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Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Bertold Brecht • Livret: Bertold Brecht • Production originale: 0 version mentionnée
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Genèse: The Threepenny Opera was first performed at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin in 1928. Despite an initially poor reception, it became a great success, playing 400 times in the next two years. The performance was a springboard for one of the best known interpreters of Brecht and Weill's work, Lotte Lenya, who was married to Weill. In the United Kingdom, it took some time for the first fully staged performance to be given (9 February 1956, under Berthold Goldschmidt). There was a concert version in 1933, and there was a semi-staged performance on 28 July 1938. In between, on 8 February 1935 Edward Clark conducted the first British broadcast of the work. It received scathing reviews from Ernest Newman and other critics. But the most savage criticism came from Weill himself, who described it privately as "... the worst performance imaginable ... the whole thing was completely misunderstood". But his criticisms seem to have been for the concept of the piece as a Germanised version of The Beggar's Opera, rather than for Clark's conducting of it, of which Weill made no mention. The Threepenny Opera has been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times. A French version produced by Gaston Baty and written by Nicole Steinhof and André Mauprey was presented in October of 1930 at the Théâtre Montparnasse. It was rendered as L'Opéra de quat'sous; (quatre sous, or four pennies being the idiomatically equivalent French expression for Threepenny and, by implication, cut-price, cheap). Georg Wilhelm Pabst produced a German film version in 1931 called Die 3-Groschen-Oper, and the French version of his film was again rendered as L'Opéra de quat'sous. It has been translated into English several times. One was published by Marc Blitzstein in the 1950s and first staged under Leonard Bernstein's baton at Brandeis University in 1952. It was later used on Broadway. Other translations include the standard critical edition by Ralph Manheim and John Willett (1976), one by noted Irish playwright and translator Frank McGuinness (1992), and another by Jeremy Sams for a production at London's Donmar Warehouse in 1994. Broadway At least six Broadway and Off-Broadway productions have been mounted in New York. • The first, adapted into English by Gifford Cochran and Jerrold Krimsky and staged by Francesco Von Mendelssohn, featured Robert Chisholm as Macheath. It opened on Broadway at the Empire Theatre, on April 13, 1933, and closed after 12 performances. The brevity of the run has been attributed to the stylistic gap between the Weill-Brecht work and the typical Broadway musical during a busy and vintage period in Broadway history. • In 1956, Lotte Lenya won a Tony Award for her role as Jenny in Blitzstein's somewhat softened version of The Threepenny Opera, which played Off-Broadway at the Theater de Lys in Greenwich Village for a total of 2,707 performances. Blitzstein had translated the work into English; Lenya, Weill's wife since the 1920s, had sung both Jenny and Polly earlier in Germany. The production showed that musicals could be profitable Off-Broadway in a small-scale, small orchestra format. This production is also notable for having Edward Asner (as Mr Peachum), Charlotte Rae as Mrs Peachum, Bea Arthur (as Lucy), Jerry Orbach (as PC Smith, the Street Singer and Mack), John Astin (as Readymoney Matt/Matt of the Mint) and Jerry Stiller (as Crookfinger Jake) as members of the cast during its run. • A nine-month run in 1976 had a new translation by Ralph Manheim and John Willett for the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, with Raúl Juliá as Macheath, Blair Brown as Lucy, and Ellen Greene as Jenny. The cast album from this production was re-issued in compact disc in 2009. • A 1989 Broadway production, billed as 3 Penny Opera, translated by Michael Feingold starred Sting as Macheath. Its cast also featured Georgia Brown as Mrs Peachum, Maureen McGovern as Polly, Kim Criswell as Lucy, KT Sullivan as Suky Tawdry and Ethyl Eichelberger as the Street Singer. Sting famously grew a thin moustache for the role, and when it closed after 65 performances he shaved it off onstage with a straight razor. • Liberally adapted by playwright Wallace Shawn, the work was brought back to Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre Company in March 2006 with Alan Cumming playing Macheath, Nellie McKay as Polly, Cyndi Lauper as Jenny, Jim Dale as Mr Peachum, Ana Gasteyer as Mrs Peachum, Carlos Leon as Filch, Adam Alexi-Malle as Jacob and Brian Charles Rooney as a male Lucy. Included in the cast were drag performers. The director was Scott Elliott, the choreographer Aszure Barton, and, while not adored by the critics, the production was nominated for the "Best Musical Revival" Tony award. Jim Dale was also Tony-nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The run ended on June 25, 2006. • The Brooklyn Academy of Music presented a production directed by Robert Wilson and featuring the Berliner Ensemble for only a few performances in October 2011. The play was presented in German with English supertitles using the 1976 translation by John Willett. The cast included Stefan Kurt as Macheath, Stefanie Stappenbeck as Polly and Angela Winkler as Jenny. The Village Voice gave the production a savage review, writing: West End (London) • Empire Theatre, 13 April 1933. • Royal Court Theatre, 9 February 1956. • Prince of Wales Theatre and Piccadilly Theatre, 1972 • Donmar Warehouse, 1994. With a new lyric translation by Jeremy Sams. This version was recorded onto CD with Tom Hollander as Macheath and Sharon Small as Jenny.
Création: 31/8/1928 - Theater am Schiffbauerdamm (Berlin) - représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Bertolt Brecht • François Villon • Livret: Bertolt Brecht • Production originale: 16 versions mentionnées
Dispo: Résumé Génèse Liste chansons
Mendiants, voleurs, putains... plongée haute en couleurs dans les bas-fonds de Soho vers 1900, où brigands et bourgeois s’exploitent, rêvent et s’encanaillent. Peachum, qui fait de la pauvreté son fonds de commerce, s’enrichit sur le dos de faux mendiants s’évertuant à éveiller la compassion des passants.
