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The Threepenny Opera (Modern Classics Book 2)

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The Threepenny Opera was Brecht's first and greatest commercial success, and it remains one of his best-loved and most-performed plays. Based on John Gay's eighteenth-century Beggar's Opera, the play is set in Victorian England's Soho but satirizes the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic through its wry love story of Polly Peachum and "Mack the Knife" Macheath. With K The Threepenny Opera was Brecht's first and greatest commercial success, and it remains one of his best-loved and most-performed plays. Based on John Gay's eighteenth-century Beggar's Opera, the play is set in Victorian England's Soho but satirizes the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic through its wry love story of Polly Peachum and "Mack the Knife" Macheath. With Kurt Weill's music, which was one of the earliest and most successful attempts to introduce jazz into the theater, it became a popular hit throughout the Western world. Commissioned and authorized by the Brecht estate, Arcade's definitive edition contains the acclaimed translation by Ralph Manheim and John Willett that was first staged at the York Theatre Royal and subsequently at Lincoln Center in New York. Willett and Manheim, the joint editors of Brecht's complete dramatic work in English, also provide Brecht's own notes and discarded songs, as well as extensive editorial commentary on the genesis of the play.


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The Threepenny Opera was Brecht's first and greatest commercial success, and it remains one of his best-loved and most-performed plays. Based on John Gay's eighteenth-century Beggar's Opera, the play is set in Victorian England's Soho but satirizes the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic through its wry love story of Polly Peachum and "Mack the Knife" Macheath. With K The Threepenny Opera was Brecht's first and greatest commercial success, and it remains one of his best-loved and most-performed plays. Based on John Gay's eighteenth-century Beggar's Opera, the play is set in Victorian England's Soho but satirizes the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic through its wry love story of Polly Peachum and "Mack the Knife" Macheath. With Kurt Weill's music, which was one of the earliest and most successful attempts to introduce jazz into the theater, it became a popular hit throughout the Western world. Commissioned and authorized by the Brecht estate, Arcade's definitive edition contains the acclaimed translation by Ralph Manheim and John Willett that was first staged at the York Theatre Royal and subsequently at Lincoln Center in New York. Willett and Manheim, the joint editors of Brecht's complete dramatic work in English, also provide Brecht's own notes and discarded songs, as well as extensive editorial commentary on the genesis of the play.

30 review for The Threepenny Opera (Modern Classics Book 2)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    First performed in Berlin 1928 this play had been initially received poorly, but went on to great success, by 1933, when Brecht was forced to leave Germany by the Nazi seizure of power, the play had been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages, quite an accomplishment. The play offers a socialist view of Capitalism and takes place in London centering on one Jonathan Peachum who happens to be the boss of beggars. With the help of his wife he enrolls a First performed in Berlin 1928 this play had been initially received poorly, but went on to great success, by 1933, when Brecht was forced to leave Germany by the Nazi seizure of power, the play had been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages, quite an accomplishment. The play offers a socialist view of Capitalism and takes place in London centering on one Jonathan Peachum who happens to be the boss of beggars. With the help of his wife he enrolls a new beggar, but soon after, his daughter Polly does not come from the previous night, leading a run in with gangs and the law. As this was a play, reading was never going to match the real thing, especially as it contains music, but with a little imagination it's not hard to think what it would have been like up on stage, even whilst early Nazism looked on with evil eyes, and the fact Brecht used his plays to express his outrage and opposition to the National Socialist and Fascist movements, shows he was an important voice for those being oppressed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meike

