Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.M. in Music



First Advisor

Thomas Peattie

Second Advisor

Jos Milton

Third Advisor

Amanda J. Johnston

Relational Format



Until recently George Whitefield Chadwick’s burlesque opera Tabasco (1894) had been largely forgotten. In 2018, however, conductor Paul Mauffray completed a reconstruction of Tabasco that has brought renewed attention to this seldom heard work. Set to a libretto by Robert Ayres Barnet, Tabasco was commissioned as the third in a series of comic operas by the Boston Men’s Army Cadets as fundraiser for the construction of a new armory. This thesis explores the history of Tabasco from its inception through the national tour produced by Thomas Q. Seabrooke’s Comic Opera Company, which would eventually lead to the withdrawal of the work by its creators. As a result of the multiple changes the work has undergone, it is often difficult to establish authorship with respect not only to the presence of added material, but also in terms of what Chadwick and Barnet approved. During the initial production of the work, additional musical numbers were added at the behest of the producer, Thomas Q. Seabrooke. These numbers mentioned in programs from the professional tour attribute “Lola’s Song” to composer Ludwig Engländer. Although, an examination of the source material provides overwhelming evidence to suggest it was composed by Chadwick with lyrics by Barnet. While the work was popular with audiences, Seabrooke failed to pay the required royalties which led to Chadwick and Barnet threatening legal action. Seabrooke revised and opened the show as The Grand Vizier (1895), making few changes in the music and script, leading to his incarceration. Although short lived, Tabasco has a compelling history and might have become the cornerstone of an American musical repertoire had it survived. Although Barnet was no William S. Gilbert, the libretto speaks to the influence of Barnet’s Victorian predecessor.


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