Genèse: Fin 1927 Elisabeth Hauptmann traduit le Beggar's Opera () de John Gay (créé à Londres 200 ans auparavant, en 1728). Mars 1928 L’acteur Ernst Josef Aufricht, nouveau directeur du Theater am Schiffbauderdamm, demande à Brecht une création pour l’inauguration de la saison 1928/1929. Brecht propose l’adaptation du Beggar’s Opera (). Printemps 1928 Brecht travaille la traduction et l’adaptation du Beggar’s Opera () avec Elisabeth Hauptmann. Des titres envisagés puis rejetés: Racaille ou Les assassins sont parmi nous. Mai-Juin 1928 Brecht et Weill travaillent ensemble dans le Sud de la France. Mise au point du texte et de l'essentiel de la musique. 10 août Début des répétitions. 31 août 1928 Création (Theater am Schiffbauerdamm). Succès considérable. La pièce sera jouée continûment pendant plus d'un an. Octobre 1928 Première version imprimée du texte. Publication d'une édition séparée des songs (Les songs de l'Opéra de quat'sous). 1929 Première interprétation publique de la suite orchestrale Kleine Dreigroschen-Musik de Kurt Weill (au Berliner Staatsoper). 1931-1932 Remaniement de plusieurs chanson et corrections importantes (notamment l'ajout de Happy end). 1933-1934 Le Roman de quat'sous 1938 L'Opéra de quat'sous est remanié pour le volume 1 des Oeuvres réunies (éditions Malik, à Londres). 1948-1949 Nouvelle version de quelques scènes. 1949 Parution de nouveaux textes de chansons et textes réécrits entre 1946 et 1948. 1955 (25 octobre) En prévision d'une production de L'opéra de quat'sous au Piccolo Teatro de Milan, rencontre entre Bertolt Brecht et Giorgio Strehler. Leur entretien à propos de l'oeuvre et de sa mise en scène sera publié (notamment dans la revue Théâtre en Europe, en 1986). Brecht assistera à la première de cette production, en février 1956, quelques mois avant sa mort. «Strehler demande si Brecht pourrait proposer des moyens capables de donner en 1955 à L'Opéra de quat'sous la même force artistique et la même force critique qu'en 1928. Brecht répond qu’il rendrait plus aigus et plus mauvais les masques des criminels. Il faudrait sans doute chanter aussi bien que possible les chansons romantiques, mais en soulignant au maximum l’artifice et le mensonge de « cette tentative de création d'une île romantique où tout serait encore harmonieux».»
Résumé: Acte I Dans son "vestiaire à mendiants ", Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum reçoit la visite du jeune Charles Filch, un mendiant que ses hommes ont rossé la veille au motif qu’il officiait sans l’accord de la société Peachum. Filch est engagé par Peachum, qui lui explique son métier. Arrive Célia, l'épouse de Peachum : celui-ci s’inquiète car sa fille Polly, amoureuse, pourrait échapper à l'emprise paternelle. Il comprend que le prétendant de Polly n'est autre que Mackie le Surineur. Et s'inquiète : Polly n’est toujours pas rentrée à la maison. Dans une écurie, mariage de Polly et Mackie, en présence de la bande de Mackie. Cadeaux, chansons. Arrive le shérif Brown, ami de Macheath ; celui-ci le présente à ses hommes. Chez Peachum. Polly avise ses parents qu’elle est l’épouse de Macheath. Peachum se désole de la perte de revenus qu’entraîne ce départ. Arrivent cinq mendiants qui se plaignent, – Peachum en renvoie deux. Dispute entre Polly et ses parents : ceux-ci annoncent qu’ils vont dénoncer Macheath au shérif, Tiger Brown. Acte II Polly apprend à son mari que Brown et Peachum ont décidé de l’arrêter. Macheath doit partir. Il met Polly au courant de ses affaires, l'informe de la liquidation prochaine de sa société et de ses associés. Arrivée de la bande : ils acceptent Polly comme chef. Départ de Macheath : séparation lyrique, il promet de ne pas tromper son épouse. De son côté, Jenny des Lupanars accepte, pour 10 shillings promis par Madame Peachum, de dénoncer Macheath. Arrivée impromptue de Macheath au bordel de Jenny. Première arrestation de Macheath (par Jenny et le shérif Brown). En prison : Brown se désespère de devoir faire souffrir son ami. Mackie tâche de corrompre son gardien. Lucy, fille de Brown, vient apprendre à Mackie qu’elle est enceinte (de lui). Arrivée de Polly : les deux femmes se disputent. Macheath prend le parti de Lucy et chasse Polly. Puis il s’échappe ; Brown se réjouit de sa fuite. Arrive Peachum qui menace le shérif, et finit par le contraindre à partir à la recherche de Mackie. Acte III Chez Peachum : Peachum prépare une manifestation des mendiants pendant le couronnement de la reine. Arrivent les putains de Jenny, qui viennent réclamer leur dû pour la dénonciation de Macheath. Peachum refuse de les payer, puisque Macheath s’est enfui. Dans la conversation, Jenny indique le lieu où se trouve à présent Mackie. Brown arrive, décidé à arrêter Peachum et les mendiants. Mais Peachum parvient à intimider le commissaire, qui se résout, cette fois encore, à partir à la recherche de Macheath. Dans la chambre de Lucy, à la prison d'Old Bailey. Réconciliation avec Polly. La grossesse de Lucy était simulée. Macheath est repris. Vendredi, 5 heures du matin, à la prison. L’exécution doit avoir lieu avant 6 heures. S'il veut échapper à la pendaison, Macheath a besoin d’argent. Visite de deux de ses hommes, Mathias et Jacob, qui partent chercher la somme nécessaire. Visite de Polly, de Brown. L’exécution est imminente. Mais soudain, Peachum annonce au public un autre dénouement : arrivée à cheval du héraut du roi (qui n'est autre que Brown). Macheath sera relâché et anobli, à l’occasion des fêtes du couronnement.
