The Threepenny Opera

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Title: The Threepenny Opera
Genus: Play with music
Original language: German
Author: Bertolt Brecht
Literary source: Gay / Pepusch : The Beggar's Opera
Music: Kurt Weill
Premiere: August 31, 1928
Place of premiere: Theater am Schiffbauerdamm , Berlin
  • Macheath, called the Mackie knife
  • Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum (owner of Beggar's Friend Company )
  • Celia Peachum, his wife
  • Polly Peachum, his daughter
  • "Tiger" Brown, London's chief police officer
  • Lucy, his daughter
  • The sinking jenny
  • Smith, constable
  • Pastor Kimball
  • Filch (one of Peachum's beggars)
  • A morality singer
  • The plate: Münz-Matthias, Hakenfinger-Jakob, Säge-Robert, Ede, Jimmy, Weeping Willow-Walter
  • Whores: Betty, Dolly, Molly, Vixen, Old Whore, 1st Whore, 2nd Whore
  • Beggars, gangsters, whores, constables, choir
Publisher's cover of the first print in 1928

The Threepenny Opera is a play by Bertolt Brecht with music by Kurt Weill . The premiere took place on August 31, 1928 in the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin . The "piece with music in a prelude and eight pictures" was the most successful German theater performance until 1933, some music numbers like the Moritat von Mackie Messer ( English 'Mack the Knife') became world hits.


The plot revolves around the competition and struggle for existence between two "businessmen", the head of the London begging mafia (Peachum), who blackmailed beggars and equips them in such a way that they arouse the pity of passers-by, and a criminal (Macheath) who enjoys good relationships as Chief of Police (Brown) of London.

The piece is set in the Soho district , which is dominated by shady characters. The reference to the coronation suggests that the opera is supposed to be set in the Victorian era and that ultimately the coronation of Victoria is meant. At the same time, the action cannot be precisely fixed in terms of time, as the elements of modern transport and industrialization in this form are historically rather later elements. Through this unclear contextualization, Brecht creates a distance both from the situation in 1928 and the time when Gay's Beggar's Opera was written.

“You're going to hear an opera now. Because this opera was thought to be as splendid as only beggars dream of, and because it should be so cheap that beggars can pay for it, it is called 'The Threepenny Opera' ”. (Introductory text by Brecht to the record recording)


Soho Fair. ( "The beggars beg, the thieves steal, the whores whore. A morality singer sings a morality." )

A morality singer sings The Morality by Mackie Messer , in which he introduces the crimes of the crook boss.

first act

1. Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum's beggar's wardrobes. ( "In order to counter the increasing hardening of the people, the businessman J. Peachum had opened a shop in which the wretched of the wretched were given the appearance that spoke to the ever more hardened hearts." )

Jonathan Peachum is the owner of the Beggar's Friend Company , which organizes London's beggars and receives aid and support in return for half of their income. But he has worries: Not only does he have to bother with beggars like Filch , who have begged independently and on their own, no, he also has to find out that his daughter Polly has gone away with the gangster Mackie Messer and has not come home.

2. Empty horse stable. ( "Deep in the heart of Soho, the bandit Mackie Messer celebrates his wedding to Polly Peachum, the daughter of the beggar king." )

In the meantime, Polly and Mackie Messer celebrate their wedding in a horse stable, wedding guests are the plate (Mackie's gangster) who lug in stolen furniture for the equipment. Pastor Kimball trusts the lovers.

3. Peachum's beggar's wardrobes. ( "To Peachum, who knows the hardship of the world, the loss of his daughter is the same as complete ruin." ) When Peachum and his wife find out about this, they decide to hand Mackie over to the police.

I. Threepenny finale ( "On the uncertainty of human conditions" )

Peachum, Mrs. Peachum and Polly sing the 1st Threepenny Finale.

Second act

4. The horse stable. ( "Thursday afternoon: Mackie Messer bids farewell to his wife to flee from his father-in-law to the Highgate moor." )

Polly warns her husband of the impending arrest. He escapes immediately - but not into the Highgate moor, but into a whore house.

Interlude ( "Mrs. Peachum steps in front of the curtain with the sinking Jenny." )

5. Whorehouse in Turnbridge. ( "The coronation bells hadn't sounded yet and Mackie Messer was with the Turnbridge whores! The whores betrayed him. It's Thursday night." )

Jenny, one of the whores and his ex-lover, betrays Mackie. He will be arrested.

6. Old Bailey prison, a cage. ( "Betrayed by the whores, Macheath is freed from prison by the love of another woman." )

Lucy, the daughter of Police Commissioner Brown and a former lover of Mackie, visits him in prison and blames him for his infidelity. When Polly also wants to visit her husband in prison, a jealous scene develops between the two women. Mackie manages to persuade Lucy to help him escape.

II. Threepenny finale ( "What does man live on?" )

Macheath and Spelunken-Jenny step in front of the curtain and sing the second Threepenny Finale with the song lighting. After the piano reduction, Macheath and Mrs. Peachum sing the second Threepenny finale.

