Too Much Coffee Woman (bluebyrd) wrote,
Too Much Coffee Woman

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O, dieses Mahagonny!

I've never been one for Bertie Brecht. I actually got into a pretty nasty discussion about the merits of his work once, after a performance of Die Mutter in Berlin. Since recently, however, I seem to have emerged as a bit of a martyr of the proletariat - fired after less than a fortnight for being too vocal, both generally (heh) and in terms of complaints about working conditions - I figured my interest in Weimar-Republic culture really should start extending into its musical theatre.

The piece and DVD recording I went for (Gemeentebibliotheek Utrecht, how I adore thee) was the 1998 Salzburg Festival production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. I'd fully expected to sit through the whole thing once, maybe some parts twice, file the experience under "educational," or maybe "conversation pieces," and return the disc.

Instead, it blew me away. This is partially due to the efforts of Catherine Malfitano, Jerry Hadley and Dale Duesing (as Jenny, Jim Mahoney and Bill, respectively), but the music itself proved haunting in places where I'd been expecting catchy, and the satire actually hit home. Hard. Take the first part of the finale - a crowd in an American desert city chanting "We don't need no hurricane to destroy us, no typhoon - whatever nature can do to us, we can do to ourselves!" (O_o) Then after that, the "There's no helping a dead man" theme, centered around the electrocuted convict's body. I mean, wow.

Finally, the image that led me to retire Rodney and Liliana as my default avatar: Toby Spence in an impeccably outfitted cameo as the world's cutest widdle sociopath. Forgive me, Mr Spence, but I'm put in mind of Sinfest's Li'l Evil. Heh.

Oh, and Wilbur Pauley gets to sing the Bursar in Discworld: the Opera.
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