Création: 31/8/1928 - Theater am Schiffbauerdamm (Berlin) - représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Livret: Bertolt Brecht • Production originale: 1 version mentionnée
Dispo: Résumé Génèse Liste chansons
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (« Grandeur et décadence de la ville de Mahagonny ») est un spectacle musical de Bertolt Brecht et Kurt Weill, qui est devenu un opéra en trois actes. Il a été créé le 9 mars 1930 à Leipzig.
Genèse: Weill was asked by the 1927 Baden-Baden music festival committee to write a one act chamber opera for the festival. He ended up writing Mahagonny-Songspiel, sometimes known as Das kleine Mahagonny, a concert work for voices and small orchestra commissioned. The work was written in May 1927, and performed in June. The eleven numbers, which include the "Alabama Song" and "Benares Song", were duly incorporated into the full opera as Weill worked through summer and autumn on the libretto. The opera had its premiere in Leipzig on 9 March 1930 and played in Berlin in December of the following year. The opera was banned by the Nazis in 1933 and did not have a significant production until the 1960s. Weill's score uses a number of styles, including rag-time, jazz and formal counterpoint, notably in the "Alabama Song" (which has been interpreted by a range of artists, notably Ute Lemper, The Doors and David Bowie). Performance history It has played in opera houses around the world. Never achieving the popularity of Weill and Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny is still considered a work of stature with a haunting score. Herbert Lindenberger in his book Opera in History, for example, views Mahagonny alongside Schoenberg's Moses und Aron as indicative of the two poles of modernist opera. Following the Leipzig premiere, the opera was presented in Berlin in December 1931 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm conducted by Alexander von Zemlinsky with Lotte Lenya as Jenny, Trude Hesterberg as Begbick, and Harald Paulsen as Jimmy. Another production was presented in January 1934 in Copenhagen at the Det ny Teater. Other productions within Europe waited until the end of the Second World War, some notable ones being in January 1963 in London at Sadler's Wells Opera conducted by Colin Davis and in Berlin in September 1977 by the Komische Oper. It was not presented in the United States until 1970, when a short-lived April production at the Phyllis Anderson Theatre off Broadway starred Barbara Harris as Jenny, Frank Porretta as Jimmy, and Estelle Parsons as Begbick. It was then presented in Boston in 1973 under the direction of Sarah Caldwell. A full version was presented at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1974, with Gilbert Price as Jimmy and Stephanie Cotsirilos as Jenny. Kurt Kasznar played Moses. The libretto was performed in an original translation by Michael Feingold; the production was directed by Alvin Epstein. In October 1978, Yale presented a "chamber version" adapted and directed by Keith Hack, with John Glover as Jimmy and June Gable as Begbick. Mark Lynn-Baker played Fatty; Michael Gross was Trinity Moses. In November 1979, Mahagonny debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in a John Dexter production conducted by James Levine. The cast included Teresa Stratas as Jenny, Astrid Varnay as Begbick, Richard Cassilly as Jimmy, Cornell MacNeil as Moses, Ragnar Ulfung as Fatty and Paul Plishka as Joe. The production was televised in 1979 and was released on DVD in 2010. The Los Angeles Opera presented the opera in September 1989 under conductor Kent Nagano and with a Jonathan Miller production. Other notable productions in Europe from the 1980s included the March 1986 presentation by the Scottish Opera in Glasgow; a June 1990 production in Florence by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In October 1995 and 1997, the Paris Opera staged by Graham Vick, under the baton of Jeffrey Tate starring Marie McLaughlin as Jenny, Felicity Palmer (1995) and Kathryn Harries (1997) as Begbick, and Kim Begley (1995)/Peter Straka (1997) as Jimmy. The July 1998 Salzburg Festival production featured Catherine Malfitano as Jenny, Gwyneth Jones as Begbick, and Jerry Hadley as Jimmy. The Vienna State Opera added it to its repertoire in January 2012 in a production by Jérôme Deschamps conducted by Ingo Metzmacher starring Christopher Ventris as Jimmy and Angelika Kirchschlager as Jenny, notably casting young mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kulman as Begbick, breaking the tradition of having a veteran soprano (like Varnay or Jones) or musical theater singer (like Patti LuPone) perform the role. Productions within the US have included those in November 1998 by the Lyric Opera of Chicago directed by David Alden. Catherine Malfitano repeated her role as Jenny, while Felicity Palmer sang Begbick, and Kim Begley sang the role of Jimmy. The Los Angeles Opera's February 2007 production directed by John Doyle and conducted by James Conlon included Audra McDonald as Jenny, Patti LuPone as Begbick, and Anthony Dean Griffey as Jimmy. This production was recorded on DVD, and subsequently won the 2009 Grammy Awards for "Best Classical Album" and "Best Opera Recording." In 2014 it was performed using an alternate libretto as a "wrestling opera" at the Oakland Metro by the performers of Hoodslam. A major new production will have its world premiere in July 2019 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen with stage direction by Ivo van Hove. It is a co-production of Dutch National Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, and Les Theatres De La Ville De Luxembourg. It will be fully staged in New York and Amsterdam in future seasons.
