Mittwoch, 3. April 2024

Kurt Weill & Bert Brecht - Rise And Fall Of the City Of Mahagonny

In the 1920´s Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht worked togehter on the "song-play" "Mahagonny", based on poems taken from Brecht´s "Hauspostille". They interrupted adapting the song-play into a "Mahagonny" opera in May 1928 so that they could concentrate on a new version of the classical "Beggar´s Opera", which enjoyed its premiere performance as "The Threepenny Opera" in autumn 1928 in Berlin. The piece took the rest of Europa by storm and Brecht and Weill were alredy working on their next project - The "Mahagonny" opera.

This opera tells the story of three criminals (Leokadja Begbick, Trinity Moses and Fatty) creating the city of Mahagonny. Drinking, gambling, prize-fights and similar activities are the sole occupation of the inhabitants, and money rules. The implications for a society organized on such a value system is the overarching theme of the opera, which explores scenarios of greed, gluttony, lust, and a justice system in which a murderer can buy his way to freedom, but inability to pay a bill results in conviction and a death sentence.
There are only two main characters, Jenny, a prostitute, and Jim Mahoney, a lumberjack. Mahagonny is threatened by a hurricane at the end of Act 1, which despite much anticipation & causing much distress simply bypasses the city. In Act 2 following the hurricane nothing is forbidden and various scenes of debauchery occur. Jenny and Jim try to leave but Jim cannot pay his debts and is arrested. Another character arraigned for murder, bribes his way out of it, but Jim has no money and is condemned to death for not paying for his whisky. The opera ends with discontent destroying the city, which burns as the inhabitants march away.
The music uses a number of styles, including rag-time, jazz and formal counterpoint, notably in the "Alabama Song" (covered by The Doors and later David Bowie).
The lyrics for the "Alabama Song" and another song, the "Benares Song" are in English (albeit specifically idiosyncratic English) and are performed in that language even when the opera is performed in its original German language.

This opera enjoyed its premiere performance in 1930 as "The Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny". This event became one of the greatest theatre scandals in the history of the Weimarer Republic. Organized groups of Nazi troublemakers attended the performance and caused such tumultuous scenes that the performance could only be completed with the greatest of effort. The reaction of the right-wing press also made it clear that "Mahagonny" was not only considered an opera but also a political issue. Weill left Germany in 1933.

Kurt Weill & Bert Brecht - Rise And Fall Of the City Of Mahagonny pt 1
Kurt Weill & Bert Brecht - Rise And Fall Of the City Of Mahagonny pt 2
(192 kbps, cover art included)

3 Kommentare:

Il Commendatore hat gesagt…

Many thanks!

zero hat gesagt…

You are welcome!

Celsohare hat gesagt…

thanks a lot for share this treasure!

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