    With the "Threepenny Opera", Brecht unintentionally undermined his own poetic concept of the "epic theater" by having Kurt Weill compose some of the most stirring songs ever written in German. Brecht's theatrical concept was to turn away from illusion and immersion and to confront audiences with political realities and then discuss them dialectically in the course of the play - i.e., he wanted his audience to leave the theatre not entranced, but full of new awareness. So while the texts of the " With the "Threepenny Opera", Brecht unintentionally undermined his own poetic concept of the "epic theater" by having Kurt Weill compose some of the most stirring songs ever written in German. Brecht's theatrical concept was to turn away from illusion and immersion and to confront audiences with political realities and then discuss them dialectically in the course of the play - i.e., he wanted his audience to leave the theatre not entranced, but full of new awareness. So while the texts of the "Threepenny Opera" are clearly written with this goal in mind, the reason why it became and has stayed so immensely popular is the accessible and rousing music - the combination of societal criticism and musical extravaganza was fresh and exciting when the musical drama (it's not really an opera) was first staged in Berlin in 1928. While the story itself takes place in Victorian England (it was modeled after John Gay's The Beggar's Opera), Brecht citicizes his contemporary society in the Weimar Republic. The texts discuss the hybris of the bourgeoisie and how crime is a systemic problem in which the rich and the poor are entangled, but for different reasons. The story stars iconic characters like Mack the Knife (Mackie Messer), Low-Dive Jenny (Spelunken-Jenny) and Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum, the king of the beggars. I am generally critical of Brecht's heightened pedagocical impetus because it is sometimes short of condescension, and the aforementioned poetic concept also tends to lead to the creation of two-dimensional characters for the sake of argument, so honestly, I don't think it's a particularly well-crafted story, but the music counterbalances and elevates it to a degree that turns it into a must-hear. And to be fair to old Berti, there are also some good punchlines: Every German knows the saying "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral" ("First comes the feeding, then morality") which means that it is easy for the well-situated to condemn the wrongdoings of the hungry and the desperate ("You gentlemen who tell us/ how to live properly,/ and how to avoid all sins and wrongdoings:/ First you must give us food,/ then we can talk./ (...) First comes the feeding, then morality." - sorry for the clumsy translation). So do yourself a favor: Don't read this, listen to it or, even better, watch it live. Here are some links to the most popular songs: "Die Moritate von Mackie Messer", sung by Brecht himself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QXJ3... English version "Mack the Knife", sung by Louis Armstrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-lHr... "Die Seeräuber-Jenny", sung by Lotte Lenya in the movie version from 1931: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec0cl... English version "Pirate Jenny", sung by Nina Simone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7awW...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    Or is it only those who have the money who can enter the land of milk and honey? There were stirrings when I read in David Simon's Homicide about the West Baltimore murders which didn't merit a line in the newspaper. Homo Sacer, Agamben Perhaps a phrase in the Sebald poem offered a subtle nudge to this reluctant reader. Perhaps it was an image of Ho Chi Minh in Fredrik Logevall's seminal Embers of War-- the thin, proud leader speaking to a congress of the French Communist Party, all of them white Or is it only those who have the money who can enter the land of milk and honey? There were stirrings when I read in David Simon's Homicide about the West Baltimore murders which didn't merit a line in the newspaper. Homo Sacer, Agamben Perhaps a phrase in the Sebald poem offered a subtle nudge to this reluctant reader. Perhaps it was an image of Ho Chi Minh in Fredrik Logevall's seminal Embers of War-- the thin, proud leader speaking to a congress of the French Communist Party, all of them white, bloated and indifferent? All those flickering images from Pabst's film--it is a shock that I didn't reach for this play before. The 18C play of John Gray is drenched in Brecht's mordant wit adapted, embellished and reborn with grim musings on sexuality and patriotism, emerging strident and timeless.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    در «اپرای سه پولی» که نام نمایشنامه ای از برشت است. برشت به جامعهء بورژوازی میتازد، و با اشعار شیطنت آمیز و سلاح تمسخر به همهء آنها توهین میکند. ا. شربیانی در «اپرای سه پولی» که نام نمایشنامه­ ای از برشت است. برشت به جامعهء بورژوازی می­تازد، و با اشعار شیطنت آمیز و سلاح تمسخر به همهء آنها توهین می­کند. ا. شربیانی

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mahdi Bigdeli

    انسان با چه زندگی میکند؟ بیوقفه در حال شکنجه کردن، محروم ساختن، تکه پاره کردن، بریدن سر و دریدن انسان است. انسان تنها در فراموشی زندگی می کند و بی وقفه فراموش می کند که انسان است. انسان با چه زندگی می‌کند؟ بی‌وقفه در حال شکنجه کردن، محروم ساختن، تکه پاره کردن، بریدن سر و دریدن انسان است. انسان تنها در فراموشی زندگی می کند و بی وقفه فراموش می کند که انسان است.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tosh

    As a hardcore boho 'Beat' kid, I was raised with the soundtrack of Kurt Weil/Bertolt Brecht's "Threepenny Opera." In fact, Lotte Lenya was probably the first singing voice I heard after my Mom - who used to sing to me when I was a little child. Many years later I read the play/musical and was taken back at its cynical look in how society works. It's an amazing piece of theater and the music is and will always be superb.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Theut

    Duro, spietato e allo steso tempo ironico e surreale. E' la vita del sottobosco umano, in cui il più sano ha la rogna... Forte la messa alla berlina della società dell'epoca, sono curiosa di vederlo rappresentato a teatro.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lina

    Clubbed me over the head with it's ideology. Headache. (Die Subtilität geht solange zum Theater, bis sie Brecht. Das Brecht auf Meinungsfreiheit. Aua, aua, mein Kopf.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    WortGestalt

    Was soll man zu solch einem Klassiker groß sagen, wenn man keine ausführliche Rezension schreiben will, es ist halt die Dreigroschenoper und allein vom Personal her schon ganz wunderbarer Stoff für Krimileser. Aber das Stück gehört halt auf die Bühne, das Lesen ist fein, aber im Theater macht es mehr her. Rein zur Lektüre bleibt ja da noch der Dreigroschenroman.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    English translation of a German play about bourgeois criminals, entertaining hybrids, middle management dressed in gutter rags. It was originally put on just before WWII in a Berlin dancing decadently on the edge of the abyss, and is in some ways apt for the current (Jan 2009) bankrupt America I live in today. I sincerely hope our current decline is not as brutal, nor our fall nearly as hard. Perhaps there is a prayer in reservation, some old medicine that might ward off the approaching reckonin English translation of a German play about bourgeois criminals, entertaining hybrids, middle management dressed in gutter rags. It was originally put on just before WWII in a Berlin dancing decadently on the edge of the abyss, and is in some ways apt for the current (Jan 2009) bankrupt America I live in today. I sincerely hope our current decline is not as brutal, nor our fall nearly as hard. Perhaps there is a prayer in reservation, some old medicine that might ward off the approaching reckoning. The merging of the criminal with the middle class in the characters presents in interesting tension. The criminal order is like the Old Testament substrate upon which Jesus erected his Good News. Jealous, murderous Jehovah of the desert learns table manners and how to run a sound business, makes only necessary sacrifices. In reality the poor are never truly Christian; 'poor' American evangelicals live on the sunny side of global poverty. Even at Christianity's start, in Rome, there were countless poor people living in abject poverty. The Christians of the time has little (spiritual) intercourse with them and were poor only in comparison to the grand aristocrats of their society. Does love exist without food, without shelter? Does love exist except on the backs of the less-fortunate? There is no angel that has not set foot in the abattoir, no good independent of the grist of pain. We await the messenger, and our deliverance. I was pleasantly surprised to catch echoes of François Villon in the text. He is my favorite priest-killing poet. When I get home tonight I'm searching YouTube for a version of this play put on with sock puppets. If I were a betting man I'd set odds for finding such a thing at 1 in 5. Good odds, but only porn is certain on the internet.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Serenity

