Universal Edition - Kurt Weill – The Threepenny Opera

Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill
The Threepenny Opera

Year of composition: 1928
Subtitle: Play with music
Version: based on the text of the Kurt Weill Edition
Composer: Kurt Weill
Edited by: Edward Harsh; Stephen Hinton
Text Source: "The Beggar's Opera" (engl.)
Text Author: François Villon; Joseph Rudyard Kipling
Librettist: Bertolt Brecht
Translator: Elisabeth Hauptmann; Michael Feingold; Karl Anton Klammer
Parts: Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum, head of a gang of beggars
Mrs. Peachum
Polly Peachum, their daughter
Macheath, head of a gang of crooks
Brown, Chief of London Police
Lucy, his daughter
Macheath's gang, street bandits: Walt Dreary, Crook Finger Jack, Matt of the Mint, Sawtooth Bob, Ed, Jimmy
Filch, one of Peachum's beggars
Jenny Diver, a whore
Smith, a police constable
Reverend Kimball
Beggars, Whores (Dolly, Betty, Vixer, Molly, and others), Policemen
Instrumentation: 0 0 0 0 - 0 1 1 0 - sop.sax(Bb), alto sax(Eb), bar.sax(Eb), t.sax(Bb), bjo, harm, timp
Instrumentation details:
alto saxophone in Eb (+fl
tenor saxophone in Bb (+cl(Bb)
trumpet in C
trombone (+cb)
banjo (+band
hawaii guit
timpani (+perc)
harmonium (+pno
Table of Contents:
1. Ouvertüre
Vorspiel: 2. Die Moritat von Mackie Messer
1. Akt, 1. Bild: 3. Morgenchoral des Peachum
4. Anstatt daß-Song
2. Bild: 5a. Hochzeitslied (unbegleitet)
5b. Hochzeitslied (unbegleitet)
6. Seeräuberjenny
A6. Seeräuberjenny (zusätzliche Strophe)
7. Kanonensong
5c. Hochzeitslied
8. Liebeslied
3. Bild: 9. Barbarasong
10. Erstes Dreigroschenfinale
10. Erstes Dreigroschenfinale
2. Akt, 4. Bild: 11. Melodram
A11. Pollys Lied
Ax1. Die Ballade von der sexuellen Hörigkeit
5. Bild: 12. Zuhälterballade
A12. Zuhälterballade (zusätzliche Strophe)
6. Bild: 13. Ballade vom angenehmen Leben
14. Eifersuchtsduett
A14. Eifersuchtsduett (zusätzliche Strophe)
15. Zweites Dreigroschenfinale
3. Akt, 7. Bild: 16a. Lied von der Unzulänglichkeit menschlichen Strebens
16b. Reminiszenz

Scenery: 8
Remarks: based on the text of the critically edited full score, Kurt Weill Edition, Ser. I, Vol. 5
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Audio Excerpt

Die Dreigroschenoper

World Première

Location: Berlin / Germany
Date: 31.08.1928
Conductor: Theo Mackeben
Scenery: Erich Engel
Remarks: venue: Theater am Schiffbauerdamm

Work Introduction

The idea for the Dreigroschenoper [“Threepenny Opera”] came from Elisabeth Hauptmann, Bertolt Brecht’s widely-read employee, who had heard of the enormous success of the 1920 revival of John Gay’s old English Beggar’s Opera (music by John Christopher Pepusch) at London’s Lyric Theatre. She made a rough translation of Gay’s text for Brecht, and it became one of his many current projects.

Brecht was intrigued by the story, set in a milieu of beggars, whores and thieves; it seemed the perfect form in which to cast his criticism of the bourgeoisie. In adapting it, he transferred the action to the Victorian era of the 19th century and turned Gay’s “disguised critique of public disgrace” into a “public critique of disguised disgraces,” in Werner Hecht’s phrase. “It no longer aims at the cream of society; it strikes out at ‘normal bourgeois existence,’ as it were.”

Not a note had been written yet when Brecht was introduced to the idea; he made it a condition of accepting the commission from Josef Aufricht that Kurt Weill should compose the music. Time was scarce, so Brecht and Weill travelled with their wives in May 1928 to southern France, where they could work undisturbed.

The opera was finished in late July and rehearsals began early the next month for the premiere performance on 31 August at Berlin’s Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, where it was a colossal success. By contrast, the first American performance, on Broadway in 1933, was an outright failure, due to a poor translation and inadequate staging; it closed after 12 performances.

Lotte Lenya played Jenny in the 1956 revival, an adapted version by Marc Blitzstein at a Greenwich Village theatre, where it played for over 2000 performances. Today, the Dreigroschenoper is one of the most frequently produced musical dramas of the 20th century.

(Partially taken from Jürgen Schebera, Kurt Weill, Deutsche Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1990, pp. 90 et seq.)

Piano reduction – The Threepenny Opera

This sheet music edition comprises the newly edited piano reduction of Kurt Weill's and Bertolt Brecht's world famous "Threepenny Opera" from 1928.

  • Edition type: piano reduction
  • Edition info: According to the text of The Kurt Weill Edition.
  • Language: German; English
  • UE31544
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-2595-1
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-06358-9
EUR 54,95

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Study score – Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera)

  • for voices, choir and orchestra
  • Edition type: study score
  • Edition info: Based on the Critical Edition
  • Language: German
  • UE32992
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-3021-4
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-07732-6
EUR 56,50

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Study score – The Threepenny Opera

  • for voices, choir and orchestra
  • Edition type: study score
  • Edition info: Based on the Critical Edition
  • Series: Neue Studienpartituren-Reihe
  • Language: German
  • UE34304
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-6672-5
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-08029-6
EUR 77,50

Prices incl. VAT plus shipping costs

Pay by credit card, PayPal and direct bank transfer (in some countries)

Future Performances

Location: Schauspielhaus, Zürich (CH), Conductor: Polina Lapkovskaja

Location: Schauspielhaus, Zürich (CH), Conductor: Polina Lapkovskaja

Location: Schauspielhaus, Zürich (CH), Conductor: Polina Lapkovskaja

Location: Schauspielhaus, Zürich (CH), Conductor: Polina Lapkovskaja

Location: Theater Basel, Grosse Bühne, Basel (CH), Orchestra: Basel Sinfonietta, Conductor: Johannes Kalitzke

show all preformances

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