Duration: 3 hours with interval
Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill created it in 1928, and in the same year they staged it in Berlin. It was first staged in Italy in 1956 by Giorgio Strehler, in the presence of Brecht, who died six months later.
We are speaking of The threepenny opera, “played continuously throughout the world – explains Damiano Michieletto – in the upcoming season alone, as well as ours, there will be productions in Vienna, Germany, France, Salzburg… one may say that the points of reference and comparison for a director are many, and above all, never ending, as there are endless attempts to approach this unique piece of Western theatrical history”.
The story of Peachum, of Low-dive Jenny, of Macheath, known as Mackie Messer, and of all the human variety which is the protagonist of The threepenny opera is based on The beggar’s opera written by John Gay in 1728. It was Elisabeth Hauptmann, Brecht’s long-time collaborator, who translated it from English into German and who suggested that the writer rewrote it in a contemporary key. “Without Hauptmann, we would not have The threepenny opera today – continues Michieletto – and it seems opportune to me to also remember her role as an excellent dramaturg, too often eclipsed by the presence of the two giants, Brecht and Weill”.
What will Damiano Michieletto’s Threepenny opera be like? “It will be The threepenny opera on trial. Because the script, from the beginning, is well suited to being read from many points of view – I’m thinking of those who follow the lines of the Marxist Brecht, and those who have chosen instead the pure entertainment factor of the Broadway musical – my idea is to put the Opera on trial, to tell the stories of the characters and at the same time analyse it, look at it through a magnifying glass. The fulcrum of my Opera is the trial of Mackie Messer, which becomes the filter through which to read the story and at the same time understand it. It is an attempt to deconstruct the story and rebuild it according to a specific circumstance, in order to create the necessary analytical distance. It will be a work on the characters carried out over a continuous recitative gap, where song creates a further and overwhelming break from the fabric and the circumstances of the story. A countdown, the story just before the sentence, of the three days or more over which the tale takes place, as though it was a case presented during a trial, with evidence, witnesses, and charges at the Old Bailey courthouse where the story comes to an end in the third act”.
Piccolo Teatro Strehler
from 19 April to 12 June 2016
The threepenny opera
By Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Damiano Michieletto
Music by Kurt Weill
Conductor Giuseppe Grazioli
Translation by Roberto Menin
Translation of songs by Damiano Michieletto
Text published by: Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin
Music published by: Universal Edition, Wien/Italian representative Casa Ricordi, Milan
Sets by Paolo Fantin, costumes by Carla Teti
lighting by Alessandro Carletti, choreographic movements Chiara Vecchi
|Un cantastorie||Giandomenico Cupaiuolo|
|Mackie Messer||Marco Foschi|
|Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum||Peppe Servillo|
|Celia Peachum||Margherita Di Rauso|
|Polly Peachum||Maria Roveran|
|Jackie “Tiger” Brown||Sergio Leone|
|Jenny delle spelonche||Rossy De Palma|
|Mathias||Pasquale Di Filippo|
|Reverendo Kimball||Luca Criscuoli|
|Filch/Smith, carceriere||Lorenzo Demaria|
With the Giuseppe Verdi Symphonic Orchestra of Milan
a Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa production
“The Threepenny Opera” forms part of the themed programme Ritorni al futuro (back to the future) that the Milan City Council is proposing for the 2016 cultural spring