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Mahagonny Songspiel

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

Work Details


25 minutes

First Performance

17 July 1927, Baden-Baden, Deutsches Kammermusikfest, Bertolt Brecht, dir., Ernst Mehlich, cond.

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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).

  • 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")

  • Cast

    • Singing Roles

      • Charlie (tenor)
      • Billy (tenor)
      • Bobby (bass)
      • Jimmy (bass)
      • Jessie (soubrette)
      • Bessie (soubrette)
  • Instrumentation

    • 2 Clarinets (bass cl)
    • Alto saxophone
    • 2 Trumpets
    • Trombone
    • Piano
    • Timpani, percussion
    • 2 Violins

  • English

    • Michael Feingold
  • Italian

    • Emilio Castellani

  • Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) 1930

    Epic opera in three acts. Text by Bertolt Brecht in collaboration with Kurt Weill, Elisabeth Hauptmann, and Caspar Neher.

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