I had a set of books at one time, borrowed by my mother, and sold in an estate sale after her death....(bad things happen). The books were in two volumes and written by Milton Cross who hosted the Texaco Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoons for decades. He signed them for me when I was 12 on my first real visit to NYC.
One of the operas discussed in the books was "The Silken Ladder" by Rossini. It was written in 1812. I hadn't thought of it until I ran into a pretty darn good performance on YouTube (below). The plot is
Dormont is the teacher and guardian of the beautiful Giulia, and he is determined that she will marry Blansac despite her continual rejection of his advances. The fact is that Giulia is already married to Blansac’s friend Dorvil, who every night is able to exercise his conjugal rights because Giulia lowers a ladder made of silk down to him from her bedroom window.
The opera opens in the morning. Owing to the attentions of Giulia’s cousin Lucilla, and the family servant, Germano, Dorvil has great difficulty making his escape by his usual method. Blansac is due to arrive at any minute in his quest to win Giulia’s love, but she has devised a scheme to divert his amorous attentions towards her cousin, who would make an excellent wife for him.
So I had a slight "aha" moment and found also, in 1812, The Brother's Grimm published "Rapunzel"; a German fairy tale as part of Children's and Household Tales. The Grimm Brothers' story is an adaptation of the fairy tale Persinette by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force originally published in 1698. Its plot has been used and parodied in various media and its best known line ("Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair"). "Rapunzel's story has striking similarities to the 10th-century AD Persian tale of Rudāba, included in the epic poemShahnameh by Ferdowsi. Rudāba offers to let down her hair from her tower so that her lover Zāl can climb up to her.
The Silken Ladder. Aha. I'll toss in some Bullwinkle first just to lighten the mood.