    2/10. I understand that this is one of the Great Masters of Theatre. I learned in class that Brecht made a tremendous impact on theatre and started his own theatrical tradition. I also learned that the whole signs-device and didactical bits were very novel in his time. But it really, really disappointed all of my expectations. I even saw it live and it definitely was a flop. It did not deliver on any of the promised scandal or excitement. The musical pieces were random and did not add much. The 2/10. I understand that this is one of the Great Masters of Theatre. I learned in class that Brecht made a tremendous impact on theatre and started his own theatrical tradition. I also learned that the whole signs-device and didactical bits were very novel in his time. But it really, really disappointed all of my expectations. I even saw it live and it definitely was a flop. It did not deliver on any of the promised scandal or excitement. The musical pieces were random and did not add much. The characters were all unlikeable and the plot rather boring. It's like an inferior version of Oliver Twist, and that is pretty much all I have to say about it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peter Mcloughlin

    This play with the fun poems and songs and the colorful characters was really enjoyable to read even in translation. This play would be really enjoyable to catch in a theater. Written in 1920s Weimar Germany and set in Victorian England among demi-monde scenes of performers, low lifes and cut throats it is a really entertaining play with a leftish political message. A lot of fun.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Zecker

    I have to say that this is one of the greatest things I have ever read. It is a play that is a fantastic reflection on the gutterly people that inhabit every city, and it shows a compassionate, entertaining reflection of them that criticizes the bourgeois and those in power. I think it also correctly showcases the true monster that is the human man. I think that, no matter what the man we are talking about, we all have the spirits of Mackie and Peachum buried somewhere in our hearts. This is a d I have to say that this is one of the greatest things I have ever read. It is a play that is a fantastic reflection on the gutterly people that inhabit every city, and it shows a compassionate, entertaining reflection of them that criticizes the bourgeois and those in power. I think it also correctly showcases the true monster that is the human man. I think that, no matter what the man we are talking about, we all have the spirits of Mackie and Peachum buried somewhere in our hearts. This is a dazzling play that I have decided I totally want to be a part of... Having read it before I have seen it is an interesting experience, and the next step is to watch the videos I just found on YouTube of a Northweatern University performance that looks really great... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9sMDm... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNbnAF... In hindsight, I am angry that I missed the Cummings/Lauper performances from a couple of years ago. This is almost a new favorite play, or at least in the top 5...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Take the first chance you can to attend a performance of this fabulous operetta with words by Bertolt Brecht and music by Kurt Weil. It is one of the greatest works written for the stage in the twentieth century. Performers of even the most modest talent always seem able to rise to the occasion and delight the audiences. My mother who saw the great Jerry Orbach perform in it in 1955 during its intial Broadway run was still talking about it fifty years afterwards. For my part I like to tell people Take the first chance you can to attend a performance of this fabulous operetta with words by Bertolt Brecht and music by Kurt Weil. It is one of the greatest works written for the stage in the twentieth century. Performers of even the most modest talent always seem able to rise to the occasion and delight the audiences. My mother who saw the great Jerry Orbach perform in it in 1955 during its intial Broadway run was still talking about it fifty years afterwards. For my part I like to tell people how much fun I had seeing L'opera de quatre sous au Grand Theatre de Quebec in 1982. My dentist likes to tell me that she played Polly Peacham in Mandarin while a student in Hong Kong. Don't bother reading this thing unless it is on a course you are taking. The text is nothing without Weill's music. If you are the member of an amateur theatre company suggest reviving it next season, the next time your troupe meets.

  15. 4 out of 5

    James

    When I read this I was already familiar with both Kurt Weill's music and the original Gay's Beggars' Opera that was inspiration for Brecht. The street life with characters like MacHeath and Jenny comes alive in Brecht's drama. Weimar culture was home to many artists who challenge both tradition and the conventional view of life. Inspired by their imagination and the political-economic upheaval that was taking place in this era artists like Brecht and Weill were changing the nature of theater and When I read this I was already familiar with both Kurt Weill's music and the original Gay's Beggars' Opera that was inspiration for Brecht. The street life with characters like MacHeath and Jenny comes alive in Brecht's drama. Weimar culture was home to many artists who challenge both tradition and the conventional view of life. Inspired by their imagination and the political-economic upheaval that was taking place in this era artists like Brecht and Weill were changing the nature of theater and the music hall. The era was all too short as the rise of the Nazi's and their devastating impact on culture would change the artistic world along with much else. This was part of my reading for a course focusing on the "Degenerate Art" of Nazi Germany.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Federica

    Prima lettura di un'opera di Brecht, e devo dire che è stata davvero piacevole. Non sono abituata al teatro del Novecento, quindi la presenza di dialoghi diretti con un linguaggio tanto schietto, e poi la proposizione di così tante canzoni è stata una novità, gradita per altro. Mi hanno sorpreso anche i personaggi scelti, che non tentano neanche lontanamente di nascondere la loro estrazione sociale e la loro intrinseca "malvagità". Mi ha fatto riflettere come il signor Peachum, pur con l'obiettivo Prima lettura di un'opera di Brecht, e devo dire che è stata davvero piacevole. Non sono abituata al teatro del Novecento, quindi la presenza di dialoghi diretti con un linguaggio tanto schietto, e poi la proposizione di così tante canzoni è stata una novità, gradita per altro. Mi hanno sorpreso anche i personaggi scelti, che non tentano neanche lontanamente di nascondere la loro estrazione sociale e la loro intrinseca "malvagità". Mi ha fatto riflettere come il signor Peachum, pur con l'obiettivo di salvare la figlia, non ricorra ad altro se non alla corruzione e al tradimento. Sicuramente leggerò altro di questo autore, ormai mi ha conquistato.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Licia

