Magazine article Opera Canada

Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

Magazine article Opera Canada

Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

Article excerpt

WEILL

Bel Air: BAC067

In his somewhat acrimonious and highly publicized 2008 departure from New-York City Opera, Gerard Mortier abandoned the stormy skies over Lincoln Centre for the sunnier climes around Madrid's Te-atro Real, where he's been General Director since September 2010. For his debut production there, he chose Kurt Weill's and Bertold Brecht's 1930 indictment of greedy capitalism.

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Although Weill wrote many incredible songs, he remains on the periphery of the opera repertoire because his music, simply put, is an acquired taste. While the popularity of "his Threepenny Opera in the repertoire is well deserved, the relative popularity of Mahagonny is more perplexing. Even Weill biographer Stephen Hinton describes it as an "awkward work." On the other hand, the piece has considerable resonance in today's world. Given the economic crisis facing parts of Europe, including Spain, the Sin City of Mahagonny, where money and pleasure rule, takes on a new reality. With opening night broadcast in HL) to more than 120 theatres around the world, Mortier scored a huge success with this gritty, edgy production by the innovative Catalan company La Fura dels Baus. The set consists of enormous piles of garbage, truckloads of landfill. …

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