1920, May 12 – DEBUT OF “MILONGUITA”

The play was a disaster and the audience whistled and stomped their feet to signal their displeasure….it’s author Samuel Linnig, impeccably attired, cane in hand and with his customary aplomb ascended the stage, calmly strode to the center, turned to the audience and said, “To those that have applauded, I tender my sincere gratitude; to those that have whistled, it is clear that you are total idiots”….that night he had to disguise himself with a false beard to leave the theater to avoid the angry crowd waiting for him outside…it was May 12, of 1920, the play was “Delikatessen Hauss”, the company was Vittone-Pomar and the theater was the Opera Theater of Buenos Aires….Samuel Linnig had had two other plays which had failed; one, “The Man Who Pretends To Be Mayor” had created a scandal and had been censured by the authorities…”Delikatessen Hauss” had one peculiarity however; singer Maria Esther Podestà had debuted the tango “Milonguita” which Linnig had written with the music of Enrique Delfino

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“Milonguita” grabbed the imagination of the people of  Buenos Aires and then Argentina and then the world; it is one of the most popular and beloved tangos in history  and its popularity continues unabated to our very day…Samuel Linnig was born in Montevideo to a Spanish basque mother and a Belgium father who was a businessman…he was charming and highly cultured, beguiling audiences with lectures on music and history…he was, as well, a critic and poet for the prestigious “Nosotros” magazine….but the truth is that he neglected everything in his life for his one passion, gambling; he squandered his time and his money betting on anything; he was partly the inspiration for the film “Mercado de Abasto”…one evening, he went missing from the performance of one of his plays; concerned friends found him at home bedridden with a scorching fever…they rushed him to the hospital where, as the story goes, apparently semi-conscious, he suddenly looked up, smiled, pointed to the number “13” on the door and said, “I have to bet on that”…it was however his last bet, for a few hours later, at the age of thirty-seven he passed away but forever immortalized by his tango “Milonguita”

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  1. May 13th, 2011

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