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The Threepenny Opera

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,298 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
The Threepenny Opera was Brecht's first and greatest commercial success, and it remains one of his best-loved and most-performed plays. Based on John Gay's eighteenth-century Beggar's Opera, the play is set in Victorian England's Soho but satirizes the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic through its wry love story of Polly Peachum and "Mack the Knife" Macheath. With K ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1928)
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Steven  Godin
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: german, plays-drama
First performed in Berlin 1928 this play had been initially received poorly, but went on to great success, by 1933, when Brecht was forced to leave Germany by the Nazi seizure of power, the play had been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages, quite an accomplishment. The play offers a socialist view of Capitalism and takes place in London centering on one Jonathan Peachum who happens to be the boss of beggars. With the help of his wife he enrolls a ...more
Mahdi Bigdeli
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it
انسان با چه زندگی میکند؟ بیوقفه در حال شکنجه کردن، محروم ساختن، تکه پاره کردن، بریدن سر و دریدن انسان است.
انسان تنها در فراموشی زندگی می کند و بی وقفه فراموش می کند که انسان است.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a hardcore boho 'Beat' kid, I was raised with the soundtrack of Kurt Weil/Bertolt Brecht's "Threepenny Opera." In fact, Lotte Lenya was probably the first singing voice I heard after my Mom - who used to sing to me when I was a little child.

Many years later I read the play/musical and was taken back at its cynical look in how society works. It's an amazing piece of theater and the music is and will always be superb.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Duro, spietato e allo steso tempo ironico e surreale. E' la vita del sottobosco umano, in cui il più sano ha la rogna... Forte la messa alla berlina della società dell'epoca, sono curiosa di vederlo rappresentato a teatro.
Ahmad Sharabiani
در «اپرای سه پولی» که نام نمایشنامه ای از برشت است. برشت به جامعهء بورژوازی میتازد، و با اشعار شیطنت آمیز و سلاح تمسخر به همهء آنها توهین میکند. ا. شربیانی
Clubbed me over the head with it's ideology. Headache.

(Die Subtilität geht solange zum Theater, bis sie Brecht.

Das Brecht auf Meinungsfreiheit.

Aua, aua, mein Kopf.)
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was soll man zu solch einem Klassiker groß sagen, wenn man keine ausführliche Rezension schreiben will, es ist halt die Dreigroschenoper und allein vom Personal her schon ganz wunderbarer Stoff für Krimileser. Aber das Stück gehört halt auf die Bühne, das Lesen ist fein, aber im Theater macht es mehr her. Rein zur Lektüre bleibt ja da noch der Dreigroschenroman.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
English translation of a German play about bourgeois criminals, entertaining hybrids, middle management dressed in gutter rags. It was originally put on just before WWII in a Berlin dancing decadently on the edge of the abyss, and is in some ways apt for the current (Jan 2009) bankrupt America I live in today. I sincerely hope our current decline is not as brutal, nor our fall nearly as hard. Perhaps there is a prayer in reservation, some old medicine that might ward off the approaching reckonin ...more
Oct 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classic, theatre
2/10. I understand that this is one of the Great Masters of Theatre. I learned in class that Brecht made a tremendous impact on theatre and started his own theatrical tradition. I also learned that the whole signs-device and didactical bits were very novel in his time. But it really, really disappointed all of my expectations. I even saw it live and it definitely was a flop. It did not deliver on any of the promised scandal or excitement. The musical pieces were random and did not add much. The ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
This play with the fun poems and songs and the colorful characters was really enjoyable to read even in translation. This play would be really enjoyable to catch in a theater. Written in 1920s Weimar Germany and set in Victorian England among demi-monde scenes of performers, low lifes and cut throats it is a really entertaining play with a leftish political message. A lot of fun.
Garrett Zecker
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
I have to say that this is one of the greatest things I have ever read. It is a play that is a fantastic reflection on the gutterly people that inhabit every city, and it shows a compassionate, entertaining reflection of them that criticizes the bourgeois and those in power. I think it also correctly showcases the true monster that is the human man. I think that, no matter what the man we are talking about, we all have the spirits of Mackie and Peachum buried somewhere in our hearts. This is a d ...more
Czarny Pies
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Czarny by: Mom and Dad who saw it on Broadway.
Shelves: german-lit
Take the first chance you can to attend a performance of this fabulous operetta with words by Bertolt Brecht and music by Kurt Weil. It is one of the greatest works written for the stage in the twentieth century. Performers of even the most modest talent always seem able to rise to the occasion and delight the audiences.

