Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht developed their opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny from the Mahagonny Songspiel, which they had written together for the Festival of German Chamber Music in Baden-Baden. The conductor Otto Klemperer turned down the world première at the Berlin Krolloper, where it was originally scheduled to take place, and the première took place on 30 March 1930 in Leipzig, accompanied by tumultuous scenes in the audience.
The story of the City of Mahagonny, in which a person with no money has no value and where only things that can be bought are seen as real, harks back to the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah from the Old Testament. However, in Mahagonny the all-destroying catastrophe and the fall of the city are not some kind of ‘punishment’ from outside, but rather an ‘error’ in the system itself. Mahagonny couldn’t be more topical in this day and age.
The new production by Katharina Thalbach at the City Opera in Cologne took to the stage on 23 March, conducted by Lothar Koenigs, for a run of 10 performances.
The Threepenny Opera in Paris
The Comédie-Française is without a doubt one of the most important theatre stages in the world. Theatre and opera director Laurent Pelly, who designs his productions as if they were themselves musical scores, mixing the tragic with the burlesque, has now turned his hand to one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. The Threepenny Opera runs from 2 April until 19 July 2011.