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Ivo Van Hove Directs Kurt Weill's AUFSTIEG UND FALL DER STADT MAHAGONNY Next Month

This also marks the return of director Ivo van Hove to the house where it all began for him.

Ivo Van Hove Directs Kurt Weill's AUFSTIEG UND FALL DER STADT MAHAGONNY Next Month

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen is opening the upcoming opera season 2022-2023 in style with a new production of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's masterpiece Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. This also marks the return of director Ivo van Hove to the house where it all began for him.

For Ivo van Hove, it's a dream come true because for years he had been harbouring plans for Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Weill and Brecht's searing indictment of the supreme power of money which was also perhaps the pinnacle of their pioneering collaboration.

Mahagonny is a fictional city, founded by three fugitive con artists, where pleasure is the sole aim and the law is dictated by money alone. After the town survives a hurricane, the residents consider themselves invulnerable and abandon all inhibitions. Until one of them can no longer pay the bar tab...

Ivo van Hove calls Mahagonny a parable for our time about people who are unhappy with their situation in life and who confuse prosperity with well-being.

Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny is in many ways an iconoclastic opera, but the provocative stance it takes is accompanied by profound reflections on the place of the individual in society and the urban context, the pitfalls of rampant capitalism and consumption, and the struggle between freedom and social responsibility.

Kurt Weill composed a rock-solid score for Mahagonny, full of recognisable jazzy melodies. The famous Alabama Song in which a group of whores look for 'the next whiskey bar' has been covered by numerous artists, including Jim Morrison and David Bowie.

Ivo van Hove calls Mahagonny a parable for our time about people who are unhappy with their situation in life and who confuse prosperity with well-being. In his well-known style, he uses multimedia and green screens. In this way, the characters seem to move about in fantastical sets that are actually fake.

This production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny is a co-production of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen with The Metropolitan Opera in New York, Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and the Festival Aix-en-Provence.

After the festival premiere in 2019, a jubilant New York Times wrote: "... his (Ivo van Hove's) characteristic style couldn't be a better fit. (...) A reflection of our contemporary lives, with historic moments and meaningless minutiae filmed and shared in real time."

Flemish newspaper De Morgen gave the production four stars and called the performance "not a show, but a statement", and Dutch newspaper Trouw called the directing "virtuoso".

Also musically, this production is bound to deliver some fireworks. Head conductor of OBV Alejo Pérez will lead the internationally acclaimed Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Symphony Orchestra and Chorus which, in last season's Der Silbersee, displayed a perfect command of Weill's jazzy sounds. We also welcome some very strong performers among the soloists.

The Belgian soprano Tineke van Ingelgem takes on the voluptuous persona of Jenny Hill and alternates with Katharina Persicke, who has already performed with us as Fiordiligi/Cosi fan Tutte. The Italian tenor Leonardo Capalbo whom we still remember as Don Carlos will play Jimmy. The Dutch-Swiss mezzo-soprano Maria Riccarda Wesseling who has already been our guest as Jezibaba/Rusalka, performs Begbick. The American tenor James Kryshak who last season starred in Der Silbersee as Baron Lauer and Der Lotterieagent, will now appear in the role of Fatty Der Prokurist (Fatty the Bookkeeper). The Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans has regularly appeared on our stage and will now play Sparbüchshen Billy (Bank Account Billy). We will be introduced for the first time to the South African baritone Bongani Justice Kubheka as Dreieinigkeitsmoses (Trinity Moses). But also to the American tenor Frederick Ballentine in the roles of Jack O'Brien and TOBY HIGGINS. Finally, and also new to our stage, is the German bass baritone Marcel Brunner in the role of Alaska Wolf Joe.




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