Vienna Opera Tickets

    The Threepenny Opera, Opera by B. Brecht and K. Weill

    The Threepenny Opera, Opera by B. Brecht and K. Weill

    With the premiere of Die Dreigroschenoper, or The Threepenny Opera, on 31 August 1928 at Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill achieved a new level of recognition and stardom within as well as beyond the realms of musical theatre. The work’s sharp political undertones and infectious melodies catapulted the creative duo into international fame, and songs from it became a staple of popular culture. This season, Volksoper Wien brings the plight of the London poor, told brilliantly in Brecht’s vivid verses and Weill’s wild melodies, to its storied stage in Vienna.

    To give credit where it is due, Bertolt Brecht came across the source text of Die Dreigroschenoper thanks to his lover Elisabeth Hauptmann who had become fascinated with John Gay’s work The Beggar’s Opera and quickly prepared a German translation. When Brecht’s play ‘Fleischhacker’ failed to rouse interest among producers, he quickly took hold of Hauptmann’s text and passed it as his own, adding a few songs by French poet François Villon along the way. The newly founded Theater am Schiffbauerdamm received Brecht’s proposal enthusiastically. For his part, Kurt Weill composed all-original music, except for the opening theme which he borrowed from Johann Christoph Pepusch’s original score for The Beggar’s Opera.

    The Threepenny Opera focuses on Macheath, or Mack the Knife, London’s most notorious criminal. His marriage to Polly Peachum greatly angers her father, Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum, who rules over all of London’s beggars and thus commands fortune and connections in high places. Jonathan instrumentalises the Metropolitan police to have Mack arrested, tried, and hanged, yet the action takes several wild turns that derail this evil plan. Along the way, we meet a motley crew of colourful characters with memorable theme songs. We also get a first-hand experience of Brecht’s sharp tongue and knack for exposing and satirising the paradoxes and injustices of capitalism. The Threepenny Opera’s message rings as true at Vienna’s Volksoper today as it did at its Berlin premiere almost a century ago.

    image Volksoper Vienna / A&A Tickets Online / Julius Silver