Résumé: Act 1 Scene 1: A desolate no-man's land A truck breaks down. Three fugitives from justice get out and find themselves in the city of Mahagonny: Fatty the Bookkeeper, Trinity Moses, and Leocadia Begbick. Because the federal agents pursuing them will not search this far north, and they are in a good location to attract ships coming south from the Alaskan gold fields, Begbick decides that they can profit by staying where they are and founding a pleasure city, where men can have fun, because there is nothing else in the world to rely on. Alabama Song Excerpt from the "Alabama Song" as sung in act 1, scene 2 Problems playing this file? See media help. Scene 2 The news of Mahagonny spreads quickly, and sharks from all over flock to the bait, including the whore Jenny Smith, who is seen, with six other girls, singing the "Alabama Song", in which she waves goodbye to her home and sets out in pursuit of whiskey, dollars and pretty boys. Scene 3 In the big cities, where men lead boring, purposeless lives, Fatty and Moses spread the gospel of Mahagonny, city of gold, among the disillusioned. Scene 4 Four Alaskan Lumberjacks who have shared hard times together in the timberlands and made their fortunes set off together for Mahagonny. Jimmy Mahoney and his three friends – Jacob Schmidt, Bank Account Billy, and Alaska Wolf Joe – sing of the pleasures awaiting them in "Off to Mahagonny", and look forward to the peace and pleasure they will find there. Scene 5 The four friends arrive in Mahagonny, only to find other disappointed travelers already leaving. Begbick, well-informed about their personal tastes, marks down her prices, but for the penurious Billy they still seem too high. Jimmy impatiently calls for the girls of Mahagonny to show themselves, so he can make a choice. Begbick suggests Jenny as the right girl for Jack, who finds her rates too high. She pleads with Jack to reconsider ("Havana Song"), which arouses Jim's interest, and he chooses her. Jenny and the girls sing a tribute to "the Jimmys from Alaska." Scene 6 Jimmy and Jenny get to know one another as she asks him to define the terms of their contact: Does he wish her to wear her hair up or down, to wear fancy underwear or none at all? "What is your wish?" asks Jim, but Jenny evades answering. Scene 7 Begbick, Fatty and Moses meet to discuss the pleasure city's financial crisis: People are leaving in droves, and the price of whiskey is sinking rapidly. Begbick suggests going back to civilization, but Fatty reminds her that the federal agents have been inquiring for her in nearby Pensacola. Money would solve everything, declares Begbick, and she decides to soak the four new arrivals for all they've got. Scene 8 Jimmy, restless, attempts to leave Mahagonny, because he misses the wife he left in Alaska. Scene 9 In front of the Rich Man's Hotel, Jimmy and the others sit lazily as a pianist plays Tekla Bądarzewska's "A Maiden's Prayer". With growing anger, Jimmy sings of how his hard work and suffering in Alaska have led only to this. Drawing a knife, he shouts for Begbick, while his friends try to disarm him and the other men call to have him thrown out. Calm again, he tells Begbick that Mahagonny can never make people happy: it has too much peace and quiet. Scene 10 As if in answer to Jimmy's complaint, the city is threatened by a typhoon. Everyone sings in horror of the destruction awaiting them. Scene 11 Tensely, people watch for the hurricane's arrival. The men sing a hymn-like admonition not to be afraid. Jim meditatively compares Nature's savagery to the far greater destructiveness of Man. Why do we build, he asks, if not for the pleasure of destroying? Since Man can outdo any hurricane, fear makes no sense. For the sake of human satisfaction, nothing should be forbidden: If you want another man's money, his house or his wife, knock him down and take it; do what you please. As Begbick and the men ponder Jimmy's philosophy, Fatty and Moses rush in with news: The hurricane has unexpectedly struck Pensacola, destroying Begbick's enemies, the federal agents. Begbick and her cohorts take it as a sign that Jimmy is right; they join him, Jenny, and his three friends in singing a new, defiant song: If someone walks over someone else, then it's me, and if someone gets walked on, then it's you. In the background, the men continue to chant their hymn as the hurricane draws nearer. Act 2 Scene 12 Magically, the hurricane bypasses Mahagonny, and the people sing in awe of their miraculous rescue. This confirms Begbick's belief in the philosophy of "Do what you want," and she proceeds to put it into effect. Jacob Schmidt's departure Jacob Schmidt is gorging himself on food and is about to die in act 2, scene 13 Problems playing this file? See media help. Scene 13 At the renovated "Do It" tavern. The men sing of the four pleasures of life: Eating, Lovemaking, Fighting and Drinking. First comes eating: To kitschy cafe music, Jimmy's friend Jacob gorges until he keels over and dies. The men sing a chorale over his body, saluting "a man without fear". Scene 14: Loving. While Begbick collects money and issues tips on behavior, Moses placates the impatient men queuing to make love to Jenny and the other whores. The men sing the "Mandalay Song", warning that love does not last forever, and urging those ahead of them to make it snappy. Scene 15: Fighting. The men flock to see a boxing match between Trinity Moses and Jim's friend Alaska Wolf Joe. While most of the men, including the ever-cautious Billy, bet on the burly Moses, Jim, out of friendship, bets heavily on Joe. The match is manifestly unfair; Moses not only wins but kills Joe in knocking him out. Scene 16: Drinking. In an effort to shake off the gloom of Joe's death, Jimmy invites everyone to have a drink on him. The men sing "Life in Mahagonny", describing how one could live in the city for only five dollars a day, but those who wanted to have fun always needed more. Jim, increasingly drunk, dreams of sailing back to Alaska. He takes down a curtain rod for a mast and climbs on the pool table, pretending it is a ship; Jenny and Billy play along. Jimmy is abruptly sobered up when Begbick demands payment for the whiskey as well as for the damage to her property. Totally broke, he turns in a panic to Jenny, who explains her refusal to help him out in the song "Make your own bed" – an adaptation of the ideas he proclaimed at the end of act 1. Jim is led off in chains as the chorus, singing another stanza of "Life in Mahagonny", returns to its pastimes. Trinity Moses assures the crowd that Jimmy will pay for his crimes with his life. Scene 17 At night, Jim alone and chained to a lamppost, sings a plea for the sun not to rise on the day of his impending trial. Act 3 Scene 18: In the courtroom Moses, like a carnival barker, sells