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The Threepenny Opera (1954 New York Cast) (Blitzstein Adaptation) [Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Cast Recording]

Lotte Lenya, Beatrice Arthur, Charlotte Rae, Marc Blitzstein, Jo Sullivan Loesser, John Astin, Scott Merrill, Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Various ArtistsAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Price: $10.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Prologue "The Threepenny Opera"Gerald Price0:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Overture "The Threepenny Opera"Samuel Matlowsky 1:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. The Ballad Of Mack The Knife (1954 Original Broadway Cast)Gerald Price 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Morning AnthemMartin Wolfson0:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Instead-Of-SongMartin Wolfson 1:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Army SongScott Merrill 2:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Wedding SongJohn Astin 1:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Love SongScott Merrill 1:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Ballad Of DependencyCharlotte Rae 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. The World Is MeanJo Sullivan 2:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Melodrama And Polly's SongScott Merrill 2:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Pirate JennyLotte Lenya 4:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Tango-BalladLotte Lenya 4:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Ballad Of The Easy LifeScott Merrill 1:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Barbara SongBeatrice Arthur 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Jealousy DuetJo Sullivan 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. How To SurviveScott Merrill 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Useless SongMartin Wolfson0:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Solomon SongLotte Lenya 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Call From The GraveScott Merrill 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Death MessageScott Merrill 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. FinaleWilliam Duell 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. The Ballad Of Mack The KnifeLotte Lenya 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

The Threepenny Opera (1954 New York Cast) (Blitzstein Adaptation) + Lotte Lenya sings Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins & Berlin Theatre Songs + The Threepenny Opera (The Criterion Collection)
Price for all three: $46.61

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 29, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 1954
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Cast Recording
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B00004X09T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,643 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Celebrate the Kurt Weill centenary with the return of the acclaimed original American cast recording of The Threepenny Opera starring Lotte Lenya! And don't miss the bonus track-an unreleased recording of Lenya singing Mack the Knife accompanied by Marc Blitzstein on piano!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lotte Lenya and Bea Arthur in Kurt Weill's masterpiece! November 11, 2003
Format:Audio CD
THE THREEPENNY OPERA is indeed Weill and Brecht's masterpiece. The darkly humorous, anarchic and gritty musical has influenced many works throughout the ensuing decades (a recent example being URINETOWN). The now-legendary 1954 off-Broadway revival at the Theatre de Lys is still agruably the greatest production of THREEPENNY, which featured new lyrics translated by Marc Blitzstein (JUNO).
Decca Broadway's reissue of the cast album is average, though. Several dropouts and surface hiss are slightly off-putting to the ear.
Lotte Lenya plays the role of the streetwalker Jenny Diver, and her rendition of "Pirate Jenny" is one of the two major highlights from the set. The other highlight is Bea Arthur's portrayal of Lucy Brown; her reading of "Barbara Song" is full of grit and she belts it in grand style.
Jo Sullivan (who would later marry Frank Loesser) gives a sparkling performance as Polly Peachum, joining Bea Arthur for the caustic "Jealousy Duet". Scott Merrill adds his silvery voice to the menacing "Mack the Knife". The cast also features Charlotte Rae and Martin Wolfson.
Also included is a rare recording of Lotte Lenya singing "Mack the Knife", accompanied by Marc Blitzstein at the piano.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good despite watered-down lyrics April 8, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent recording, marred only by the fact that the record company forced Blitzstein to censor a number of the lyrics, including some of the best and brightest ones. If you've seen a stage production of this play, you may be disappointed by the toning-down of the lyrics on this.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! August 29, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
At last, the groundbreaking 1954 off-broadway cast recording is available. Bea Arthur and Lotte Lenya give stand-out performances. All-in-all a superb rendition of this stunning score with a very accessible translation by Marc Blitztein. Everyone has their favorite but, for me, this version gives a much more "raw" and "authentic" interpretation, on par with (if not better than) the Lincoln Center production (with Raul Julia as Mack -- which one hopes will also be on CD soon) and certainly more engaging than the Donmar Warehouse version. If you haven't heard this one yet, give it a try.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic returns February 6, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've been looking for this CD for years (I played my LP to groovy death). I'm overjoyed. It's conventional wisdom these days to knock the Blitzstein translation of Dreigroschenoper as tamer than the Brecht original. So what we get instead are closer to Brecht's literal meaning and a long way from his wit. Blitzstein is the only translator so far to actually produce decent lyrics in English. His translation is freer, in both senses of the word, though it's still pretty close to Brecht. Furthermore, it actually gets the blood racing. Add to this a terrific performance, headed by Weill's widow, keeper of the flame, and one of the greatest actress of the 20th century, Lotte Lenya and including Jo Sullivan, Bea Arthur, John Astin, a host of others, and a crisp, brash chamber ensemble, all wonderfully seedy, and you have the finest English recording of this visionary score.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant- and like nothing else you've heard December 20, 2001
Format:Audio CD
What a find! To hear the original 1954 cast of this show is such a treat. To hear actresses like Charlotte Rae and Bea Arthur, now best known for mediocre 1970s and 80s sitcoms, performing in their prime- well, that alone is worth the price of the album.
The feel of this production is, I suspect, very close to the plays Brech and Weill were writing back in Germany in the Weimar days- certainly more so than attempts to recreate it in shows like "Cabaret". And the sound of the remastered recording is absolutely stunning- close your eyes and you're sitting there in the front row of a tiny off-broadway theater, listening to the show unfold before you.
And the music- well, these are songs that are still being recorded and interpereted by artists today. Sting's version of Mack the Knife. Stan Ridgeway's "Army Song".
What else can I say? Buy it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Threepenny Opera at Laast December 17, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Finally the original New York cast recording has been made available on CD! All I can say is that this is one of the greatest theatrical works that I have ever been exposed to, and I can't believe that I can finally listen to it on CD as opposed to my original vinyl copy. Also, the chilling bonus track of "Mack the Knife" featuring Lotte Lenya on vocals and Marc Blitzstein on piano makes buying this score all over again well worth it. The re-release of the Threepenny Opera is not to be missed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars threepenny opera blitzstein May 27, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I love the "directly off the stage," unhyped qulity of the recording. I just watched the Studio 54 version and I'm grateful they did it. But Lenya & co. got them beat 90 ways. I'm pretty sure this must have been the version that thrilled me when I heard it in a Berkeley CA apt. during 1961 spring break from UCLA.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound off! February 23, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I remember when this show was playing off Broadway at the Theater de Lys on Christopher Street in NYC. I purchased the album on LP (MGM label) way back then, which I lost along the way and replaced with another LP issued on a different label. This one went the way of all discs too, so I finally located this CD.

