest government of the day. The Threepenny Opera (1928) by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill was based on The Beggar's Opera.