tickets to the trials. He serves as prosecutor, Fatty as defense attorney, Begbick as judge. First comes the case of Toby Higgins, accused of premeditated murder for the purpose of testing an old revolver. Fatty invites the injured party to rise, but no one does so, since the dead do not speak. Toby bribes all three, and as a result, Begbick dismisses the case. Next Jimmy's case is called. Chained, he is led in by Billy, from whom he tries to borrow money; Billy of course refuses, despite Jim's plea to remember their time together in Alaska. In virtually the same speech he used to attack Higgins, Moses excoriates him for not paying his bills, for seducing Jenny (who presents herself as a plaintiff) to commit a "carnal act" with him for money, and for inciting the crowd with "an illegal joyous song" on the night of the typhoon. Billy, with the chorus's support, counters that, in committing the latter act, Jimmy discovered the laws by which Mahagonny lives. Moses argues that Jim hastened his friend Joe's death in a prizefight by betting on him, and Billy counters by asking who actually killed Joe. Moses does not reply. But there is no answer for the main count against him. Jim gets short sentences for his lesser crimes, but for having no money, he is sentenced to death. Begbick, Fatty and Moses, rising to identify themselves as the injured parties, proclaim "in the whole human race / there is no greater criminal / than a man without money". As Jim is led off to await execution, everyone sings the "Benares Song", in which they long for that exotic city "where the sun is shining." But Benares has been destroyed by an earthquake. "Where shall we go?" they ask. Scene 19: At the gallows Jim says a tender goodbye to Jenny, who, dressed in white, declares herself his widow. He surrenders her to Billy, his last remaining companion from Alaska. When he tries to delay the execution by reminding the people of Mahagonny that God exists, they play out for him, under Moses' direction, the story of "God in Mahagonny", in which the Almighty condemns the town and is overthrown by its citizens, who declare that they can not be sent to Hell because they are already in Hell. Jim, chastened, asks only for a glass of water, but is refused even this as Moses gives the signal for the trap to be sprung. Scene 20 A caption advises that, after Jim's death, increasing hostility among the city's various factions has caused the destruction of Mahagonny. To a potpourri of themes from earlier in the opera, groups of protesters are seen on the march, in conflict with one another, while the city burns in the background. Jenny and the whores carry Jim's clothing and accessories like sacred relics; Billy and several men carry his coffin. In a new theme, they and the others declare, "Nothing you can do will help a dead man". Begbick, Fatty and Moses appear with placards of their own, joining the entire company in its march and declaring "Nothing will help him or us or you now," as the opera ends in chaos.
Création: 9/3/1930 - Neues Theater (Leipzig) - représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Paul Green • Livret: Paul Green • Production originale: 3 versions mentionnées
Dispo: Résumé Synopsis Génèse Isnpiration
Genèse: Since World War I's U.S. casualty rolls listed the name Johnny Johnson more frequently than any other, it seemed the logical title for the pacifistic 1936 Paul Green text Kurt Weill set in his first American musical. Weill had fled Nazi Germany at the height of his fame —but almost exclusively for one work: his and Bertolt Brecht's "Threepenny Opera" had conquered all Europe.Weill went to New York to compose the score for "The Eternal Road," a vast pageant depicting the history of the Jews, but when that project lagged, he got an invitation from an improbable source: the Group Theatre, an intense cell of left-wing disciples ofStanislavsky, fiercely dedicated to socially significant drama in the Moscow Art Theater tradition. As a model for their project, Green and Weill settled upon Jaroslav Hasek's great satiric novel "The Good Soldier Schweik," but their baby's delivery by the Group entailed major labor pains. "Johnny Johnson" opened Nov. 19, 1936, with Hitler, almost four years in power, loudly proclaiming his bellicose ambitions. The Broadway production opened on November 19, 1936 at the 44th Street Theatre, where it ran for 68 performances. The cast included Russell Collins as Johnny and Phoebe Brand as Minny Belle, with Luther Adler, Morris Carnovsky, Lee J. Cobb, Curt Conway, John Garfield, Elia Kazan, Robert Lewis, and Sandy Meisner in supporting roles. A 1956 production was presented Off-Broadway at the Little Carnegie Playhouse at Carnegie Hall. It was directed by Stella Adler and starred among others James Broderick as Johnny Johnson and Gene Saks as the Mad Psychiatrist. It ran from October 21, 1956 through October 28. Samuel Matlowsky was the Musical Director and also conducted the 1956 record album which had none of the cast from the Stella Adler production. After ten previews, a revival directed by José Quintero and choreographed by Bertram Ross opened on April 11, 1971 at the Edison Theatre, where it closed after one performance. The cast included Ralph Williams as Johnny and Alice Cannon as Minny Belle.
Résumé: The musical focuses on a naive and idealistic young man who, despite his pacifist views, leaves his sweetheart Minny Belle Tompkins to fight in Europe in World War I. He manages to bring the skirmish to a temporary halt by incapacitating a meeting of the generals with laughing gas, but once they recover he finds himself committed to an asylum for ten years. He returns home to discover Minny Belle has married a capitalist, and he settles down as a toymaker who will create anything except tin soldiers, his personal gesture of peace in an increasingly warlike society.
Création: 19/11/1936 - 44th Street Theatre (Broadway) - représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Maxwell Anderson • Livret: Maxwell Anderson • Production originale: 1 version mentionnée
Dispo: Résumé Génèse Liste chansons
Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s Knickerbocker Holiday played for just five months on Broadway, but its legacy to the American musical theatre is invaluable. Here was a musical infused with ideas, and, whether or not one agreed with Anderson, his book dealt with fresh subject matter and had a prickly political viewpoint. Some critics found the book somewhat dour, but Anderson’s script is highly amusing and strikingly theatrical (one character has been twice killed by Indians and still manages to stay alive, and when he dies again and his funeral rites are in progress, he returns to life to testify on someone’s behalf despite a comment that dead or alive he’s a “completely unreliable” witness).
