Wednesday’s History: February 17
Today, February 17, in history includes Madame Butterfly premiere, a Beetle record and author David Eggers telling his story, according to history.com.
Giacomo Puccini first saw the play Madame Butterfly in London, which is based on a John Luther Longs story. Puccini took two years, working with Italians Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica to make Madame Butterfly into an opera. Its first showing was in 1904.
The opera's story begins in Japan with an American soldier who weds and leaves a Japanese geisha, Madame Butterfly. It was not a hit. Puccini split the second act and some other changes. Madame Butterfly appeared in Brescia as a success. It went to New York in 1907.
Puccini first saw Aida in 1876. He wrote La Boheme in 1896 and Tosca in 1900. He was unable to finish Turandot after Madame Butterfly. He died in 1906.
The Volkswagen Beetle broke the Model T record in 1972, rolling the 15,007,034th vehicle off the assembly line. After 60 years, more than 21 million Beetles were produced. In 1927, 15 million Henry Ford's Model T's were produced in Detroit after the first in 1908.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler wanted a car that was affordable. Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche started to create such a car. They came up with Volkswagen, which means people's car. Production began after World War II.
The Volkswagen arrived in the U.S. However with its Nazi connection and small size, it was slow to catch on in 1950. The small size and bubble shape were also its selling point. The Beetle was revised in 1998 and the last one rolled off the line in 2003.
Dave Eggers was born in Boston and raised in Illinois. He dropped out of college after his parents died of cancer when he was 21, to care for his younger brother, Toph. They moved to California where Dave started a magazine.
In 2000, at 29 Eggers debuts "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2001. It is a memoir about raising his little brother that is funny, clever and a tearjerker.
Eggers also wrote "You Shall Know Velocity" in 2002 about traveling friends giving away money. In 2009, "Zeitoun," a New Orleans resident who rescued people after Hurricane Katrina.
Eggers is the founder of a publishing company and helped establish some nonprofits.