Third act

7. Peachum's beggar's wardrobes. ( "That same night Peachum prepares to leave. He intends to disrupt the coronation procession through a demonstration of misery." )

On the day of the Queen's coronation (unspecified), Mackie, who has since found shelter with another lover, is betrayed again and arrested.

Interlude ( "Jenny appears in front of the curtain with an organ organ and sings the Salomon song." )

8. A girls room in Old Bailey. ( "Fight for property." )

9. Death Row. ( "Friday morning, 5 am: Mackie Messer, who went to see the whores again, was betrayed again by the whores. He is now being hanged." )

Under the gallows, Mackie Messer forgives everyone.

III. Threepenny finale ( "Appearance of the riding messenger." )

But shortly before the execution is due, Brown appears as a mounted royal messenger and announces that Mackie will not only be pardoned, but also raised to the nobility.

The songs

Kurt Weill mixed elements from jazz and tango , blues and fairground music in his music for the Threepenny Opera , and garnished them with ironic swipes at opera and operetta . A musical number, the morning chorale of the Peachum , was taken from Johann Christoph Pepusch . Inserted are ballads based on François Villon (including a ballad in which Macheath makes atonement for everyone , Call from the Crypt or The Pimp Ballad ) and Rudyard Kipling ( The Cannon Song ).

Orchestral line-up

The music is written for nine musicians on 22 instruments, in accordance with the practice at the time, when the musicians alternately played different instruments in salon orchestras and similar ensembles.

Alto saxophone in Eb (also flute , clarinet in Bb and baritone saxophone in Eb)
Tenor saxophone in Bb (also soprano saxophone in Bb, bassoon , possibly bass clarinet )
2 trumpets
Trombone (also double bass )
Banjo (also cello , guitar , Hawaiian guitar and bandoneon , possibly mandolin )
Harmonium (also celesta )
Piano ( direction )

Prelude and Act One

  • 1. Overture (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 trumpets, trombone, timpani, banjo, harmonium)
  • 2. The morality of Mackie Messer - morality singer (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, cymbal, tamburo legno, tamburo, piccolo, tom-tom, bass drum, banjo, harmonium, piano)
  • 3. The morning chorale of Peachum - Peachum (harmonium)
  • 4. The Instead of That Song - Peachum, Mrs. Peachum (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, glockenspiel, bass drum, banjo, harmonium, piano, cello, double bass)
  • 5. The wedding song for poorer people - record (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 trumpets, trombone, bandoneon, harmonium or piano)
  • 6. The Pirate Jenny - Polly (2 clarinets, trumpet, trombone, cymbals, triangle, tom, tamburo piccolo, bass drum, banjo, piano)
  • 7. The Kanonensong - Macheath, Tiger-Brown (Ottavino, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, 2 trumpets, trombone, cymbal, Tamburo Di Jazz, Tamburo Legno, Tamburo Piccolo, bass drum, banjo, Hawaiian guitar, piano)
  • 8.Love song - Macheath, Polly (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, timpani, cymbals, tamburo di jazz, piano, cello, double bass)
  • 9. Barbarasong (The Song of No and Yes) - Polly (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, banjo, piano)
  • 10. I. Threepenny finale: On the uncertainty of human conditions - Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, Polly (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassoon, 2 trumpets, trombone, timpani, tamburo legno, tamburo piccolo, bass drum, banjo, Harmonium, piano, cello, double bass)

Second act

  • 11. Melodrama - Macheath, Polly (flute, soprano saxophone, guitar, celesta, double bass)
  • 11a. Pollys Lied - Polly (clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, glockenspiel, harmonium, piano, cello, double bass)
  • 12. The ballad of sexual bondage - Mrs. Peachum (bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bassoon, 2 trumpets, trombone, guitar, bandoneon, harmonium)
This number was originally in place of the "Solomon Song" (No. 18) and was deleted two weeks before the premiere.
  • 13. The pimp ballad - Macheath, Jenny (flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, timpani, cymbal, tamburo di jazz, tamburo legno, tamburo piccolo, bass drum, banjo, Hawaiian guitar or mandolin, guitar, bandoneon, piano, Double bass)
  • 14. The ballad of the pleasant life - Macheath (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, cymbal, tamburo piccolo, bass drum, banjo, piano)
  • 15. The jealousy duet - Lucy, Polly (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 trumpets, timpani, cymbals, tamburo piccolo, banjo, piano, harmonium or piano, cello, double bass)
  • 16. II. Threepenny finale: On the question “What does man live on?” - Macheath and Jenny or Mrs. Peachum, choir (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 trumpets, trombone, timpani, cymbals, tamburo di jazz, tam-tam, bass drum , Guitar, bandoneon, piano)

