News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
January 27, 2021
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The Threepenny Opera

By Alexandra Glorioso
The Threepenny Opera Northwestern University - November 2005
Photo by Thomas Lee

Tues., Oct. 4 to Sat., Oct. 8: Robert Wilson directs Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera: US premiere production features the renowned Berliner Ensemble in honor of Bam’s 150th Anniversary

“A great masterpiece in which every single gesture is absolutely
sophisticated. It leaves one speechless.” —Berliner Zeitung

For five performances, BAM hosts the US premiere of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill’s 1928 musical masterwork, The Threepenny Opera, as directed by theater visionary Robert Wilson and performed by the Berliner Ensemble—a contemporary iteration of the ensemble Brecht founded in 1949 with his wife, actress Helene Weigel. A satire of capitalism complete with show tunes, Threepenny was adapted from John Gay’s 18th-century English ballad opera The Beggar’s Opera. Set in London’s Soho during the time of Queen Victoria’s coronation, it tells the story of bandit and womanizer Macheath’s (“Mac the Knife”) clashes with the law and assorted love interests. By the time Hitler’s rise to power forced Brecht and Weill to leave Germany in 1933 the play had been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages.

Wilson reimagines this well-known tale of greed and gangsters, prostitutes and the Peachum
family with his signature precision and boundless visual inventiveness—elements include a
striking geometric design incorporating neon lighting and exaggeratedly padded body suits. A live orchestra and critically acclaimed performances contribute to the creation of a singularly memorable production.

Grace Gealey as Jenny Diver in The Threepenny Opera

Tues., Oct. 4 to Sat., Oct. 8 : The Threepenny Opera
A play with music
In German with English titles
7:30pm. Tickets: $25, 40, 55, 75, 95 (weekday); $35, 50, 65, 85, 110 (weekend)
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
30 Lafayette Ave

Thurs., Oct 6: Iconic Artist Talk: Robert Wilson, moderated by Joseph V. Melillo
Interacting with selected original footage spanning four decades from the BAM Archive,
director Robert Wilson examines his vision with BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo.
Artist Talk: John Rockwell on The Threepenny Opera
6 p.m. Tickets: $20 ($10 for Friends of BAM)
BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave

Oct 8: Former New York Times chief dance and music critic and German cultural historian John Rockwell provides context for the production.
5 p.m., Tickets: $15 ($7.50 for Friends of BAM)
Hillman Attic Studio
Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave, 4th Floor

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