production dates

Spoleto51 Festival dei 2Mondi,
5-6 July 2008
Ubu Award 2009, Best Foreign Performance

Reggio Emilia, Teatro Romolo Valli
11-12 December 2010

photo©Lesley Leslie-Spinks

Set within the scum of criminality, prostitution and police corruption, this evergreen play blends the most bitter morality with an amusing fixture of alienation. The author seems to want to prove that the methods of criminality aren´t so different from those of gentlemen and powerful figures, separated mostly by a class struggle that makes thieves and crooks victims of the system. Famous for its paradigmatic characters and for its well-known songs, The Threepenny Opera is extremely fluid and enjoyable in its form but rich of implications and cultural and political references. Jonathan Peachum is a businessman specialized in selling beggars equipment. His business with "the poorest of poor" goes magnificently until one day he finds out that his daughter Polly has secretly married a gangster, Mackie Messer. Peachum is shocked. In spite of Polly´s wise advice, Mackie doesn´t leave town and even visits some prostitutes in Turnbridge who frame him. A death sentence seems inevitable, until a Queen´s Knight orders his release and offers him a noble title.
Wilson´s interpretation of Brecht to the Berliner Ensemble is comical, sensual, grotesque and perverted. He exploits the story in every aspect, depth and angle, turning the sequence upside down: first the images and movements, then the actor´s monologues and dialogues. Another great surprise is the execution of Kurt Weill’s music: the pirate ship is transformed into a sadistic child’s song, the "Kanonen-Song" between Macheath´s former gang and policeman Tiger Brown – a ballet of crazed puppets – is energetically clamorous.


by Bertolt Brecht
music by Kurt Weill
direction, set design and lighting concept by Robert Wilson
costume designer Jacques Reynaud
co-direction Ann-Christin Rommen
musical direction Hans-Jörn Brandenburg, Stefan Rager

Jürgen Holtz, Traute Hoess, Christina Drechsler, Stefan Kurt, Axel Werner, Anna Graenzer, Angela Winkler, Georgios Tsivanoglou, Mathias Znidarec, Martin Schneider, Boris Jacoby, Christopher Nell, Dejan Bucin, Jörg Thieme, Uli Plessmann, Heinrich Buttchereit, Janina Rudenska, Ruth Glöss, Ursula Höpfner-Tabori, Anke Engelsmann, Gabriele Völsch, Gerd Kunath, Walter Schmidinger

Ulrich Bartel: banjo, cello, guitar, hawaiian guitar, mandoline
Hans-Jörn Brandenburg: harmonium, piano, celesta
Tatjana Bulava: bandonéon
Martin Klingeberg: trumpet
Stefan Rager timbales: percussion
Jonas Schoen: saxophones, clarinette, basson
Benjamin Weidekamp: saxophones
Otwin Zipp: trombone, double bass

complete credit list