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Kurt Weill

The Threepenny Opera

SubtitleEnglish translation of Die Dreigroschenoper by Robert MacDonald and Jeremy Sams
Text AuthorBertolt Brecht
TranslatorJeremy Sams
TranslatorRobert MacDonald
Instrumentationalto sax (fl, cl, bar. sax); ten. sax (sop. sax, bn, bass cl); tpt; tbn (double bass); banjo (cello, guitar, Hawaiian guitar, mandolin, bandoneon); timp/perc (tpt 2); harmonium (celesta, piano)
Durationfull evening, 65 minutes of music

Macheath (Mack the Knife), notorious bandit and womanizer, runs afoul of Jonathan Peachum when he marries Peachum's daughter Polly in a ceremony of doubtful legality. Peachum's resolve to have Mack sent to the gallows is complicated by the fact that Mack's old army buddy is the chief of police, Tiger Brown. Peachum and his wife commence a series of stratagems to ensnare Mack: bribing prostitutes to turn him in, exercising their influence over the police, and ultimately threatening to ruin the coronation of Queen Victoria by having all the beggars in London (whom Peachum controls) line the parade route. Mack is imprisoned, escapes, and is imprisoned again. When his hour of execution arrives, however, a mounted messenger appears with the Queen's reprieve, which includes a baronetcy and an annual pension of 10,000 pounds.


Singing roles: Street Singer, Macheath (tenor), J.J. Peachum (baritone), Mrs. Peachum (mezzo-soprano), Polly Peachum (soprano), Tiger Brown (bass-baritone), Lucy Brown (soprano), Jenny (mezzo-soprano), Constable Smith, ensemble. Speaking roles: Filch, the Rev. Kimball, the gang of thieves, beggars, prostitutes, policemen.

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