    Sarà che avrò riletto quest'opera almeno 5 volte da 8 anni a questa parte, ma il suo messaggio e la sua spietata critica al mondo capitalista sono ancor oggi molto attuali e si scopre sempre qualcosa di nuovo nei dialoghi dei personaggi.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Red

    Spargel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    "What's breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank? What's murdering a man compared with employing a man?"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tomas

    It took me about two days to finish Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, something I could have done even sooner had it been a pure dramatic piece. It’s not, as most will know — it’s a musical, and as such, it was necessary for me to listen to every song that I came across. I wanted a feel for Kurt Weill’s compositions and how he came to approach each number, and fortunately I found plenty to enjoy in that respect. From the opening, familiar strains of “Ballad of Mac the Knife” to the ebullien It took me about two days to finish Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, something I could have done even sooner had it been a pure dramatic piece. It’s not, as most will know — it’s a musical, and as such, it was necessary for me to listen to every song that I came across. I wanted a feel for Kurt Weill’s compositions and how he came to approach each number, and fortunately I found plenty to enjoy in that respect. From the opening, familiar strains of “Ballad of Mac the Knife” to the ebullient, march-like “Cannon Song” and tango-trodden “Ballad of Immoral Earnings,” Weill dabbled in a multitude of genres to help bring Brecht’s mordant lyrics to life, and in a way that was identifiably adherent to Brecht’s concept of the distancing effect needed to keep the audience at a remove from the action of the play itself. At times very dark lyrics were set to catchy and hummable rhythms; at others Weill made his tunes intricate to juxtapose depth of feeling, perhaps the best examples being “Pirate Jenny” and “Call from the Grave.” The libretto, as a whole, is balanced, eccentric, and bursting with potential, and knowing it in full, it’s easy to see why a song like “Mack the Knife” rose to such popularity as a jazz standard. The original had a germ of adaptability inlaid within its tones, and all it needed was a pluckier tempo and a velvet-voiced crooner to set it alight. Truthfully, many of these songs could, with some resourcefulness and imagination, be taken out of context and reinterpreted in a modern sense; it’s thanks to Weill’s sheer talent that he was able to make that possible. Of course, music is one thing. As much as I commend the tunes Weill composed, my main reason for picking up The Threepenny Opera was for Bertolt Brecht and Brecht alone. I had come across his name several times, so I had every reason to check out what is arguably his most well-known work. And… it was a bit of a letdown. Perhaps I was in too much of a high after reading J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, perhaps I expected far too much from what is, after all, only an 80-page play, and it’s also quite possible that I didn’t read it in the “right” moment in time. Still, while there was a nice interplay between comedy and social commentary and the characters were fun to follow, I found the play to be too much of an artifact of its time and place. The themes of class consciousness, societal corruption, self-interest and moral ambiguity still resonate, yes, but at this point these are ideas that have been run into the ground. In Brecht’s time they were still novel and subversive, and that is why he created The Threepenny Opera in the first place: to open the eyes of his audiences to the truths of their condition. That’s why his distancing effect was necessary, that’s why he needed to be revolutionary with his stagecraft. But as time passed, and his ideas were taken up by his contemporaries, the play couldn’t really move from where it stood, and now, almost 90 years on, it remains rooted in its period. Not exactly ossified, but not exactly inciting much enthusiasm unless there’s a radical reworking to mix up the old formulas. I think the most enduring aspect is Brecht’s own fearlessness and lack of censorship; even now it’s amazing to think that he wrote lyrics about murder, sex, abortion and bitchy catfights (seriously) in 1928 when something like James Joyce’s Ulysses was put through the wringer just a few years earlier. Those candid, no-holds-barred moments were the ones I enjoyed most, and it’s a shame there weren’t more of them (and if there were, Brecht really shouldn’t have cut them out). I might be singing a brighter tune had I been able to watch this play being performed. I think the full extent of Brecht’s cunning cannot be made known until it’s reproduced before one’s eyes; simply reading it on a page may not be enough. I had a sense of what he was trying to achieve, but I longed to know what it all meant in actuality. Alas, no complete and unaltered version has ever been filmed, and from what I can see it’s seldom staged nowadays. So I have to make do with the text that I read, and while on the whole I liked it, I wasn’t bowled over. Still, at least I’ve been introduced to Kurt Weill’s wonderful compositions, and I’m still intrigued enough by Brecht to give his other works (such as Mother Courage and Her Children, Life of Galileo and The Caucasian Chalk Circle) a try sometime in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    So92

