Within a span of only seven weeks, Australia saw premieres of three productions featuring four major works by Kurt Weill, two in Melbourne and another in Sydney. All three received glowing reviews in the press.

Victorian Opera’s Happy End, part of the worldwide resurgence of the work in 2022, premiered on 23 March, directed by Matthew Lutton and conducted by Phoebe Briggs. The following week in Sydney, Red Line Productions opened its twenty-one-performance run of The Seven Deadly Sins paired with Mahagonny Songspiel. Director Constantine Costi has been joined by choreographer Shannon Burns in conceiving the double bill with the subtitle “A Tap Dance On The Edge Of The World.” Starting 1 May, the joint forces of Melbourne Opera and IOpera brought forth the first professional production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Australia in forty years. Employing the Jeremy Sams English translation, the production by director Suzanne Chaundy is conducted by Peter Tregear. All three productions were supported by the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Grant Program.

Here is just a sampling of press reactions:


Happy End
Victorian Opera
Matthew Lutton, director
Phoebe Briggs, conductor

Patricia Maunder – Limelight
“The joyfully nostalgic ‘Bilbao Song’ and heartbreaking ‘Surabaya Johnny’ in particular have long been cabaret staples, sung by everyone from Lotte Lenya to Bette Midler. This confident, accomplished Victorian Opera production directed by Matthew Lutton is a rare opportunity to experience those songs in their original context.”

Leila Lois – Arts Hub
“This popular musical opera production had the fun value of cabaret, with the guts of a gangster movie.”


“A Tap Dance On The Edge Of The World”
The Seven Deadly Sins / Mahagonny Songspiel
Constantine Costi, director
Shannon Burns, choreographer
Brian Castles-Onion, conductor

John Shand – The Sydney Morning Herald
“The sheer scale of the ambition is mind-boggling. Who’d dream of cramming seventeen musicians, six singers, a dancer and a conductor into this little crucible? Director Constantine Costi would, and it’s hard to imagine the works being done much better.”

Hugh Robertson – Limelight
“Margaret Trubiano as Anna I is marvelous, the strength and power of her voice hugely affecting, her facial expressiveness and diction giving depth and poignancy to her character. Although she barely says a word, Allie Graham as Anna II is captivating in her movements, presuming a mélange of styles in keeping with the genre soup of these works, part-ballet, part-cabaret, part Josephine Baker.”


Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
IOpera and Melbourne Opera.
Suzanne Chaundy, director
Peter Tregear, conductor

Leila Lois – Arts Hub

“Suzanne Chaundy directs a cast of spirited performers in an impressively current production of the 90-year-old opera…. She and the production team provoked us to consider the absurdity of it all by building the current socio-political context into the final scenes. Projections of recent bushfires, floods and protests are spun across the stage one after another. These images of national disasters, juxtaposed with the jubilant whooping chorus of ‘Life in Mahagonny’ are a hard-hitting and pivotal moment in the opera.”

Paul Selar – Limelight

“Weill’s fabulously expressive score is a melodious assortment of jazz, ragtime, music hall and cabaret, including a touch of operetta and even a slither of Wagnerian-like drama as the hurricane approaches. The music’s eclectic elements are bound in a fluidly harmonious whole and are, as is the performance, blessed by the exceptional vibrancy, precision and rhythmical vitality conductor Peter Tregear invokes from his 40-plus musicians.”