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Weill: Der Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera)

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

Price: £9.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Performer: Lotte Lenya, Willy Trenk-Trebitsch, Trude Hesterburg, Johanna von Kóczián
  • Orchestra: Arndt Choir, Radio Free Berlin Dance Orchestra
  • Conductor: Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg
  • Composer: Kurt Weill
  • Audio CD (19 Jun. 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Masterworks
  • ASIN: B0000268VJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,627 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. You are about to hear an opera for beggars
  2. The Ballad of Mack the Knife
  3. Mr. Peachums's Morning Hymn
  4. Instead - of Song
  5. Wedding Song for poor People
  6. Cannon Song
  7. Love Song
  8. The Song of No and Yes (Barbara - Song)
  9. The Uncertainty of Human conditions
  10. The Stable
  11. Pollys Farwell Song
  12. Intermezzo
  13. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
  14. Pirate-Jenny or Dream of a Kitchen Maid
  15. The Procurer's Ballad
  16. The Ballad of Pleasant Living
  17. The Jealously Duet
  18. Fight about the Property
  19. Ballad about the Question: What keeps a Man alive?
  20. The Song about inadequacy
  21. Song of Solomon
  22. Call from the grave
  23. Ballad in which Macheath asks everyone for Forgiveness
  24. The Riding Messenger
  25. Threepenny Finale
  26. The Final Verses of the Ballad

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

After a sucsession of fairly weak recordings of Weill's masterpiece this is the one I return too always. Although the sound quality is of the 1950s (very listenable though) this is by far the recording that I believe best captures the composers intentions. The singing is imprecise but charecterfull. Mack Heath is fantasic - deep voiced, menacing and very slimey. Lotte Lenya as the prostitute Jenny is brilliant as ever, looking forward to the day when she can storm the brothel where she works with a pirate ship and have all her clients executed. Modern, serious operatic recordings seem to miss the point altogether and take the fun and drama out of the Threepenny. This is an opera for beggars and should be approached as such.
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I had this recording on LP and then bought it on CD. Quite wonderful. I think no one quite gets it right as does Wolfgang Neuss who is the Moritatensänger and who sings the Moritat von Mackie Messer. I've seen the opera performed in Berlin in the Schiffbauerdamm theatre where it was originally premiered in 1928 and the Germans are the experts on this. The stage performance matched this recording as far as I could tell despite the lengthy dialogue that seems to be missing from all the sound recordings.
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A generally first-rate performance of the piece utterly ruined for this listener by the wrong-headed and completely inappropriate interpretation of Lotte Lenya in the role of Jenny. Yes, I know the history of Weill and Lenya. And I have heard the young Lenya on the original cast discs, when she sings in the written soprano keys, and have no quibble with her performance there. There as here, she appropriates Polly's 'Seeräuberjenny', but otherwise has little to sing - the 'Salomonsong' is cut, and the second finale features Macheath only (Mrs Peachum's verse is cut) as originally intended - the later reallocation of this to Macheath and Jenny is one of the myriad changes Brecht foisted on the piece after the first run, and has nothing to do with Weill at all. But here Lenya gets this too, and very nasty it sounds. Try Helga Dernesch and Rene Kollo to hear how this, one of the finest songs in the show, can sound.

The problem for me with Lenya is that she sounds elderly, tired and feeble, and the downward transpositions do irreversible damage to the musical character of the pieces in which she sings. Of course, at one time she was seen as the guardian of the flame as far as her husband's work was concerned, but later performances using the original voice types have revealed that this is a fallacy.

Sorry to disagree with those who see Lenya as next to God in the Weill discography, but there it is.

At least this is not quite as bad as the contemporaneous 'Mahagonny', where Lenya's Jenny is simply grotesque with its octave down transpositions. Shame there, too, as like here, the rest of the cast is strong, and indeed the Jimmy is probably the finest interpreter of the role on disc.
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One of the greatest recordings of "cabaret opera" of all time. Notwithstanding the questions about how Lotte Lenya's voice had changed between the original production and this later recording (one octave lower), the sense of the period and the political energies which fuelled the original remain very powerful and it is the benchmark against which later productions are judged (and usually fail).
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