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The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

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3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  352 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (German: Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) is a political-satirical opera composed by Kurt Weill to a German libretto by Bertolt Brecht. It was first performed on 9 March 1930 at the Neues Theater in Leipzig.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 17th 1996 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1929)
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Jim
May 07, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, germany
Bertolt Brecht was not interested in engaging the audience's feelings: Rather, he was after what he called the verfremdungseffekt, the alienation effect. The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is about a Las Vegas-like city somewhere in the south, near Pensacola.

As one of the founders, Lady Begbick, predicts:
We will make it a snare
Plump little birds will be eager to enter,
Everywhere men must labor and sorrow,
Only here it is fun.
For the deepest craving of man is
Not to suffer but to do as he
...more
Andy
Jul 16, 2012 Andy rated it really liked it
Four working stiffs from Alaska travel to a bed of sin called Mahagonny (note the word "Agony"), a town eerily prophetic of Las Vegas. The boys blow all their dough,much debauchery ensues, culminating in the death of JJ Smith by overeating, Alaskawolf Joe by a fatal TKO in the ring, and Jimmy Gallagher's sentence to death by electrocution for being broke, his hard-earned pay bankrupted by drink, gambling and women in Mah-agonny.

First performed in 1930, Mahagonny was the drama world's "Rites of S
...more
Guilherme Bahia
Jun 04, 2015 Guilherme Bahia rated it really liked it
As a satire of capitalist societies, it's not subtle at all. But still it struck me as amusing and clever, even though I am far from sharing Brecht’s Marxist views, which he apparently already held, though somewhat unconsciously, when he wrote the text.

Mahagonny is a city in the United States run by gangsters. All that matters there is money. Life evolves around spending it for worldly pleasures or receiving it for all kinds of services. As we might expect from such a place, everything is for sa
...more
Tony
Feb 03, 2013 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY. (1955). Bertolt Brecht. ***.
This was the libretto to which Kurt Weill wrote the music. It is difficult to read an opera score with no music playing in the background, but, fortunately, I bought a recording of this work years ago. The most famous song to come out of it was “The Alabama Song,” which is best remembered when sung by Lotte Lenya. But all of this is beside the point. Brecht had a real purpose in writing this work. It was his comment on what
...more
Czarny Pies
Apr 19, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Shelves: german-lit
Il faut absolutment pas lire ce livre. Le Grandeur et décadence de la ville de Mahagonny est un des plus chefs-d'oeuvres de l'opera du Vingtieme siècle.

