Ascent and case of the city Mahagonny

ascent and case of the city Mahagonny, briefly Mahagonny mentioned, is an opera in three documents (the mode division is missing in most later text editions). The music comes from briefly Weill, the libretto from Bertolt breaks. The opera became to 9. March 1930 in Leipzig uraufgeführt and has one Spieldauer of approximately 2 1/2 hours. The action plays in Mahagonny, a fictitious city in North America in the present.

Table of contents



2 flutes, oboes, clarinet in B, old saxophone into it, tenor saxophone in B, 2 bassoons (2. also retort bassoon), 2 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B, 2 trombones, tuba, bass drums, rammer, piano, Harmonium ad dear., banjo, bass guitar, Bandoneon, strike ago

on the stage:
2 piccolos, 2 clarinets in B, 3 saxophone, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in B, 2 trombones, tuba, rammer, piano, Zither, possibly. Xylophon, banjo, Bandoneon


first act

Leokadja Begbick; Willy, the attorney (called in the early versions of the opera Fatty); and Dreieinigkeitsmoses are on the escape before the Konstablern. They want to a coast, at which gold is found. But the car gets broken at the edge of a desert. They decide, since they can neither forwards nor back, to create a city: Mahagonny, “is called: Net city " (1,1), in that it the men, who come with money of the coast, evenly that assistance of bars and brothels from the bag to pull want. It is to prevail to peace and unity there.

And the city grows. With the dissatisfied ones out all Mr. Länder also four Holzfäller come from Alaska: Heinrich Merg, Joseph Lettner, the Jakobs Schmidt and Paul (Paule) field man (in the early versions: Sparbüchsenbilly, Alaskawolfjoe, Jack O'Brien and Jim (Jimmy Mahoney). They want to likewise become lucky in Mahagonny. Hardly arrived, Paul falls in love with the Hure Jenny. But also Mahagonny has its crises: The prices sink, the people leave. Paul dissatisfied, as it a sign sees with the label “is forbidden here…” and to all abundance a hurricane pulls toward Mahagonny. At this night Paule finds the law of the human luck blessedness: You may! The only one, which is forbidden: to have no money - whereupon the death penalty stands. Briefly before the destruction by a hurricane, he makes that one does not need a Taifun , in order to destroy, that to humans clear can humans very well alone. As example it sings directly, despite the prohibition a merry song.

second act

the hurricane approaches Mahagonny, the spectator experiences the way of the Taifuns by Radiomeldung. One minute before Mahagonny however makes the storm an elbow around the city and spares it. From now the new guidance saying in Mahagonny is called: You may!

The second act does not stand then under the slogan „first of all forgets, comes the food, secondly comes the love to, thirdly for boxes not forgotten, fourth drinking so long one can. Above all however it respects sharply that one may be allowed to do here everything. “Draws some consequences. Pauls friend Jakob over-eats at two calves, Joseph dies with price boxes against the Dreieinigkeitsmoses, after he had persuaded Paul to set its whole money on him. In the next scene Paul all men Mahagonnys spends a whisky . But when Begbick wants the payment of it, it occurs to it that he has no more money. Its own law becomes it the calamity. Since neither Jenny nor Heinrich want to pay for him, he is arrested.

third act

Pauls process begins on the next day. A man, who killed another, pays enough bribery, in order to be acquitted. But Paul does not have no more money and by all its still survivor friends is betrayed. Heinrich says: “Paul, you stands for me humanly near - however money is another thing”. Jenny states as a witness against it, although she was lucky with him. Begbick, which functions as Richterin, excavates several absurd charges against it: indirect murder at Joseph (two days prison), seduction Jennys (four years probationary period), disturbance of peace and unity (two years honouring loss), singing a merry song (ten years dungeons) and the main point of the accusation: Zechprellerei, for which the judgement the death penalty reads. Paule takes parting. Its execution becomes the cause of protests in Mahagonny. The city sinks finally in the chaos.