The performance is just as wonderful as I remember it. This show is truly a landmark in American theater. In it are pre-fame appearances of Charlotte Rae and Bea Arthur and both are superb! Everybody in the cast gets into the spirit of the piece and the result is a funny and mildly caustic collection of irony and social commentary.

One negative: The sound quality is not as clear as it was on the LP versions. Especially noticeable is the loss of initial consonants and consonants generally, throughout the piece. This points up one of the shortcomings of digital remastering.

Otherwise, buy it and enjoy it! Great music, great theater!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best English language cast album.
Great album, excellent. A great adaptation of the German language original classic. A must have for any threepenny opera fan.
Published 16 days ago by Christopher Dunne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great rerelease of the 1954 Blitzstein adaptation
The women steal the show. Charlotte Rae as Mrs Peachum is venomous, as suits the part. Bea Arthur and Jo Sullivan as Lucy and Polly are perfect antagonists in the battle for... Read more
Published 23 days ago by ben schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars A revisit of great theatre.
I saw this original performance in New York and it was a
wonderful experience. This brings back a lot of
happy memories of great theater.
Published 8 months ago by P. Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Threepenny Opera Blitzstein Translation
Just before recording, record company execs arrived at the studio
and said 'Those lyrics can't go through the Post Office; they'll violate
the obscenity laws. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Max The Piano Player
5.0 out of 5 stars an older dvd
what can i say? i am totally familiar with this work and of course would not have ordered it if i didn't like it. it came on time and was professionally wrapped
Published 14 months ago by neuriarnold
5.0 out of 5 stars A great listening experience
I don't understand the fulminating about the number of seconds between cuts and the sanitization of some crude bits. Read more
Published 18 months ago by MSY
5.0 out of 5 stars My introduction to a musical that changed everything.
After I first heard this recording of The Threepenny Opera, my life was changed. I devoured everything Brecht and realized some interesting things about...well, humanity I guess. Read more
Published on September 24, 2011 by andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars The seminal production of the Three Penny Opera, purchased at Amazon
This production of the Three Penny Opera captures the spirit of the original production. The Blitzstein Adaption is responsible for that as is the excellent cast which includes... Read more
Published on September 21, 2010 by suefein
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great recordings period!
I have owned and listened to this recording longer than most of the readers of these words have been alive. I got it in 1956 shortly after it was released. Read more
Published on September 6, 2010 by Kelly Martino
5.0 out of 5 stars classic hard to find performance...marvelous
this is a hard to find performance, the original off broadway performance...but better yet would be the Papp Theater performance available from Sony reissued in 2009 of that... Read more
Published on February 7, 2010 by Charles Rotmil
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