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Kurt Weill: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

  • Opera in 3 acts (1930)
  • 2 1 1 2 - 2 3 2 1 - s.sax, alto sax, t.sax, timp, perc, pno, bass guit, bjo, band, str - on stage: zith, pno, 3 vl
  • Duration: 140’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+2ndpicc
    on stage)
    2nd flute (+1st picc
    on stage)
    clarinet in B and A (+on stage)
    soprano saxophone in Bb (+bar.sax(Eb)
    on stage)
    alto saxophone in Eb (+on stage)
    tenor saxophone in Bb (+on stage)
    1st bassoon (+on stage)
    2nd bassoon (+cbsn
    on stage)
    1st horn in F (+on stage)
    2nd horn in F (+on stage)
    1st trumpet in Bb (+on stage)
    2nd trumpet in Bb (+on stage)
    3rd trumpet in Bb
    1st trombone (+on stage)
    2nd trombone (+on stage)
    bass tuba (+on stage)
    percussion (+on stage)
    bass guitar
    banjo (+hawaii guit
    on stage)
    bandoneon (+on stage)
    piano (+harm ad lib.)
    double bass
    on stage: zither
    3 violins
  • Choir: SATB
  • Roles: Leokadja Begbick, mezzosoprano Fatty, tenore Dreieinigkeitsmoses, baritone Jenny Hill, soprano Jimmy Mahoney, tenore Jack O'Brien, tenore Bill, baritono Joe, basso Tobby Higgins, tenore six girls and the men from Mahagonny
  • Composer: Kurt Weill
  • Librettist: Bertolt Brecht

Work introduction

Kurt Weill wrote to UE in 1927, during his work on Mahagonny:

It is beyond question that at present a completely new kind of stage work is emerging, which addresses itself to a different and incomparably larger audience, and whose effect will proliferate in completely unaccustomed ways. This movement – whose most powerful proponent, in the field of theatre, is Brecht – has until now never encroached upon opera, even though music is one of its essential elements. The piece that we plan to write will not exploit contemporary events that will be obsolete in a year’s time, but give our own time a definitive form. Thus its effectiveness will extend far beyond the time of its creation. It is indeed a matter of creating the new genre that will deal with the utterly different expressions of life in our time in an appropriate form.


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Städtisches Theater, Leipzig (DE)
Gustav Brecher

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