My mother who saw the great Jerry Orbach perform in it in 1955 during its intial Broadway run was still talking about it fifty years afterwards. For my part I like to tell people
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I read this I was already familiar with both Kurt Weill's music and the original Gay's Beggars' Opera that was inspiration for Brecht. The street life with characters like MacHeath and Jenny comes alive in Brecht's drama. Weimar culture was home to many artists who challenge both tradition and the conventional view of life. Inspired by their imagination and the political-economic upheaval that was taking place in this era artists like Brecht and Weill were changing the nature of theater and ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: player
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me about two days to finish Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, something I could have done even sooner had it been a pure dramatic piece. It’s not, as most will know — it’s a musical, and as such, it was necessary for me to listen to every song that I came across. I wanted a feel for Kurt Weill’s compositions and how he came to approach each number, and fortunately I found plenty to enjoy in that respect. From the opening, familiar strains of “Ballad of Mac the Knife” to the ebullien ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Hamdy
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned

المجموعة : مــدد مـدد يـاأهــل الـخـطــوة يـــا أهـــــل الــكــرامـــة والـحــــظــــــوة

الــمغـنــى : أبـو مـطـوة زعيم الحرامـيــة ســلـــطــان زمــانــــه ولــــه أنـــصـــــار
انـصاره جـنس لومـانــجـيـة عـــفــاريــت عــنـيــهــا تــطـق شـــــرار

أبــو مـطوة كل الناس عارفاه و عـــارفـة إن مــــعــــاه مــــــطــــــــوه
ولا حــد عمره شافــها معـــاه وهــــــــو ده لــــغـــــز الـمـــطــــــــــوة

أبو مـــطوة جـاع لم الجـعانين عـمـلــوه علـيـهـم شــــــيـــخ منـصـــــــر
بقــى عــنده جيش م النشال
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mack the Knife, as performed by Louis Armstrong.

I'd never heard of The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht, Lotte Lenya, or Sweet Lucy Brown, so I have to thank The Dog's Bollox for that. I was only passingly familiar with Louis Armstrong's Mack the Knife - which is to say, not familiar at all.

I talked to my dad about the song, and he said he only really listened to the Bobby Darin version, but didn't understand half the song.

Certainly the song makes more sense if you know who Macheath is.

Having r
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
There are so many things running through my mind now, as I am writing this review. I have never been so uncertain about a rating ever. In a moment, I want to give it 2 stars, then I wanna give it 5, then... ah, insane.

First of all, I have to admit that I have heard the music score a long time before actually reading the play. And I love it. The melodies, the rhythm, the lyrics... ah. And then, I have actually seen it on stage a bit later. And now the play. My own memories fight with each other.
Christian McKay
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: runner-ups
Yes, I only watched the movie, but the adapted play is out of print and it was way too good not to write a review on it.

I came across The Three Penny Opera in the nerdiest way possible. Yup, the comic route. The most recent volume of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has beggars and prostitutes belting out heart-wrenching opera of cutting morality and justified anger.

This isn't the first time Moore has led me to fine literature/stage work. After reading the first two volumes of Leag
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
أحمد صــــلاح
الأوبريت نوع من المسرحيات الغنائية كان محبوباً في الفترة بين أواسط القرن التاسع عشر حتى العشرينيات من القرن العشرين الميلادي. تطور الأوبريت من الأوبرا الهزلية الفرنسية ولكنه يختلف عنها في أنه يحتوي على حوار كلامي بدلاً من الحوار الغنائي، وعلى أغاني بدلاً من ألحان. وغالباً ما تكون مقدمة الأوبريت خليطاً من أغان منتزعة من العرض وليست شيئاً مؤلفاً مستقلاً كما هو الحال في الأوبرا.