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. L'Opera da tre soldi e' il pezzo che ha portato alla celebrità Bertolt Brecht. Rappresentata per la prima volta a Berlino nel 1928, e' ispirata alla "Beggar's Opera" (1728) dell'inglese John Gay e mette in scena il mondo del sottoproletariato, dei banditi e dei derelitti della Londra contemporanea all'autore con intenzione palesemente provocatoria nei confronti del pubblico borghese. Strutturalmente si compone di un prologo e di tre atti, a loro volta suddivisi in tre episodi. All'interno i dial L'Opera da tre soldi e' il pezzo che ha portato alla celebrità Bertolt Brecht. Rappresentata per la prima volta a Berlino nel 1928, e' ispirata alla "Beggar's Opera" (1728) dell'inglese John Gay e mette in scena il mondo del sottoproletariato, dei banditi e dei derelitti della Londra contemporanea all'autore con intenzione palesemente provocatoria nei confronti del pubblico borghese. Strutturalmente si compone di un prologo e di tre atti, a loro volta suddivisi in tre episodi. All'interno i dialoghi sono separati da parti cantate ("ballate") che l'autore, secondo il proprio concetto di teatro epico, ha inserito apposta per evitare l'immedesimazione del pubblico nei personaggi e nelle vicende, in modo da sollecitarne invece l'attenzione critica. In molti punti l'opera si appella direttamente al pubblico, rompendo la "quarta parete" e ricercando un effetto che Brecht chiama di straniamento, contrapposto all'immedesimazione che al tempo di Brecht era lo standard dominante nella messinscena; per esempio vengono proiettate delle frasi sul fondale e i personaggi a volte portano in scena dei cartelli. La vicenda ruota intorno a cinque personaggi principali. Macheath (o Mackie Messer) e' il più grande è famoso criminale di Londra, un uomo senza scrupoli ma con molte caratteristiche che fanno trapelare la sua origine borghese (modi da gentiluomo, poca propensione per gli spargimenti di sangue ingiustificati, grande attenzione alla reputazione e abitudini dure a morire anche nei casi più estremi, come quella di andare per prostitute). Il signor Peachum, il "re dei mendicanti", e' un commerciante senza scrupoli che ha deciso di sfruttare la miseria altrui per arricchirsi. Il suo negozio e' infatti specializzato nella preparazione dei mendicanti (travestimenti quali moncherini finti, abiti stracciati o "a tema") e nel rilascio di autorizzazioni a pagamento per praticare l'accattonaggio nei vari distretti di Londra. Il signor Brown, o "Brown la tigre", e' il capo della polizia di Londra. Amico di infanzia e gioventù di Macheath, ha deciso in nome di questa amicizia di chiudere un occhio sulle sue malefatte, e tra i due vi è una sorta di rispetto reciproco. Questo personaggio e' costantemente lacerato dal sentimento di amicizia sincera che prova per il bandito (e che è lecito solo in qualità di privato cittadino) e i suoi doveri di pubblico ufficiale. Polly Peachum e' la figlia del re dei mendicanti, una giovane semplice e un po' ingenua che si innamora di Macheath e finirà per sposarlo dopo appena dieci giorni di conoscenza. Lucy Brown, figlia dell'ispettore, anche lei giovane donna innamorata di Macheath col quale ha avuto relazioni in passato e di cui è incinta. Altri personaggi di rilievo sono le prostitute, e tra queste in particolare Jenny delle Spelonche, la "preferita" di Macheath che però non esita a tradirlo - ben due volte - per denaro. La trama è piuttosto lineare. La storia prende avvio dal matrimonio,fatto di nascosto tra Polly e Macheath.Questo fà infuriare Peachum non tanto perchè la figlia sposi un criminale quanto perchè è una perdita nella forza lavoro di quella che è intesa come l'"azienda di famiglia",e lo stesso Macheath non sposa Polly per amore ma soprattutto perchè può essere la sua amministratrice nel caso dovesse finire in prigione. Il padre di Polly decide allora di far arrestare e impiccare Macheath. I suoi maneggi sono però complicati dal fatto che il capo della polizia è un amico di gioventù di Macheath. Alla fine Peachum riesce a farlo condannare all'impiccagione, ma poco prima dell'esecuzione, Brecht fa apparire un messaggero a cavallo da parte della "Regina" che grazia Macheath e gli conferisce il titolo di baronetto, nella parodia di un lieto fine.

  22. 5 out of 5

    _queenofbooks__

    Dies ist eine Bewertung auf Unterrichtsbuchniveau! Für ein Buch, dass im Deutsch Unterricht gelesen wurde war es wirklich leicht zu verstehen, was einem das Interpretationen schreiben natürlich nie erleichtert, aber man weiß klar und deutlich worum es geht und wo Konflikte wieso herrschen. Als Deutsch Lektüre war es wirklich mal eine Abwechslung zu den Büchern, in denen gefühlt kein Wort auf Deutsch ist, sondern es ist leicht geschrieben und die Worterklärungen am Rand helfen zur Not auch noch w Dies ist eine Bewertung auf Unterrichtsbuchniveau! Für ein Buch, dass im Deutsch Unterricht gelesen wurde war es wirklich leicht zu verstehen, was einem das Interpretationen schreiben natürlich nie erleichtert, aber man weiß klar und deutlich worum es geht und wo Konflikte wieso herrschen. Als Deutsch Lektüre war es wirklich mal eine Abwechslung zu den Büchern, in denen gefühlt kein Wort auf Deutsch ist, sondern es ist leicht geschrieben und die Worterklärungen am Rand helfen zur Not auch noch weiter.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Hamdy

