John Fulljames brings a new production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s furiously impassioned operatic satire on consumerism to the Royal Opera House.
Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny tells the story of three criminals on the run who find they can go no further and found Mahagonny, a city of gold. The destitute and the disenchanted flock to Mahagonny, including prostitute Jenny and lumberjack Jim Mahoney with his three friends.
One of the most fruitful and shortest musical collaborations of the 20th century, Brecht and Weill enjoyed great success with Mahagonny Songspiel in 1927, which encouraged the pair to adapt it into a full-length opera.
However, progress stalled as the two men’s theories began developing in deeply divergent directions. While Brecht was eager to pursue the disjointed effect of his theories of epic theatre, Weill looked for ways to unify very different styles of music. Concerns from the publishers and, later, producers over the work’s ‘depravity’ further increased the disruption, leading to the riot at the opera’s premiere on 9 March 1930 that marked the beginning of the end of Weill’s career in Germany.
The troubled development of the piece adds to the work’s extraordinary power as one of the most unsettling and provocative of all operas.
The production is directed by the Royal Opera’s Associate Director of Opera, Fulljames, and features designs by Olivier Award winner Es Devlin (Don Giovanni, Les Troyens).
Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny is sung in English with surtitles.
Learn more about London operas within the West End.