Tuesday, 9 March 2021

show me the way to the next whiskey bar

Premiering on this day in 1930 at the Neues Theatre in Leipzig, the sartorial opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht (previously) Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, set in the fictive city in America and recounting its rise and fall, it is seen as a critique of the Weimar Republic through the allegorical lampooning of the US mediated through the German perspective. The complex orchestral scoring references jazz, ragtime and a repertoire of counterpoint, particularly in “The Alabama Song,” covered decades later by the Doors and David Bowie. Though the two-and-one-half hour long show in three acts did go on, the performance was disrupted by Nazi party members in the auditorium and was banned outright from 1933 onward with no performances restaged until the 1960s.