    المجموعة : مــدد مـدد يـاأهــل الـخـطــوة يـــا أهـــــل الــكــرامـــة والـحــــظــــــوة الــمغـنــى : أبـو مـطـوة زعيم الحرامـيــة ســلـــطــان زمــانــــه ولــــه أنـــصـــــار انـصاره جـنس لومـانــجـيـة عـــفــاريــت عــنـيــهــا تــطـق شـــــرار أبــو مـطوة كل الناس عارفاه و عـــارفـة إن مــــعــــاه مــــــطــــــــوه ولا حــد عمره شافــها معـــاه وهــــــــو ده لــــغـــــز الـمـــطــــــــــوة أبو مـــطوة جـاع لم الجـعانين عـمـلــوه علـيـهـم شــــــيـــخ منـصـــــــر بقــى عــنده جيش م النشال المجموعة : مــدد مـدد يـاأهــل الـخـطــوة يـــا أهـــــل الــكــرامـــة والـحــــظــــــوة الــمغـنــى : أبـو مـطـوة زعيم الحرامـيــة ســلـــطــان زمــانــــه ولــــه أنـــصـــــار انـصاره جـنس لومـانــجـيـة عـــفــاريــت عــنـيــهــا تــطـق شـــــرار أبــو مـطوة كل الناس عارفاه و عـــارفـة إن مــــعــــاه مــــــطــــــــوه ولا حــد عمره شافــها معـــاه وهــــــــو ده لــــغـــــز الـمـــطــــــــــوة أبو مـــطوة جـاع لم الجـعانين عـمـلــوه علـيـهـم شــــــيـــخ منـصـــــــر بقــى عــنده جيش م النشالــين وجــيــشــه يــــوم عــــن يــوم يــكـــبــر لو تلـقى برغــوت مــرة قـتـيل يـــبـــقـى إللى قــتــلـــه أبـــو مــطــــــوة أو تـلـقـى فـار غرقان فى النيل يــبــقــى ضـــحــيـــة لأبـــــو مــــطـــوة فــــتــح عــــنـيـــك أنت وهـو أبــــومطوة بـجـــلالــتـــه مـــــــــعــــدى الـــدنـيــــا تتـاخــــد قـــــــــوة لا تــقــــول بـــيـــــدك ولا يـــــــــــــدى لــكـن هــا نـبــدأ بــأبـــو دراع صـاحــب مــؤســـســــة الـــكـــمــــيـــــا دراعــه طــولــه مــليـون بـاع مــش عــاهـــــة يـعــنــى لـكـن كــنيـــه فـــن الشحـاتـة فــــن غـــويـط وكـــــل فــــــــــن ولــــه نــــاســـــــــه وإلـلـى ما يشــحت يـبقى عبيط فـــى زمـانـنـا...مـش عـقـله فــ راســـه وصاحبنا عنــده مـن التـفا نين عــــاهــات عــلــى كـــــل الأنــــــــواع سلـطـانه فــوق كـل السلاطـيـن وبــرضـه لـه جــيـش م الأتـــــبـــــــاع لـكــن مـــراتــه خـمــورجــيـــة وبـنـتـــه مـلـــعـب ع الآخــــــــر وبــيـتـه بـــامــيــة ومــلــوخــيــة والــجــار يــشــوفـــه يــتـاخـــــــــــر «الإنجليزي» في تاريخنا المصري الحديث كان هو المحتل الباغي الذي يمارس سلب الرزق وسلطة القهر بالظلم والعدوان. ومن ثم، فحيثما ظهرت دلائل وأفعال السطوة والظلم، واتحدت الأهداف والمصلحة مع المحتل، لا تعود الملامح القومية سوى مجرد أقنعة للعدو الذي ما فتئ يسعى ويتخفى ليتمكن من محاصرة الشعوب المكافحة وقهرها من بين صفوفها ومن داخل جسمها. الحاكم الدكتاتور الطاغية، والإقطاعي، والخائن، والعميل، كلهم لهم عند نجيب سرور مرادف «إنجليزي» بمعنى المحتل، العدو، القوة الأجنبية الغازية. ويتأكد لنا هذا التحديد لـ «الإنجليزي» عند نجيب سرور حين يضع في نصه «ملك الشحاتين» شخصية «جورج» الإنجليزي الذي يكسب من وراء فساد قطبي المسرحية «أبو دراع ملك الشحاتين» و«أبو مطوة زعيم الحرامية». «أبو دراع» و«أبو مطوة» مركزا قوة ـ من أهل البلاد ـ يتصارعان حول المنفعة الذاتية والتسلط المستمد على الدوام من مساندة «جورج» المحتل، وهما بذلك، لأنهما من أولاد البلد، أصبحا تابعين لجورج: ينفذان أغراضه، ويلذ له اللهو واللعب بهما مع الاستفادة المستمرة من وراء رغبة كل منهما الإطاحة بالآخر والانتصار عليه ولو بالتنافس في دفع الرشاوى السخية للسيد «جورج». نعرف أن «أبو دراع» يبني دولته بالاستغلال الذي يمارسه بتجارة الفقر، ونعرف أن «أبو مطوة» يحكم سيطرته بالرعب الذي يشيعه. ويصبح النزاع بين «الاستغلال» و«الرعب» وأيهما يظفر بالمعْلمة على البشر، والحكم في هذا النزاع هو «جورج» الذي يرجح أحد الجانبين وفقا لكمية ما يقبضه منهما، وهكذا يكون من المنطقي أن تعلو الصرخة الثائرة في وجه «الرعب» و«الاستغلال» و«المحتل»، هؤلاء «الإنجليز» جميعا. «لحد إمتى ح يفضلوا المساجين مصريين والسجانة إنجليز؟». صافي ناز كاظم

