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- Recorded live at Los Angeles Opera, 1 & 4 March 2007 - Picture Format: NTSC · 16:9 anamorphic - Sound Formats: PCM Stereo · Dolby Digital 5.1 · DTS 5.1 - Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish - Booklet Notes: English, German, French - Bonus feature: "James Conlon on Mahagonny"
Brecht's text is very much of its time, the late 1920's. The city of Mahagonny is a vision--really a nightmare--of capitalist greed where sin flourishes, money is all, and poverty is a crime. On the run from the police, Begbick and her accomplices are stalled in the desert and decide to build a city "where anything goes." Soon the place is booming, with money tossed around aimlessly. But money doesn't bring happiness when love is a commodity and license to do anything turns into boredom. When the city survives the threat of a typhoon, the people binge, celebrating to an excess of eating, loving, fighting, and drinking. When Jimmy can't pay his liquor bill he's condemned to death.
While Brecht's vision of theatre distances the audience, stage director John Doyle's stylistically minimalist production allows room for emotional impact, primarily through the affecting acting of McDonald and Griffey, whose death scene is moving in its simple staging. Against designer Mark Bailey's non-realistic sets that suggest, rather than portray, the city, Doyle deploys his cast in expressionistic modes, often lined across the stage directly addressing the audience. And Brecht would have approved the contemporary references sprinkled through the production--the sin city in the desert recalls Las Vegas' transformation into a gambling mecca in the 1950s, and after Jimmy's execution, his paramour Jenny is presented with a neatly folded flag reminiscent of military burials. The DVD production faithfully tracks the stage action, wisely pulling back for full stage views as well as providing sufficient close-ups of the action. The opera is done in Michael Feingold's idiomatic translation but it would have been helpful to have English subtitles. An extra bonus track is a cogent interview with conductor James Conlon, who provides valuable analysis of the opera and its context. --Dan Davis
Mahagonny has a wonderfully melodic score that shows the influence of many popular genres of the period such as jazz and cabaret music, yet it is a very bleak work. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Surreybloke
Enjoyed this film very much and am pleased to have found it. This is not a lightweight, simple work (after all it's Weill) but it is worth the effort.Published on May 8, 2013 by D. Martin
The cover indicates that this DVD is subtitled in French, German and English, but instead it is in French German and Spanish. Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by Maudie
Holy cow! A totally integrated presentation: music (awesome), interpreters (perfect) and staging (with the right amount of minimalism, so one can concentrate on political... Read morePublished on October 28, 2011 by Alfredo R. Villanueva
The most astonishing part of this DVD is that although it has Spanish, French and German subtitles, it does not have English ones. Read morePublished on November 21, 2009 by Anna Shlimovich
Saw this production in LA, and after three attentive viewings at home, the music of Kurt Weill comes through as a vanguard in the avant garde music of the 1930. Read morePublished on August 4, 2008 by Harry Philips
I've long been a fan of the Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht opera "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Read morePublished on January 2, 2008 by Dean R. Brierly
This was a pleasant enough production but what was the point of a "new" English translation? There already is a fine English version of this opera, as performed by NY's... Read morePublished on December 24, 2007 by Sgt. Greg Parker