Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny – Kurt Weill
Opera • New production
Greek National Opera – Stavros Niarchos Hall
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
PREMIERE 12 APRIL 2024
12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 25 Apr 2024
Conductor Miltos Logiadis
Director Yannis Houvardas
Sets Eva Manidaki
Costumes Ioanna Tsami
Lighting Reinhard Traub
Chorus master Agathangelos Georgakatos
In the lead roles: Anna Agathonos, Christos Kechris, Tassos Apostolou, Marissia Papalexiou, Yannis Kalyvas, Haris Andrianos, Yanni Yannissis
With Soloists, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera
With the Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera
A new production of this 20th-century masterpiece by Brecht and Weill is being staged by the great Greek theatre director –and former Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Greece– Yannis Houvardas. Following the huge success enjoyed by his 2018 production of Janáček’s The Makropulos Affair, Houvardas is returning to the Greek National Opera to present the “golden city of our dreams that crumbles to dust and is effaced before our very eyes” inside the Stavros Niarchos Hall at the SNFCC – a political take on the work, with “moments of exasperation and despair”.
This political-satirical opera with a libretto by Bertolt Brecht and music by Kurt Weill was first presented in Leipzig in 1930, but was banned by the Nazis just a few years later. The work traces the rise and fall of a city built for profit and pleasure, and is a critique of the capitalist system, as considered from within the ideological framework of inter-war Germany’s Weimar Republic.
Weill composed some of his best-known songs for this opera –including “Alabama Song” and “Benares Song”– that would go on to be pulled out and sung separately by world-famous performers – everyone from Lotte Lenya to The Doors and David Bowie.
As was common in the early decades of the 20th century, and against a backdrop of dialogue between classical and commercial music, Kurt Weill experimented with various forms, such as jazz and ragtime, that he incorporated into the music vocabulary of the work.
Yannis Houvardas notes the following about his new staging of this opera by Brecht and Weill:
“Let us set off at last for Mahagonny, the golden city of our dreams that lies along the Shores of Solace, far from the bustle of the world. Here, in Mahagonny, life is glorious. But even here, in Mahagonny, there are moments of exasperation and despair. The time has come to crushingly answer God’s questions about our sinful lives. Glorious Mahagonny crumbles to dust and is effaced before our very eyes. Inside the epic, spectacular, and resolutely artificial world forged by Brecht and Weill, global capitalism dances in the spurred boots of Texan pioneers while holding the long-barrelled pistols of Wild West gunfighters. And when it sings, it takes on the macho voice of John Wayne and the delicate breathiness of girls whiling away all their time –day and night– inside the drunken saloons.”
Ticket prices €15, €20, €35, €40, €50, €55, €65, €90
Students, children, reduced €15
Limited visibility seats €10