In 1946, Gian-Carlo Menotti’s full-length opera, The Medium, premiered in New York at Columbia University. Actually, does opera count as popular culture? Sometimes it does, right? Definitely in this case I think. Anyway, The Medium told the story of a deaf mute medium who started out as a fraud, but then developed genuine abilities which destroyed her.
From the May 9, 1946 New York Times review: “Gian-Carlo Menotti’s two-act chamber opera, “The Medium,” given its premiere last night by Columbia University in Brander Matthews Hall, begins so badly that it seems hopeless. But by the end of the second act it has gripped the audience by means of its realistic musical theatre.”