  24. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Mack the Knife, as performed by Louis Armstrong. I'd never heard of The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht, Lotte Lenya, or Sweet Lucy Brown, so I have to thank The Dog's Bollox for that. I was only passingly familiar with Louis Armstrong's Mack the Knife - which is to say, not familiar at all. I talked to my dad about the song, and he said he only really listened to the Bobby Darin version, but didn't understand half the song. Certainly the song makes more sense if you know who Macheath is. Having r Mack the Knife, as performed by Louis Armstrong. I'd never heard of The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht, Lotte Lenya, or Sweet Lucy Brown, so I have to thank The Dog's Bollox for that. I was only passingly familiar with Louis Armstrong's Mack the Knife - which is to say, not familiar at all. I talked to my dad about the song, and he said he only really listened to the Bobby Darin version, but didn't understand half the song. Certainly the song makes more sense if you know who Macheath is. Having read the show, I want to watch it. I don't know where to start. Maybe the 1989 movie Mack the Knife, or maybe the 1931 Dreigroschenoper itself. There seems to be a lot to catch - especially after reading Ms. Lenya's introduction, and Brecht's notes at the end. Tell me if this isn't the most brilliant line in the show: "And I did work out something: that the rich of the earth indeed create misery, but they cannot bear to see it. They are weaklings and fools just like you. As long as they have enough to eat and can grease their floors with butter so that even the crumbs that fall from your table grow fat, they can't look with indifference on a man collapsing from hunger - although, of course, it must be in front of their house that he collapses." It's a proletariat masterpiece, but without a hero. Who is good in this show? Maybe Lucy? Think of the people who have to make their way through... nefarious means: Mack, of course. Our criminal, lovable Walter White protagonist. Brown: the dirty cop, trying to get by. Peachum and company: encouraging beggars to better themselves by becoming better beggars, better cons. Ginny Jenny... is the prostitute the most noble here? Maybe Polly. Maybe Lucy. And this all against the backdrop of the coronation. Brecht is on to something. "You may proclaim, good sirs, your fine philosophy/ But till you feed us right and wrong can wait/ Or is it only those who have the money/ Can enter the land of milk and honey?" "For the wickedness of the world is so great you have to run your legs off in order to avoid having them stolen from under you."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dorottya

    There are so many things running through my mind now, as I am writing this review. I have never been so uncertain about a rating ever. In a moment, I want to give it 2 stars, then I wanna give it 5, then... ah, insane. First of all, I have to admit that I have heard the music score a long time before actually reading the play. And I love it. The melodies, the rhythm, the lyrics... ah. And then, I have actually seen it on stage a bit later. And now the play. My own memories fight with each other. There are so many things running through my mind now, as I am writing this review. I have never been so uncertain about a rating ever. In a moment, I want to give it 2 stars, then I wanna give it 5, then... ah, insane. First of all, I have to admit that I have heard the music score a long time before actually reading the play. And I love it. The melodies, the rhythm, the lyrics... ah. And then, I have actually seen it on stage a bit later. And now the play. My own memories fight with each other. Like, could I put my impressions on the music and the production away and only focus on the play itself? What to do if the theatre version changed some bits and that memory lurked around all the time I read the play? I have to say that the actual music inserts bugged the hell out of me while reading (no matter how I love the actual songs)... they worked better on stage... maybe because the music took me away. Now, most of the times, the music inserts brought nothing new, or were completely out of plot whatsoever. Some of the banter worked better on stage, for me, too. What seemed bland, weird or over the top in the text, with some good acting, became enjoyable. (but that doesn't mean I loved everything about the stage version... the ages of the cast was screwed up big time... no way Mack and Polly are of more or less the same age...) On the other hand, I really enjoyed reading about Peachum's business. Albeit it's slightly parodistic and over-the-top, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the whole beggar situation in my country at least, even though almost 100 years have passed. OK, it's not this obvious, but beggar companies and beggar pimps still exist. I also liked Mack's character, too. He was the real emotionless playboy, true to character until the end.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christian McKay

    Yes, I only watched the movie, but the adapted play is out of print and it was way too good not to write a review on it. I came across The Three Penny Opera in the nerdiest way possible. Yup, the comic route. The most recent volume of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has beggars and prostitutes belting out heart-wrenching opera of cutting morality and justified anger. This isn't the first time Moore has led me to fine literature/stage work. After reading the first two volumes of Leag Yes, I only watched the movie, but the adapted play is out of print and it was way too good not to write a review on it. I came across The Three Penny Opera in the nerdiest way possible. Yup, the comic route. The most recent volume of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has beggars and prostitutes belting out heart-wrenching opera of cutting morality and justified anger. This isn't the first time Moore has led me to fine literature/stage work. After reading the first two volumes of League, I went out and read Dracula, Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, and She. Later I read an interview with Moore that said he fully intended to whet his reader's appetite to search out the source material for his work. Apparently he wanted to steer his readers to eighteenth century opera with this last installment. A quick search led me to The Beggar's Opera, which was interesting enough, the history more than the play itself. I discovered John Gay's original work was the inspiration for the 1930's production of The Three Penny Opera, the direct inspiration for Moore's latest installment. This German film blew the original out of the water. Jenny's pirate song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec0clERjQ...) haunted me for nights after hearing it. Mack the Knife was much more conniving and detestable. The songs catchy enough to keep whistling, devastating enough to make me swagger, and engaging enough to start them over again the moment they finished.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Threepenny Opera is a play I went to see in October/November of 2012. I instantly fell in love with it, and had to read the script. Macheat - better known as Mac The Knife - marries Polly Peachum, the daughter of the King of the beggars, Mr Peachim. Mac is a man that has several sentences on him, but they never have enough evidence to cash him in, and with him marrying Mr Peachums daughter and all, Mr Peachum sees it as his task to get Mac hanged. However, he meets obstacles on his way when i The Threepenny Opera is a play I went to see in October/November of 2012. I instantly fell in love with it, and had to read the script. Macheat - better known as Mac The Knife - marries Polly Peachum, the daughter of the King of the beggars, Mr Peachim. Mac is a man that has several sentences on him, but they never have enough evidence to cash him in, and with him marrying Mr Peachums daughter and all, Mr Peachum sees it as his task to get Mac hanged. However, he meets obstacles on his way when it turns out that Mackie and the chief of the police - Tiger Brown are old friends from the army. However, beeing a very forseeable man, Macheat gets betrayed by his whores, and Mr Peachum is about to see his dreams come true... Or is he? When Brecht wrote his political theatres, he wanted people to feel that they wanted to go out and change the world. For me, the Threepenny Opera did just that. It's a story about humans inner greed, no matter who they are, and the famous quote "Who is the greater criminal: he who robs a bank or he who founds one?", from Mac's death monologue, is known as a critique to the society. Everybody should go see this, or read the script at least. Even though it was written in a damaged Germany in 1931 - it's still a plot that is very relevant for today.