Genèse: The musical premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on October 19, 1938 and closed on March 11, 1939 after 168 performances. It was produced by the Playwrights' Company and directed by Joshua Logan. The original production starred Walter Huston (as Peter Stuyvesant), Richard Kollmar (as Brom Broeck), Jeanne Madden (as Tina), and Ray Middleton (as Washington Irving). Burgess Meredith, a friend of Weill's, was originally set to play the romantic young lead Brom Broek, but he left when he saw the villainous Peter Stuyvesant character growing into a more and more lovable and important role, upstaging his. Burt Lancaster starred in a revival production of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, L.A in June, 1971. The cast also included David Holliday and Jack Collins. The musical premiered in Germany on September 25, 1976, at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. Film version The 1944 film version, written by Thomas L. Lennon, starring Nelson Eddy as Broeck, Constance Dowling as Tina, and Charles Coburn as Stuyvesant, not only removed most of the songs and added new ones not by Weill and Anderson, but watered down the political allegory considerably, having been released during World War II.
Résumé: The musical begins in 1809 when Washington Irving (Ray Middleton) decides to write a history of Old New York, in the days when the Dutch ruled a Manhattan Island known as Nieuw Amsterdam. As Irving takes pen in hand to start his story, his study materializes into the New York of 1647, and in a welcome conceit he weaves in and out of the action, introducing (and interacting with) the characters, commenting upon and sometimes interrupting the story, and occasionally participating in the songs. The hero of Irving’s tale is Brom Broeck (Richard Kollmar), and Irving tells Brom that in order to make his character agreeable to his readers he must understand what makes Brom tick. Brom defines himself by informing Irving that he’s the “beginning of a national type,” an American who doesn’t like to take orders from Big Government. And Brom and Irving’s grand and irresistible duet “How Can You Tell an American?” sums up the musical’s thesis that Americans don’t need bureaucrats to dictate their every move. And this in a nutshell was Anderson’s philosophy. The nation needs a government run by competent and well-meaning amateurs, not one infested by professional bureaucrats who enforce unwanted rules and regulations on the populace. In the era of the New Deal, this belief was somewhat iconoclastic and Knickerbocker Holiday stood alone. The era’s politically oriented shows were either direct left-wing onslaughts against both the government and the status quo or were apologists for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. These shows believed in big government, albeit their own kind of big government. Knickerbocker Holiday wanted none of this. In his preface to the published script, Anderson states that government must be “constantly watched” and “drastically limited” in its scope because a “government-dominated economy” will result in the “loss of individual liberty in thought, speech and action.” He further notes that “social security” is a step away from the “paternal state,” and those “fed” by government will become little more than “slaves or cattle.” Virtually the entire story took place in The Battery within a period of two days. Besides Brom, we meet the city’s shady councilmen (which include a Roosevelt, a Vanderbilt, and a Van Cortlandt), all of whom won’t tolerate an iota of graft and corruption unless they have a financial share in it. The town is in the midst of a holiday because the citizens and councilmen are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new governor Pieter Stuyvesant (Walter Huston). In honor of the governor’s visit, the councilmen plan to top off the day’s festivities by hanging someone. And who better for the gallows than the independently minded Brom? This upstart bows to no one, he calls out tyranny and dishonesty, and he’s in love with Councilman Tienhoven’s daughter Tina (Jeanne Madden). Although Stuyvesant pardons Brom, it becomes clear the new governor is far more corrupt than the council members and that he intends to run Manhattan with an iron fist. He also has his eye on Tina, and when he discovers she’s in love with Brom he decides to go ahead with the young man’s execution. But in a deus ex machina moment, Irving interrupts the action and demands a word with Stuyvesant. As the author who will shape the story of New York’s early days, the writer informs Stuyvesant that he must again pardon Brom. If posterity reads an account of a tyrannical governor, Stuyvesant’s reputation will be in tatters, but future readers will harbor good thoughts about a kind and just governor. Stuyvesant cottons to the idea that one day he’ll be known as a “Manhattan Saint Nicholas,” and furthermore decides that he qualifies as an American because he too despises taking orders from anyone.
Création: 19/10/1938 - Ethel Barrymore Theatre (Broadway) - 168 représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Ira Gershwin • Livret: Moss Hart • Production originale: 2 versions mentionnées
Dispo: Résumé Synopsis Commentaire Génèse Liste chansons
Lady in the Dark a été l’événement musical de la saison 1940-1941, et toutes ses représentations étaient sold-out, y compris les places debout. Tout le monde le savait, cette œuvre était le musical le plus moderne dans laquelle une légende théâtrale jouait le rôle de sa vie. Gertrude Lawrence a joué ce qui était (avec Rose dans le futur Gypsy ()) peut-être le Hamlet des rôles musicaux féminins. Son contrat prévoyait qu'elle avait droit à des vacances l’été. Ainsi, la comédie musicale a joué 162 représentations sold-out, s'est arrêtés les onze semaines de vacances de Gertrude Lawrence, puis a rouvert ses portes à l’automne pour 305 représentations supplémentaires (le total des représentations totalisera 467). Après un US-Tour, en 1943, Lawrence revient au Broadway Theatre pour un 'return engagement' de 83 représentations.
