Slippedisc, courtesy of Opera visions streams Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. This opera is a testament to the fertile but fraught collaboration between composer Kurt Weill and man of theatre Bertolt Brecht. Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is one of the great operas of the 20th century. Brecht might have resented the dominance of the music over the words but together they created a work with rich melody and unstoppable dramatic momentum. The expressionistic grotesque trial scene leads inexorably to the hit-tune finale where Mahagonny’s citizens stage mass demonstrations. Director Henning Brockhaus takes inspiration from artist Edward Hopper’s painting of mythical America. For him, the citizens of Mahagonny are a constant threatening presence, like the uneasy shadows in a Hopper’s painting which evokes the dystopia of rampant capitalism. Performance is from Teatro Regio di Parma in co-production with I Teatri di Reggio Emilia.
Singers include Christoperh Lemmings, Alisa Kolosova, Chris Merritt, Zoltan Nagy, and Nadja Mchantaf.
The Plot: in an imaginary American city, God consigns its licentious citizens to hell but they truculently reply that they are already there. Mahagonny ‘the city of nets’ is founded in the desert by three criminals on the run from the police. It is to be a city devoted to pleasure. The only god is money. So Jimmy Mahoney, the hedonistic lumberjack, is condemned to death for being unable to pay the bill for the whisky he has consumed.
Available from 30.April 2022 at 2000 CET/ 1900 London/ 1400 New York