Staatsschauspiel Dresden
Adapts Die Dreigroschenoper
With Eye to Contemporary Relevance

Jannik Hinsch as Macheath, in the new production of Die Dreigroschenoper
from director Volker Lösch at Staatsschauspiel Dresden. Photo: Sebastian Hoppe

Director Volker Lösch is well-known for productions that engage energetically with the politics of the day. In collaboration with author Lothar Kittstein and dramaturg Jörg Bochow, Lösch has premiered at Staatsschauspiel Dresden a reframing of Die Dreigroschenoper as a power struggle within the far-right of contemporary Germany. Rights holders of the work—including Brecht’s heirs, Suhrkamp Verlag, and the Kurt Weill Foundation—approved this radical adaptation of the spoken text on the condition that lyrics and music remain untouched in their original form.

Critical reaction to the Dresden production has provoked strong, if contradictory, feelings. Some evaluated the result as, in the words of Sebastian Thiele of the Sächsische Zeitung, “an impressive artistic and political evening of theater in the spirit of Brecht.” There were strong counter-voices, however, including Michael Laages in Die Deutsche Bühne, who asked: “Did Brecht really deserve this? No. At least as shocking and horrible as the staging is the exuberant cheering in the hall.”

The national news magazine Spiegel ran a major article on the production just before the opening. Author Wolfgang Höbel suggested that the radical changes made to Dreigroschenoper by Lösch’s production were a kind of “test run” of conditions after 2026, the seventieth anniversary of Brecht’s death and the point at which copyright on some of his works will expire in some territories. The article correctly identifies Elisabeth Hauptmann as a “co-author” of Dreigroschenoper. Her death in 1973 ensures copyright protection of the entire work through at least 2043 in Germany, the European Union, and many other countries worldwide. (For a summary of the complexities of copyright involved in Weill’s catalog, read more here.)


Julia Bullock at the Park Avenue Armory
Soprano Julia Bullock is widely known to have a special gift for interpreting Weill’s songs, which featured again on her September recital program at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Joshua Barone of the New York Times praised her performance as “communicating swaths of feeling and meaning across two centuries of not art songs per se, but artful songs, making a case for the shared DNA of lieder, blues, the avant-garde, Broadway, radio hits and spirituals.” (Photo: Maria Baranova.)

Harry Smith’s Mahagonny
at the Whitney Museum
The nature and range of Harry Smith’s creative and intellectual output resist all categorization. The same goes for his film Mahagonny, which matches a complete recording of Weill’s opera with a mysteriously ordered, multi-dimensional cascade of images related to New York City in the 1970s. The film is featured as part of a major exhibit on Smith’s work, now showing at the Whitney Museum.


Julia Koci Awarded for Lady


Julia Koci earned raves from the press for her star turn as Liza Elliott in Lady in the Dark at the Vienna Volksoper. In September, a jury of press and theater professionals representing the Österreichischer Musiktheaterpreis made the accolade official by awarding her the Special Prize of the Jury to recognize her standout performance. (Photo: Petra Moser)

An Opening and a Release
To coincide with the opening of a run of thirty-two instantly sold-out performances at the Comédie-Française in Paris, Alpha Classics has released a cast recording (available as CD, LP and digital download)  and DVD from the Thomas Ostermeier production of L’Opera de quat’ sous (Threepenny Opera). The production opened the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in July, garnering an avalanche of press attention and special acclaim for the new French translation by Alexandre Pateau.


for the 2024 Lenya Competition,
with a top prize of $25,000.
Read the complete guidelines here.

for Weill Foundation Grants Program.
Read the complete guidelines here.

Featured Upcoming Events

3 November – Tom Sawyer
Oper Graz (Tobias Ribitzki, director; Kai Tietje, conductor)

A new family opera reimagined by John von Düffel out of songs by Weill, Tom Sawyer created a stir when premiered earlier this year by Komische Oper Berlin. It continues its progress into the repertoire with a production this season in Graz, directed by Tobias Ribitzki. Kai Tietje, who orchestrated the new song arrangements based on Weill’s own 1940s sound palette, conducts. (Twelve further performances through June 2024.)

2 December – Die Dreigroschenoper
Swedish National Theater (Sofia Adrian Jupither, director; Sebastian Ring, music director)

“A musical gala performance in honor of capitalism” is the descriptive tagline for this new Swedish production of Dreigroschenoper, directed by Sofia Adrian Jupither and musically led by Sebastian Ring. (Twelve further performances through 31 December.)

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