Genèse: Création Le musical a ouvert à Broadway à l'Alvin Theatre (l'actuel Neil Simon Theatre) le 23 janvier 1941 et a fermé le 30 mai 1942 après 467 représentations. Le spectacle produit par Sam H. Harris a été mis en scène par Moss Hart avec une direction musicale de Hassard Short et des chorégraphies d’Albertina Rasch. Les acteurs de la création étaient Gertrude Lawrence, Danny Kaye, Bert Lytell, Victor Mature, Margaret Dale, Davis Cunningham et Macdonald Carey. La performance de Danny Kaye dans le rôle du photographe de mode Russell Paxton, et en particulier sa performance dans la chanson Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians) dans laquelle il énonce les noms de 50 compositeurs russes en 39 secondes, fait de lui une star. Le musical a fait un US-Tour de huit villes et 160 représentations, et a également joué sur la côte ouest, y compris Los Angeles et San Francisco, pour 56 représentations. Le spectacle est ensuite revenu a Broadway, pour ce que l'on appelle un "return engagement" au Broadway Theatre du 27 février au 15 mai 1943 pour 83 représentations. Gertrude Lawrence a joué son rôle de Liza Elliott dans toutes les salles. Autres productions Lady in the Dark a été créée au Royaume-Uni seulement le 9 décembre 1981 au Nottingham Playhouse de Nottingham. A New York City Center Encores! a proposé un concert semi-scénique du en mai 1994 avec Christine Ebersole. Et enfin, le musical a été créé à Londres au Royal National Theatre le 11 mars 1997, présentant 63 représentations jusqu’au 2 août 1997, dans une mise en scène de Francesca Zambello et avec Maria Friedman dans le rôle de Liza. La production a reçu le Evening Standard Award du meilleur musical.
Résumé: Liza Elliott (Gertrude Lawrence), est une éditrice de magazine de mode à succès. Cette dernière se retrouve constamment en proie à l'indécision dans sa vie professionnelle et personnelle. Elle est courtisée par deux hommes, l'éditeur déjà marié Kendall Nesbitt qui tente de divorcer de sa femme pour Liza, et son directeur de la publicité Randy Curtis, et ne peut pas décider qui choisir. Lorsqu'elle décide de recourir à la psychanalyse, elle plonge dans ses rêves et ses souvenirs d'enfance malheureuse. Le musical est constitué ainsi principalement de trois de ses rêves, racontées au psychanalyste. Liza se rend compte qu’elle aime son assistant qui fait preuve de sagesse lorsqu’il termine sa mélodie de rêve, My Ship.
Création: 23/1/1941 - Neil Simon Theatre (Broadway) - représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Ogden Nash • Livret: Ogden Nash • S.J. Perelman • Production originale: 1 version mentionnée
Dispo: Résumé Génèse Isnpiration Liste chansons
One Touch of Venus is a musical with music written by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash, and book by S. J. Perelman and Nash, based on the novella The Tinted Venus by Thomas Anstey Guthrie, and very loosely spoofing the Pygmalion myth. The show satirizes contemporary American suburban values, artistic fads and romantic and sexual mores. Weill had been in America for eight years by the time he wrote this musical, and his music, though retaining his early haunting power, had evolved into a very different Broadway style.
Genèse: Original production The original Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on October 7, 1943 and closed on February 10, 1945 after 567 performances. It was directed by Elia Kazan, featured choreography by Agnes de Mille, and was co-produced by John Wildberg and Cheryl Crawford. It starred Mary Martin, Kenny Baker and Paula Laurence. Marlene Dietrich reportedly backed out of the title role during rehearsals, calling it "too sexy and profane", which gave Martin the opportunity to establish herself as a Broadway star. Film version The musical was made into a 1948 film, directed by William A. Seiter and starring Ava Gardner and Robert Walker. Actress Eve Arden co-starred. The movie version changed Hatch's first name from Rodney to Eddie and omitted much of the Broadway score; it received poor reviews. Other productions In 1987, the piece played at the Goodspeed Opera House. Ian Marshall Fisher's Discovering Lost Musicals Charitable Trust has presented the work twice, first in 1992 at the Barbican Centre, and then in 2000 the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre. Louise Gold played the title role on both occasions. Both productions also found Myra Sands playing Mrs Kramer; while Dick Vosburgh put in an appearance in the 2000 production.
Résumé: A long-lost, priceless statue of the goddess Venus is placed on display in an art museum in New York. A barber, Rodney Hatch, places the engagement ring he plans to give his fiancée onto the statue's finger. The sculpture comes to life and falls in love with the hapless Rodney. Farcical complications ensue.
Création: 7/10/1943 - Imperial Theatre (Broadway) - 567 représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Langston Hughes • Livret: Elmer Rice • Production originale: 4 versions mentionnées
Dispo: Résumé Synopsis Commentaire Génèse Liste chansons
Genèse: In Germany, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Weill had already begun to use American jazz and popular song elements in his operas. After fleeing from Germany in 1933, he worked in Paris, then England, and then, beginning in 1935, in New York. Weill made a study of American popular and stage music and worked to further adapt his music to new American styles in his writing for Broadway, film and radio. He strove to find a new way of creating an American opera that would be both commercially and artistically successful. Weill wrote: "It's my opinion that we can and will develop a musical-dramatic form in this country (America) but I don't think it will be called 'opera', or that it will grow out of the opera which has become a thing separate from the commercial theater, dependent upon other means than box-office appeal for its continuance. It will develop from and remain a part of the American theater – 'Broadway' theater, if you like. More than anything else, I want to be a part in that development." Weill sought to create musical theatre that would "integrate drama and music, spoken word, song, and movement." He further wrote: "This form of theater has its special attraction for the composer, because it allows him to use a great variety of musical idioms, to write music that is both serious and light, operatic and popular, emotional and sophisticated, orchestral and vocal. Each show of this type has to create its own style, its own texture, its own relationship between words and music, because music becomes a truly integral part of the play – it helps deepen the emotions and clarify the structure. Weill saw Rice's naturalistic play in 1930 and wanted to adapt it. As he wrote: "It was a simple story of everyday life in a big city, a