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Mahagonny Songspiel (1927)

Text by Bertolt Brecht [and Elisabeth Hauptmann] (in German and English).

Synopsis
Song List
Performance Information
Recordings
Kim H. Kowalke, "Building Mahagonny: Some Guidelines"
Kim H. Kowalke, "Mahagonny: Einige Richtlinien"

Photo of original set

Set of original production, Baden-Baden, 1927.

Synopsis

There is no dialogue or character development. The songs, considered in order, tell a skeletal story similar to that of the opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. As renowned Weill scholar David Drew writes, "The fleshpots of Mahagonny attract many visitors, but prove disappointing and expensive; God orders the inhabitants to hell, but they revolt, claiming they are there already" (Kurt Weill: A Handbook (U. of California Press, 1987), p. 171).

Song list

I. Mahagonny-Song: ("Auf nach Mahagonny")
Alabama-Song ("Oh, show us the way to the next whisky-bar")
II. Mahagonny-Song ("Wer in Mahagonny blieb")
Benares-Song ("There is no whisky in this town")
III. Mahagonny-Song ("An einem grauen Vormittag")
Finale ("Aber dieses ganze Mahagonny")

Performance Information

Cast: Charlie (tenor), Billy (tenor), Bobby (bass), Jimmy (bass), Jessie (soubrette), Bessie (soubrette)
Orchestra: 2 cl (bass cl), alto sax; 2 tpt, tbn; piano, timp, perc; 2 vn.
Duration: 25 minutes
Critical edition: Kurt Weill Edition, Series I, Volume 3 (full score)
Published Editions: piano-vocal score, Universal Edition, UE 36629, based on the Kurt Weill Edition
old piano-vocal score, Universal Edition, UE 12889, edited by David Drew
Performance Rights and Rentals: USA, UK, BREV: EAMC
All other territories: UE
Authorized Translations: English -- Michael Feingold
Italian -- Emilio Castellani
First Production: July 17, 1927, Baden-Baden, Deutsches Kammermusikfest, Bertolt Brecht, dir., Ernst Mehlich, cond.

Guide to orchestration, territory abbreviations, and publishers' symbols.

Recordings

DGG 423 255-2 The London Sinfonietta, David Atherton, cond.
Turnabout TV 34675 (CD reissue: Vox CDX 5043) West Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Lukas Foss, cond.
London CD 430 168-2 RIAS Berlin Sinfonietta, John Mauceri, cond.
Capriccio CD 60 028 König Ensemble, Jan Latham-König, cond.