L'auteur du livret Bertolt Brecht qui se voulait un communiste engage dans la lutte des proletaires etait en realité un bon vivant dissolu. Cet opera raconte la naissance et la chute d'une regime bourgeois, americain et capitaliste. En fait c'est un hymne a la gloire de l'alcool, de la prostitution et la vice ce qui explique comment il a reussi a
...more
Mateo
Aug 28, 2008 Mateo is currently reading it
this is re - read and I re watch of the Salzburg Festival Performance available
at dowtown library, read half sitting in the isle my shoes off and some cops lingering
around thought they were gonna arrest me for my stinky feet, want to perform
this as a one person show in one room with one bucket for a prop (for the water of
the hurricane) - if this is ever performed go, also picked up the Jameson text on
Brecht bit thick though that too is a re-read. Berlin in the 20's...
Kurt
Jul 09, 2008 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful seemingly lesser know Brecht stage of the power of money and the evils and controls when corruption is the system. While the script itself merits a read, the production and music is what allows this to ascend to a great work. Kurt Weill and Brecht combine to use ragtime and jazz to set a oddly enjoyable rhythms to the jarring nature of the play. Also note the influence of the Alabama Song covered by the Doors. Oh don't ask why.
E7boehm
Oct 24, 2016 E7boehm rated it it was ok
Brecht seems to be dated and too dark, (I like dark) I like operas and reading operas but this was nearly unreadable for me ... Even with a WH Auden translation. Dark anti-capitalistic screed really!!!
Ali
Mar 26, 2007 Ali rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
اغلب اثار برتولد برشت به فارسی برگردانده شده؛ "سقراط مجروح" کیکاووس جهانداری / "در انبوه شهرها" عبدالرحمن صدریه / "استثناء و قاعده" محمود اعتماد زاده(م. به آذین) / "ان که گفت آری و آن که گفت نه" مصطفی رحیمی / زندگانی گالیله (گالیله ئو گالیله ئی) عبدالرحیم احمدی / "ترس و نکبت رایش سوم" شریف لنکرانی / "ننه دلاور و فرزندان او" مصطفی رحیمی / "آدم، آدم است" دو ترجمه از شریف لنکرانی و امین موید / "بچه فیل" و استنطاق لوکولوس" شریف لنکرانی / "زن نیک سچوان" دو ترجمه از فریده ی لاشایی و مهدی زمانیان / "دا ...more
Keith
Oct 11, 2014 Keith rated it liked it
The Rise and Fall of Mahagonny – *** This libretto does not reach the same heights as Brecht’s Galileo or Caucasian Chalk Circle, but it is a libretto and not a play. It features an irreverent and somewhat risqué satire on capitalism in which all things – including love – have a prices and are for sale. Alabama Song, covered by such luminaries as David Bowie and Jim Morrison, is dark, quirky drinking song featured in the opera. Not a must-read, but if you like Brecht’s and Weill’s other works, t ...more
Joje
Aug 07, 2012 Joje rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This play (musical?) played a large part in my studies and experience of the theater, which would put it up with most Shakespeare in the stars, but as a play it moves down a tad bit. I consider the Dreigrosschenoper the better and more influential play, but I love them equally and know the songs of both. Maybe put Mutter Courage at 5, these 2 at 4, which is fine. If some of my latest readings are 5 stars, then these are equivalent, certainly, but the stars hardly matter. I've seen it at least on ...more
Sarah Mc
May 10, 2015 Sarah Mc rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-reads
I found it rather dull, had to read it for a college design project. However it is an opera, so it is meant to be seen and heard not read, I'd imagine seeing it preformed would breadth life into it. Some interesting characters, not one has a redeeming quality to his name (which is refreshing in a way), the main character is an anti-hero. It is a political-satire, so if you have any interest in corrupt politics you may enjoy this, although I'd encourage you to see it on stage rather than just rea ...more
pax
Der Text der Oper selbst ist OK - das, was von Brecht eben erwartet wird; gut lesbar, aber kein Muss, das wären dann andere, bekanntere Stücke. Dann kommen allerdings die Anmerkungen Brechts, kurze Gedanken zu Oper und letztendlich zur Kunst, vor allem zur Kunst als Ware. Und es scheint, als hätte er diese nicht vor 80 Jahren sondern jetzt geschrieben, nicht (nur) über Oper, sondern auch über die Literatur und den Büchermarkt [sic!] heute. Kurzum: viel zu treffend und viel zu schmerzhaft und ger ...more
Helen Mccarthy
Apr 18, 2013 Helen Mccarthy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually only read Galileo, and it was in a single volume. The play dramatizes Galileo's circumstances and spiritual conflict between his knowledge and understanding of the heliocentric structure of the solar system, which clashed with the Christian church. He was forced to recant his scientific findings but was kept in house arrest for the rest of his life. Brecht draws out his dilemna exceptionally well - it is a very famous play.
B
Oct 20, 2015 B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Parts of this—very small and infrequent parts—are very funny. Th politics and message of this are a mess. Not a mess as in I disagree, but a mess as in "what is the point?"

The introduction is interesting but not useful.

Because it's an opera, it's not in the greatest straight-reading style.
Krisz
Mar 22, 2014 Krisz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magyarul
Hmm, I don't ubderstand the concept of the collection, how can so many plays feature on 142 pages?
Anyway, I read The Threepenny Novel (the novel, not the play) by Brecht and it was quite an eye-opener, I truly enjoyed it. I was really sorry for the soldier figure :(
Héctor Toledo
Héctor Toledo rated it liked it
Apr 06, 2016
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Anthony Land rated it really liked it
May 19, 2013
Emanuel Levi
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Nov 23, 2013
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Dec 30, 2016
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Nov 01, 2016
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Margarida Botelho rated it it was ok
May 26, 2016
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Aug 15, 2012
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Laura Grodin rated it it was amazing
Jun 02, 2014
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Jun 16, 2008
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Nikolas rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2012
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Bertolt Brecht (born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director. A seminal theatre practitioner of the twentieth century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble—the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht a ...more
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“Wozu Türme bauen wie der Himalaja
Wenn man sie nicht umwerfen kann
Damit es ein Gelächter gibt?”
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