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Weill: Rise & Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2011)

Measha Brueggergosman , Willard White , Andy Sommer  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Weill: Rise & Fall of the City of Mahagonny + Weill - Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny + The Threepenny Opera (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Measha Brueggergosman, Willard White, Michael König, John Easterlin, Otto Katzameier
  • Directors: Andy Sommer
  • Producers: Duplat
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Bel Air Classiques
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005FMQB4M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Jane Henschel, Willard White, Measha Brueggergosman, and Michael Koenig star in this La Fura dels Baus/Teatro Real production of the Weill opera conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(3)
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It don't get much better January 13, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was NOT prepared for this dvd. Diffidently (after all, what does Madrid know about Weill?), I ordered it simply to have another copy of MAHOGANNY, a work I adore.

Can you spell "schmuck"? That's what I was calling myself ten minutes into the performance. It is, simply, the most intelligent production of this "opera" I have seen (pray, be not impressed; I've seen only three others, but I've re-seen them many times).

Conducting: one couldn't wish for better. The cast: not one dud amoung them, not a one (check out Jenny's trill in "Moon of Alabama" - it is to swoon). The mise en scene? Oh, man, don't get me started. It's like a Broadway show; it's like the best of contemporary opera; it's like the old 60's days of the Living Theater. Yet it's too something "also" on which right now I can't put my finger. To borrow a phrase from Talulah B, it's a goddamn miracle. The chorus? Spot on.

Underlying all is the translation of Brecht's libretto into American English. It's superb, comperable to the translation (Blitzstein's ?) of the Threepenny Opera that put Weill/Brecht on the Manhattan scene back in the 50's. For a while my Inner Purist (who can be SUCH a bore!) fussed about losing the German...until I remembered that Weill, upon coming to Manhattan and claiming a historical place among Broadway's greats, being so ashamed of his native country rolling over for the Nazis, refused to speak a word of German. That made it all right. That made it OK. In this performance, Mahoganny, takes its place in musical history in an entirely new context: Weill in Manhattan. I think he would have loved it.

But all that's intellectual twaddle. If you have a love for Weill and his works, please do not deny yourself the pleasure of this performance.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good La Fura dels Baus production November 7, 2011
Format:Blu-ray
When it was originally composed in 1930, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht intended Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) to be as much a satire of opera and a reaction to the state of the Weimar Republic. Now, when taken alongside such like-minded work contemporary works by Hindemith and Berg, it just sounds like great opera - but it still functions as a scathing satire on all the subjects it deals with, particularly the nature of capitalism, on which it still has very relevant points to make. You can call it music theatre if you like, but Weill's score for Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is considerably more sophisticated than that, working in a variety of styles to create a deliberate alienating effect, drawing on specific references, creating dissonance and unsettling arrangements, using unexpected plot points to keep the listener engaged and keep them from complacently and unquestioningly accepting operatic conventions.

If you need any convincing that Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny can aspire to great opera however, this 2010 production at the Teatro Real in Madrid, directed by La Fura dels Baus might be just the ticket. Their unconventional approach to opera staging, which could even be considered anti-theatre, certainly has a Brechtian influence, so it's no surprise to find that that the Catalan group are absolutely perfect for this particular work. Directed by Alex Ollé and Carlus Padrissa, there are no projections this time - other than the titles of each of the sections (in Spanish here, not translated on the screen) - and no elaborate designs, no acrobatic wire work and no off-the-wall concepts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent September 12, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Like another reviewer, I was hesitant about a production that was not sung in the original German. Silly, silly me. This is a great production, complete with a couple of surprises. The singing is superb and the staging ingenious. I really love this.
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