Brecht/Weill Mahagonny in Hof

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is undoubtedly a masterpiece of music theatre. Kurt Weill’s musical idiom and Berthold Brecht’s text capture so well the spirit of the Weimar Republic with its mixture of cynicism, pessimism and callousness, but also cabaret and humour. In the 1980s and 1990s its assault on capitalism may have seemed dated, but who today will fail to find resonance in the fact that Jim Mahoney is condemned to death for the crime of having no money? The piece was strongly sung, in particular by Brenden Patrick Gunnell, a young American Heldentenor, and the soprano Inga Lisa Lehr. The production by the veteran Peter Kupke (in his early 80s) was true to the Brechtian tradition and thus effective, though insufficiently penetrating. But I cannot remember the last time I saw a stage director appear for his bow at the premiere wearing a jacket and tie. The rather staid audience at Hof could have shown more enthusiasm.