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Coming up: 22.05.2013
As they flee the police, the widow Leocadia Begbick and two crooks become stranded in the desert. Unable to advance or retreat, they decide to found the city of Mahagonny. There, Widow Begbick employs a business model that is at once simple and profitable: men will become ensnared in the city’s web only to be relieved of their gold in its bars and bordellos. After seven years of hard labour spent in Alaska, lumberjack Jim Mahoney tries his luck in Mahagonny. He falls in love with a whore, Jenny Hill, and discovers the key to bliss: being able to do whatever he wishes. Only one thing is strictly forbidden in Mahagonny, being destitute, and Jim breaks that prime directive when is unable to pay his tab. As no one is prepared to settle his debts, the court sentences Jim to death.
The criticism of capitalism that motivates this political satire led to what was admittedly a staged theatrical scandal at its Leipzig premiere in 1930. A co-production between the Vlaamse Opera and the Opera in Graz, Catalan director Calixto Bieito has devised a performance that does not shrink from bringing to the stage Mahagonny’s gritty musical lyrics, such as “gluttony”, “sex”, “boxing” and “boozing” with drastic measures and excessive images. The explosiveness of this production, which today is more valid than ever, is presented with its original, unabashed directness.
Note: This performance is unsuitable for those under 16 years of age.