الغرض من الأوبريت هو الترفيه وإدخال السرور على النفوس وليس إثارة العواطف القوية أو الكشف عن قضايا مهمة أو مناقشة قضية ذهني
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oy. I know. I basically stopped reading in November. That isn't the case though. I was reading a few other things but had tons of work to do (fucking end of semester!). Anyway I read this play quite quickly. I enjoyed it a lot. Our final full reading assignment for my arts and ideas course. It illustrates Weimar Berlin to a tee and also taught me a lot about the German anti-illusionist theater. I love the whole concept, I am even considering joining our German theater troupe next year so I can a ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera is utterly brilliant, a brilliance you notice on the first page all the way to the last page. Its characters as whimsical as they are feel just as real as a person walking down the street. The Threepenny Opera has layer after layer of moral and political points of view that I could spend hours going into but its most prominent moral insight is that although Mackie the knife; thief, murder and crime lord, is eventually caught for his crimes. A character born ...more
Raymond Walker
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Known (i suppose) more for the creation of mack the knife (later to become a popular song) and brecht for his art; this has much more to offer than at first appears. It can be brutal and as damaging as life could be then but tis' not without its humanity from unlooked for sources. Its nature is shocked and dirty much as any dickens novel could be seen from the outside. Harshness then was just a fact of life and brecht saw it as such. An arbitary force from heaven sent to make us all need redempt ...more
Mar 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
اپرای سه پولی، در شکل اولیه، یک موزیکال است. برشت این نمایش نامه را بر مبنای یک اپرای انگلیسی نوشته که داستانش در دوران ویکتوریا در لندن اتفاق می افتد. ماچس علیرغم مخالفت "پیچام" که یک باند گدا را در لندن اداره می کند، با دختر او "پولی پیچام" ازدواج می کند. آقای پیچام از تمام قدرت و نفوذ خود استفاده می کند تا ماچس را به پای دار بکشاند. با وجودی که "تایگر براون"، رییس پلیس و دوست دوران سربازی ماچس، تلاش می کند تا او را از مخمصه برهاند، اما پیچام بالاخره موفق می شود ماچس را به پشت میله ها و پای چو ...more
Nov 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
"Ihr Herrn, die ihr uns lehrt, wie man brav leben/
Und Sünd und Missetat vermeiden kann/
Zuerst müßt ihr uns was zu fressen geben/
Dann könnt ihr reden: damit fängt es an./
Ihr, die ihr euren Wanst und unsre Bravheit liebt/
Dies eine wisset ein für alle mal:/
Wie ihr es immer dreht und wie ihr's immer schiebt/
Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral./"

Was mir an der Dreigroschenoper so gut gefallen hat, ist, dass sie nicht (nur) von Recht und Unrecht handelt, sondern vor allem auch von den Charakt
Greg Kerestan
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If "Oliver Twist" were reimagined by Tim Burton, you would get the savage satire of "The Threepenny Opera." Easily one of the greatest musicals ever written both onstage and as a piece of literature, Brecht and Weill's fierce, nihilistic humor depicts a world, only slightly exaggerated from our own, where everything from human suffering to the coronation of the Queen is monetized, rigged and profiteered. It's a man's world in which women learn to wield power by manipulating men, and where men fe ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can you believe that I read a book that had absolutely nothing to do with food or the old "how to be a better woman for my man" books that I can't seem to stop laughing at (and giving my female friends "advice" from)!? I know that I can't!

I picked up this book at Small World Books in Rochester, NY while on a trip that I made out that way specifically for used book shopping. Admittedly, I only purchased it because I knew that two songstresses that I rather adore (Nellie McKay and Cyndi Lauper) ha
Víctor Sampayo
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El cabecilla de todos los falsos mendigos de Londres mueve todas sus influencias con la justicia —amenazas incluidas— para perseguir al cabecilla de una banda de ladrones, gracias a que éste último —amigo del jefe de policía y gran aficionado a los lupanares— ha decidido seducir y casarse con la hija del primero. La ópera de dos centavos es una suerte de comedia musical canallesca y con gran contenido de humor negro que se habría llevado sus 5 estrellotas de no haber sido por ese final hasta cie ...more
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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
More about Bertolt Brecht...
“Denn die einen sind im Dunkeln
Und die anderen sind im Licht.
Und man sieht nur die im Lichte
Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht.”
“يا حارس السجن ليه خايف من المسجون
هي الحيطان اللي بينا قش يا ملعون
و لا السلاسل ورق و لا السجين شمشون”
More quotes…