story of love and passion and greed and death. I saw great musical possibilities in its theatrical device – life in a tenement house between one evening and the next afternoon. And it seemed like a great challenge to me to find the inherent poetry in these people and to blend my music with the stark realism of the play." In 1936, Weill met Rice in New York and suggested the adaptation, but Rice turned him down. After the successes of Weill's Knickerbocker Holiday in 1938, Lady in the Dark in 1940, and One Touch of Venus in 1943 (and after Weill had composed incidental music for Rice's Two on an Island in 1939), Weill asked again, and Rice agreed. The two chose Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes to, as Weill put it, "lift the everyday language of the people into a simple, unsophisticated poetry." In order to enhance the realism of the new work, the collaborators utilized dialogue scenes, sometimes underscored by music. To create music that would portray the ethnic melting pot of characters described in Rice's book, Weill travelled to neighborhoods in New York, watching children at play and observing New Yorkers. Hughes took Weill to Harlem nightclubs to hear the newest musical idioms of black American jazz and blues. Hughes wrote, "The resulting song was composed in a national American Negro idiom; but a German, or someone else, could sing it without sounding strange or out of place." Weill and many critics have considered the score to be his masterpiece. After a tryout in Philadelphia, revisions were made, and Street Scene opened on Broadway at the Adelphi Theater on January 9, 1947. It closed on May 17, 1947, after 148 performances, experiencing high running costs. The production was directed by Charles Friedman, with choreography by Anna Sokolow, and produced by Dwight Deere Wiman and The Playwrights' Company (Maxwell Anderson; S.N. Behrman; Elmer Rice; Robert E. Sherwood; Sidney Howard). Scenic and lighting design were by Jo Mielziner; costume design was by Lucinda Ballard. The production starred Anne Jeffreys as Rose Maurrant, Polyna Stoska as Anna Maurrant, Norman Cordon as Frank Maurrant, Brian Sullivan as Sam Kaplan, Hope Emerson as Emma Jones, Sheila Bond as Mae Jones, and Danny Daniels as Dick McGann. Juanita Hall was a notable replacement. Weill received the first Tony Award for Best Original Score, and Ballard received the 1947 Tony Award for Best Costume Design, competing with other strong musicals that year, notably Finian's Rainbow by Burton Lane and Brigadoon by Frederick Loewe. A production by the English National Opera at the London Coliseum Theatre in 1989 included Catherine Zeta-Jones as Mae Jones. The Opera Group, Young Vic, and Watford Palace Theatre gave the first UK production in 20 years in July 2008, winning the Evening Standard Award 2008 for Best Musical. Another production was performed in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich on 19 July 2008, with the cast largely drawn from students from Trinity College of Music. In 2011 Street Scene was performed by the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop of Southeastern Louisiana University and, in German, by the Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding and the Munich Radio Orchestra, led by Ulf Schirmer. The Opera Group presents the first performance in Austria in October 2011, and the Semper Oper in Dresden produced the work to great acclaim earlier in 2011. The first performance in Spain will be in March 2013, at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
Résumé: Street Scene is a story of love, passion, greed and death on a New York City street. The show concerns life in a tenement house between one evening and the next afternoon. The show focuses primarily on the Maurrant family. Frank Maurrant, a Broadway stagehand, is an abusive drunk. His wife, Anna, is having an affair with Mr. Sankey. Their daughter, Rose, is caught in the middle of her feuding parents and struggles with her own problems. When Frank catches Anna having an affair, he shoots her dead. Nevertheless, after the carnage is cleared up, life goes on as normal on the New York street.
Création: 16/12/1946 - Shubert Theatre (Philadelphia) - représ.
Musique: Kurt Weill • Paroles: Maxwell Anderson • Livret: Maxwell Anderson • Production originale: 5 versions mentionnées
Dispo: Résumé Synopsis Génèse Isnpiration Liste chansons
Genèse: Lost in the Stars opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on October 30, 1949, and closed on July 1, 1950, after 281 performances. The production was supervised and directed by Rouben Mamoulian and choreographed by La Verne French. Todd Duncan took the role of Stephen; Inez Matthews sang Irina. New York City Opera presented the musical in April 1958. Directed by Jose Quintero, the cast featured Lawrence Winters (Stephen Kumalo) and Lee Charles (Leader). (The conductor of those performances, Julius Rudel, led a 1992 complete recording of the score with the Orchestra of St. Luke's: Music Masters 01612-67100.) A Broadway revival opened at the Imperial Theatre on April 18, 1972, and closed on May 20 after 39 performances and 8 previews. Directed by Gene Frankel with choreography by Louis Johnson, the cast featured Rod Perry as Leader, Brock Peters as Stephen Kumalo, Leslie Banks as James Jarvis, and Rosetta LeNoire as Grace Kumalo. Peters was nominated for the Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award Outstanding Performance; Gilbert Price was nominated http://glimmerglass.org/the-festival/2012-productions/lost-in-the-stars/for the Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Lost in the Stars was adapted for the screen in 1974, with Daniel Mann directing. The movie was released in the American Film Theatre series. Reviews were mixed. Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut, presented a revival in April 1986, directed by Arvin Brown. A semi-staged concert was presented by the New York City Center Encores! series from February 3 to February 6, 2011. The Glimmerglass Festival, in Cooperstown, New York State, presented Lost in the Stars starring Eric Owens (bass-baritone), Wynn Harmon (tenor), and Sean Pankkar (tenor) in a co-production with Cape Town Opera, South Africa, between 22 July and 25 August, 2012.
Résumé: En Afrique du Sud, durant l'apartheid, le pasteur noir Stephen Kumalo se rend à Johannesburg afin de rechercher son fils Absalom dont il est sans nouvelles. Il apprend que ce dernier a mal tourné et que, lors d'une tentative de cambriolage dans la maison d'un riche propriétaire blanc, il a tué le fils Arthur Jarvis, avocat opposé à l'apartheid. Le pasteur, partagé entre son amour filial et ses convictions religieuses, est alors confronté au père, James Jarvis, qui défend les droits des blancs…
Création: 30/10/1949 - Music Box Theatre (Broadway) - représ.