  28. 5 out of 5

    أحمد صــــلاح

    الأوبريت نوع من المسرحيات الغنائية كان محبوباً في الفترة بين أواسط القرن التاسع عشر حتى العشرينيات من القرن العشرين الميلادي. تطور الأوبريت من الأوبرا الهزلية الفرنسية ولكنه يختلف عنها في أنه يحتوي على حوار كلامي بدلاً من الحوار الغنائي، وعلى أغاني بدلاً من ألحان. وغالباً ما تكون مقدمة الأوبريت خليطاً من أغان منتزعة من العرض وليست شيئاً مؤلفاً مستقلاً كما هو الحال في الأوبرا. الغرض من الأوبريت هو الترفيه وإدخال السرور على النفوس وليس إثارة العواطف القوية أو الكشف عن قضايا مهمة أو مناقشة قضية ذهني الأوبريت نوع من المسرحيات الغنائية كان محبوباً في الفترة بين أواسط القرن التاسع عشر حتى العشرينيات من القرن العشرين الميلادي. تطور الأوبريت من الأوبرا الهزلية الفرنسية ولكنه يختلف عنها في أنه يحتوي على حوار كلامي بدلاً من الحوار الغنائي، وعلى أغاني بدلاً من ألحان. وغالباً ما تكون مقدمة الأوبريت خليطاً من أغان منتزعة من العرض وليست شيئاً مؤلفاً مستقلاً كما هو الحال في الأوبرا. الغرض من الأوبريت هو الترفيه وإدخال السرور على النفوس وليس إثارة العواطف القوية أو الكشف عن قضايا مهمة أو مناقشة قضية ذهنية أو جدلية. وفي كثير من الأوبريتات نجد أن عقدة القصة إما عاطفية رومانسية أو ساخرة. وفي معظم الحالات تتضمن نوعاً من الارتباك حول أخطاء غير مقصودة، كما تنتهي بنهاية سعيدة كثيراً ما تعكس شيئاً من المغزى الأخلاقي. المصدر ويكبيديا -حفظه الله و رعاه- طيب تعالى نشوف بقى هوا الأوبريت هدفه الترفيه يعني التسلية و أنا اتسليت و انا بأقراها مسرحية غنائية ممتعو بالعامية المصرية و منوعة بين الشعر العامي و النثر العامي برضوه حدوتة بتلف حوالين نفسها و تلففك وراها ما بين جورج و أبودراع و أبو مطوة و داير ميدور في حفل جلوس ملك الشحاتين كان أول شيء نجيب سرور -نوع مسرحي له أقراه- أكيد مش الأخير و أنهي بمقولة نجيب -رحمة الله عليه- "يا حارس السجن ليه خايف من المسجون هي الحيطان اللي بينا قش يا ملعون و لا السلاسل ورق و لا السجين شمشون"

  29. 4 out of 5

    Roxy

    Oy. I know. I basically stopped reading in November. That isn't the case though. I was reading a few other things but had tons of work to do (fucking end of semester!). Anyway I read this play quite quickly. I enjoyed it a lot. Our final full reading assignment for my arts and ideas course. It illustrates Weimar Berlin to a tee and also taught me a lot about the German anti-illusionist theater. I love the whole concept, I am even considering joining our German theater troupe next year so I can a Oy. I know. I basically stopped reading in November. That isn't the case though. I was reading a few other things but had tons of work to do (fucking end of semester!). Anyway I read this play quite quickly. I enjoyed it a lot. Our final full reading assignment for my arts and ideas course. It illustrates Weimar Berlin to a tee and also taught me a lot about the German anti-illusionist theater. I love the whole concept, I am even considering joining our German theater troupe next year so I can act in plays by Brecht and go to Germany. And I am even more excited to learn German! Okay, this is all slightly off topic, forgive me. But I think this play is one you'd have to read (or watch) yourself (and not an American version of it cause they do it all wrong!!). It is the story of a girl who falls in love with a criminal. Meow. Oh, and it has a happy ending, if that makes you want to read it too *wink*. Must read more Brecht!!!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera is utterly brilliant, a brilliance you notice on the first page all the way to the last page. Its characters as whimsical as they are feel just as real as a person walking down the street. The Threepenny Opera has layer after layer of moral and political points of view that I could spend hours going into but its most prominent moral insight is that although Mackie the knife; thief, murder and crime lord, is eventually caught for his crimes. A character born Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera is utterly brilliant, a brilliance you notice on the first page all the way to the last page. Its characters as whimsical as they are feel just as real as a person walking down the street. The Threepenny Opera has layer after layer of moral and political points of view that I could spend hours going into but its most prominent moral insight is that although Mackie the knife; thief, murder and crime lord, is eventually caught for his crimes. A character born out desperateness and contempt for the wealthy is the villain more likely to be caught and tried then the Mr. Peachum the businessman who makes money off the poor. Clearly showing that the only criminals of the poorer nature are convicted and not the more insidious man who in-bead their actions into society itself.

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