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Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Electrifying” Interpretation of Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny

Jul. 15, 2019

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Electrifying” Interpretation of Kurt Weill’s <em>Mahagonny</em>

This summer’s highly anticipated new production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, directed by Ivo van Hove and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, premiered on July 6 at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Press reviews of the performance unanimously lauded Salonen’s interpretation. Le Monde described it as “electrifying.”

Writing in The New York Times, Joshua Barone enthused that Salonen’s “conducting of Weill’s score may be the finest I’ve heard” and reported that Mr. Salonen’s interpretation “throughout the performance was intelligently alert to Weill’s dance-inspired rhythms—and energetic, with a fleetness to match the pace of epic theater.” 


This first ever collaboration between van Hove and Salonen has attracted notice and co-producers from around the world. After further performances in Aix on 9, 11 and 15 July, the production moves to Dutch National Opera in March 2020. Additional co-producers include Opera Vlaanderen and Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, on the way to the Metropolitan Opera for the first performances of a new Mahagonny since John Dexter’s production in 1979.

(Exerpt from Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny/Oper Köln/
Katharina Thalbach, director/Lothar Koenigs, conductor)

To learn more about Kurt Weill, please visit

Kurt Weill
Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1927/29)
opera in three acts
text (Ger) by Bertolt Brecht
English translation by Jeremy Sams
S, Mz, 3T, 2Bar, B; chorus and orchestra
2(2pic)1.1.ssax.asax.tsax.2(cbsn)- ad lib.banjo.bass gtr.bandoneon-str
Stage orchestra: 2(2pic).2.3sax(ssax, asax, tsax).2- or xyl.banjo.bandoneon-3 vn
full evening