Weill describes a large elbow briefly in the composition of this opera, by presenting in the first act many topics around this in runs the action strand ever more complex to nesting and in the last final to the high point to lead.
Weill found briefly the counterparts for its own effort around directness of the statement in the exact types of the Brecht figures, and Bertolt break saw in Weill humans, who gave as a “ moral institute”, its relentless time and society criticism, its humanitarian Ethos the musical Untermalung to its conception of theatre.

Alabama Song

a song with Songcharakter, which is sung at the beginning of Jenny and six girls on the way into the net city. The girls lost homeland and security and to see their only chance of survival to sell itself to the men from Mahagonny to. They say good-bye to the moon and thus from hope for a better life, for romantic love and security. Weill creates expressing, sad Koloraturen in the solo voice Jennys a characteristic change between nostalgia and rather zynisch sounding speech singing.

The Songtext written in English language was published first 1927 in Brechts poem collection Hauspostille. The original poem has a male lyric I.

The Song was often worked on, among other things it was gecovert by the US-American skirt volume The Doors as well as the Swiss Industrialband The Young Gods.

on after Mahagonny

of the Song „on after Mahagonny “by four Holzfällern one sings, who want to squander their hard compiled money in the net city after seven-year-olds work in of Alaska forests. They are in überschwänglicher Vorfreude on the enticing offers the city. Also the motive of the moon emerges in the song of the men and shows very clearly that they have completely different expectations to the life than the women. The moon carries, from the view of the men, who are color of the American dollar and like everything else available. They scoff it and take to it each form of romance. In addition, the music carries the joyful tendency of the Holzfäller, refers to the distorted view of the men.

emergence the opera

ascent and case

of the city Mahagonny Mahagonny, a Songspiel from a Songspiel with the title , which Weill and Bertolt briefly break for a music celebration in Baden-Baden wrote, developed for developing and prescription ion history [ work on ]. The premiere found to 17. July 1927 instead of. The Songspiel consisted of five singing numbers, a sung Epilog and unites instrumentalen passages. A “action” in the dramaturgischen sense of the word is missing in this work.
Already before the completion of the Songspiels the two authors considered the possibility of reworking and of extending the material of the Songspiels to a evening-filling opera. The work on the libretto of this opera was directly begun. The libretto was essentially locked in the autumn 1927, and Weill worked then with its Vertonung until April 1929, temporarily interrupted by the work on the three-groschen opera in the summer 1928.
For the opera Weill the Songs from the Songspiel , which he transferred to the opera, for large orchestra instrumented ascent and case of the city Mahagonny again.


during the premiere in the new theatre Leipzig to 9. March 1930 came it to tumult in the auditorium. Trailers of the NSDAP, which accomplished a planned interfering reaction, fired a further part of the public to protests against the work up, why one could play the opera only with trouble to end.

God in Mahagonny

Mahagonny is after briefly Weill history of Sodom and Gomorrha. Similarly as the Biblical collecting main the city is to go down with all „fair ones and unfair ones “, as the widow expresses Begbick. The fate of the city is actually sealed not, as in the old person will, by an outside disaster, but by a revaluation of all human values, by the moral disaster. „Do everything today night is forbidden which, if the hurricane comes, makes it also so. “

Jim, the Protagonist of the new moral, is arranged after its own laws. Its death is copied in music text and the Kreuzigung Christi in nearly blasphemischer way. As motives at Bill ( Maria and Johannes), the last assistance call at God and the thirst and motive for vinegar on the oil mountain scene, the scoffing, the court scene, Jennys dip the delivery.

God emerges in the play in Mahagonny, shows up in its powerlessness and höhnisch the city is referred. On musical level Zitatverfremdungen are to be heard from Bach passion music to.

photographs/clay/tone carriers

  • ascent and case of the city Mahagonny, with north Germans the radio choir, north Germans the radio orchestra, line: William Brückner Rüggeberg, 1996 (CD with Sony music)
  • ascent and case of the city Mahagonny, with concert combination Viennese state opera State of, radio symphony orchestra Vienna, line: Dennis Russell Davies, 1998 (DVD with Naxos Germany)

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