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Rave Reviews for Die Dreigroschenoper at the Legendary Berliner Ensemble

Sep. 01, 2021

Rave Reviews for <em>Die Dreigroschenoper</em> at the Legendary Berliner Ensemble

Opening to sold out performances and stellar reviews, the Berliner Ensemble’s new production of Kurt Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper is a bonafide hit. Hailed as “a phenomenal evening at the theater” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the production opened on August 13 in the same theater where the work first premiered in 1928. Director Barrie Kosky and musical director Adam Benzwi bring their immense expertise to the Weill-Brecht-Hauptmann “play with music,” along with a cast that includes Nico Holonics as Macheath, Cynthia Micas as Polly Peachum, Tilo Nest as Mr. Peachum, and 2012 Lenya Competition Finalist Nicky Wuchinger in his Berliner Ensemble debut. Additional performance dates can be found here.

Watch the behind the scenes video at the Berliner Ensemble featuring director Barrie Kosky and dramaturg Sibylle Baschung: 

(Berliner Ensemble - Behind the Scenes)


“The evening’s dominant feeling is sheer joy: people enjoy the music, and it’s a joy to watch the actors’ versatility. Also a joy is the clever simplicity of Brecht’s parables. As staged here, they are no longer covered with dust, no longer come across as didactic, but they gain a new allure through generous delivery.”
   一 Simon Strauss, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (August 16, 2021) 

“Kosky clearly understands the work: the social critiques that course through Brecht and Hauptmann’s crass text; the ways in which Weill’s earworm score lodges those ideas in your mind; and how, in its tension between words and music, Threepenny dares you to connect with it emotionally amid constant reminders of theatrical artifice.”
   一 Joshua Barone, New York Times (August 15, 2021)

“… therein lies the quality of the evening: a Dreigroschenoper of strong musicality. Barrie Kosky has staged a musical.  What happens between the musical numbers of course matters. But more important is that the hits sizzle. In Dreigroschenoper, one golden oldie chases the next.”
   一 Rüdiger Schape, Der Tagesspiegel (August 14, 2021)

“Of course Die Dreigroschenoper is not an opera, but Barrie Kosky is an opera director. And he is a passionate defender of the composer Kurt Weill, whom he even wants to see at a level with Richard Wagner. By the end of the premiere at the Berliner Ensemble, it became clear that the Australian-born Kosky is worried little about Bertolt Brecht’s whichever-utopias. Kosky staged a shrill revue about self-promoting, womanizing Mackie Messer. It is sheer entertainment, with jokes, tempo, class. The actors are great. At the end the audience rejoices, only the director has to take some boos.”
   一 Volker Blech, Berliner Morgenpost (August 14, 2021)

“The greatest revelation was the way Adam Benzwi got the singers to perform this music – with utmost casualness and linguistic detail. He allows everyone to change tempo at will, which makes the music breathe, and he really roughens things up with the band to make this Kurt Weill sound “raw” and exciting, not slick and overfamiliar.”
   一 Kevin Clarke, Operetta Research Center (August 14, 2021)

“One thing that becomes quickly palpable in the opening minutes is that for director Barrie Kosky, Intendant of the Komische Oper Berlin, Kurt Weill’s music is the most important thing in Dreigroschenoper. In any case, he has a high opinion of Weill… Kosky even grants him the same significance as Richard Wagner for the musical development of Germany… Brecht’s class warfare attitude, which despite today’s similar problems often comes across as oddly antiquated, is jolted forward by Weill’s music and the dramatic art of all the participants in the background. After many sluggish versions of Dreigroschenoper, Kosky’s version is now the most entertaining without coming across as flat.”
   一 Ursula Wiegand, Online Merker (August 21, 2021)

“The new Kosky edition of The Threepenny Opera will give the Berliner Ensemble a new box office hit, just as it did at the end of the 1920s.”
   一 Cora Knoblauch, RBB 24 (August 14, 2021)