Opera in three acts by Kurt Weill
Text by Bertolt Brecht
Sung in Michael Feingold's English translation, copyright Stefan Brecht.
Performed by arrangement with European American Music Corp. (Alfred A. Kalmus Ltd)
Leokadja Begbick: Nuala Willis
Trinity Moses: John Gibbs
Fatty the Bookkeeper: Valentin Jar
Jenny Smith: Sherry Zannoth
Jimmy Mahoney: Theodore Spencer
Jack: Julian Pike
Bill: Richard Sutcliff
Alaska-Wolf Joe: John O'Flynn
Toby, a witness: Brendan Cavanagh
Six Girls: Jean Bailey, Helen Edwards, Glenys Groves, Inez de jaeger, Jane Metcalfe, Doreen O'Neill.
Men of Mahagonny: Neill Archer, Christopher Bull, Philip Cox, Harry Chambers, Richard Mitchell, James Norris, Gerard O'Beirne, John Pugh, Jonathan Veira
|Terry John Bates
The opera opens with three criminals, Begbick, Moses, and Fatty, who are on the run from the law. They arrive in Mahagonny, a city that they have founded in the middle of nowhere. The city is a place where people can indulge in their vices without any consequences. The three criminals are joined by other people who are looking for a place to escape from their problems. The act ends with the people of Mahagonny singing an ode to their city.
In the second act, we see how life in Mahagonny is like. The people indulge in drinking, gambling, and sex. Jimmy Mahoney arrives in Mahagonny and falls in love with Jenny Smith. He spends all his money on her and is unable to pay his bill at the bar. He is arrested and sentenced to death for not being able to pay his bill.
In the third act, Jimmy is put on trial for his crimes. He tries to delay his execution by reminding the people of Mahagonny that there is a God. They perform the play “God Comes to Mahagonny.” It tells how the Almighty condemns the town and is overthrown by its citizens, who declare that they can’t be sent to hell because they are already in hell.
In the final act, Jimmy is executed. The people of Mahagonny continue to indulge in their vices. They sing an ode to their city again. The opera ends with a warning that there will be other cities like Mahagonny.