The legendary Berliner Ensemble, founded by Brecht himself, and the Theater in der Josefstadt, the oldest still performing theater in Vienna, are debuting new productions of Die Dreigroschenoper during the upcoming 2021-22 season. We have the scoop on production details, just as theaters begin reopening performance halls to eager audiences.
A highly anticipated new production of Dreigroschenoper opens in August at the Berliner Ensemble, presented in the same theater where it first premiered in 1928. Directed by Barrie Kosky and conducted by Adam Benzwi, the new production supplants the long-running Robert Wilson production at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. (New York Times feature article here.)
“There is a surprising similarity to Berlin 1928 and today,” reflects Adam Benzwi, Music Director of the new production. “The humanity of The Threepenny Opera inspired me: the ambiguity of the lyrics and music: people trying to do the right thing in a hostile world. Melodies that want to be warm in a place that doesn’t allow that, rhythms that want to be happy when describing something terrible.”
This will be the fifth production of the Weill-Brecht-Hauptmann classic at Schiffbauerdamm since the world premiere, which features members of the Berliner Ensemble playing the iconic roles of Mackie (Nico Holonics), Polly (Cynthia Micas), Tiger Brown (Kathrin Wehlisch), and Jenny (Bettina Hoppe). Originally planned for January 2021 but postponed due to the pandemic, Dreigroschenoper opens Berliner Ensemble’s next season on 13 August, with two previews on 11 and 12 August. Find tickets and additional dates here.
More exciting news this year: Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny returns to the stage of the Komische Oper Berlin on 2 October in a new production directed by Barrie Kosky – perhaps the first time that one director will have productions of both Dreigroschenoper and Aufstieg running simultaneously in the same city. Kosky will also team with Katharine Mehrling for two performances of their all-Weill recital at Komische Oper on 5 September and 24 October.
The Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna will open its new production of Dreigroschenoper in September after previewing to sold-out houses in June. This major staging springs from the same creative team that mounted Lenya Story in 2017 in the same Kammerspiele theater: director Torsten Fischer, music director Christian Frank, and Dramaturg Herbert Schäfer. Watch the video trailer here.
Adam Benzwi and Barrie Kosky (right) rehearsing at the Berliner Ensemble with Kathrin Wehlisch (Tiger-Brown) and Denis Riffel (Filch) | Photo by Jörg Brüggemann
Macheath (Nico Holonics) and Polly (Cynthia Micas) in the Berliner Ensemble production | Photo by Jörg Brüggemann
Claudius von Stolzmann (Macheath), Switntha Gersthofer (Polly), and ensemble in the Theater in der Josefstadt production | Photo by Moritz Schell
Claudius von Stolzmann (Macheath) and Switntha Gersthofer (Polly) in the Theater in der Josefstadt production | Photo by Moritz Schell