Third act

  • 17. The song of the inadequacy of human endeavor - Peachum (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 trumpets, trombone, cymbals, triangle, tamburo legno, bass drum, bandoneon, piano)
  • 18. Solomon song - Jenny (harmonium)
  • 19. Call from the crypt, (Epistle to his friends) - Macheath (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tom-tom, piano)
  • 20. Gravestone (ballad in which Macheath apologizes to everyone) - Macheath (flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassoon, 2 trumpets, trombone, bells, tamburo rullante, bass drum, harmonium, piano, cello, double bass)
  • 20a. Walk to the gallows (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, cymbal, tom-tom, tamburo piccolo, bass drum, harmonium)
  • 21. III. Threepenny finals - Tiger-Brown, Macheath, Polly, Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, choir (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassoon, 2 trumpets, trombone, cymbals, triangle, tom, tamburo piccolo, tamburo rullante, bass drum, banjo, Guitar, bandoneon, harmonium, piano, double bass)

Epilogue and Appendix

  • Epilogue: The final stanzas of morality - morality singers (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, cymbal, tamburo legno, tamburo piccolo, tom tom, bass drum, banjo, harmonium, piano)
  • Lucy's Aria - Lucy (piano, also exists as an orchestral arrangement)
This number, along with the scene in which it was included, was deleted before the premiere. The vocal part requires an excellent dramatic soprano . The aria only exists as a piano reduction and was not orchestrated by Weill. Your place would be between # 18 and # 19.

Little threepenny music

In 1928 Kurt Weill composed a suite from the Threepenny Opera, the Little Threepenny Music for wind orchestra, with the following movements: Overture / The morality of Mackie Messer / Instead of that song / The ballade of the pleasant life / Polly's song / Tango ballad / Kanonen song / Threepenny finals


The plot of the play has a historical background in the broader sense. In the 18th century there was a well-organized criminal gang in London, headed by Jonathan Wild . This gang had several departments that on the one hand carried out theft and robbery, on the other hand offered the victims the loot for repurchase. Thirdly, close relationships with the police were maintained and unpopular accomplices were extradited. Wild was executed in London in 1725. John Gay took up this constellation for his Beggar's Opera , Jonathan Peachum bears features of Jonathan Wild in the opera.


The “Threepenny Opera” is an adaptation of Beggar's Opera by John Gay (text) and Johann Christoph Pepusch (music) from 1728. The model was the German translation of this opera by Elisabeth Hauptmann , from which Brecht, however, continued to develop in the course of his work distant. Originally the name was: “A piece with music in a prelude with 9 pictures based on the English of John Gay. Translation: Elisabeth Hauptmann. Editing: Bertolt Brecht. Music by Kurt Weill ”.

The Threepenny Opera is - despite the name, which is based on the original - not a through-composed opera in the narrower sense, but a politically committed theater piece with 22 completed vocal numbers, for which no opera singers are required, but singing actors.

The idea for the performance of the “Threepenny Opera” arose in the spring of 1928 in connection with the planned reopening of the Berlin Schiffbauerdamm Theater , for which Brecht offered the new director of the theater, Ernst Josef Aufricht, a half-finished manuscript as the first premiere for his renovated house. Aufricht, who was immediately taken with the material, accepted it - not at all knowing that he was also engaging the young composer Kurt Weill, whom Brecht had planned to set the texts from the beginning, to join. Aufricht initially doubted that Weill, who was known for his atonality, was the right man for music. Brecht and Weill wanted to develop a new form of musical theater together. According to Brecht's idea of ​​the “ epic theater ”, what happens on the stage should not draw the audience into an illusionary world, but rather stimulate them to reflect critically.

The Threepenny Opera could only be written because Brecht's colleague Elisabeth Hauptmann had read press reports in 1926 about the continued theatrical success of the rediscovered Beggar's Opera by John Gay, which had been performed again in London and other English cities since 1920, and submitted its translation to Brecht. The satire, set in a beggar's milieu, was the talk of the town when it was first performed in London in 1728 and broke all records when it was re-performed in 1920 with almost 1,500 performances. From March to May 1928, Brecht and Hauptmann worked out a first text version together, Hauptmann wrote a large part of the play himself, but was later never named or honored accordingly in the course of the worldwide success story (the program booklet of the world premiere also mentions: The Threepenny Opera by John Gay , translated by Elisabeth Hauptmann in the arrangement by Bert Brecht)

Due to the imminent opening of the theater, Brecht was pressed for time and decided to go to the Riviera with Weill to work for a few weeks . But before that, he regulated the profit sharing in a contract with the Felix Bloch Erben publishing house. Brecht insisted on 62.5 percent. Weill received 25 percent, Elisabeth Hauptmann 12.5 percent. In June and July, Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann then work on the final version on the French Riviera with Weill and his wife Lotte Lenya .

Brecht originally intended the opera to be called rabble and had it reproduced as a stage manuscript by the Felix Bloch Erben publishing house in June 1928 under the title Die Ludenoper . It was only Lion Feuchtwanger who , after visiting a rehearsal, suggested naming the piece Threepenny Opera .

For the Threepenny Opera, Brecht used a few songs by François Villon that had been translated by KL Ammer ( Karl Anton Klammer ). The fact that he did not cite this source led the critic Alfred Kerr to severe criticism. In May 1929 he made sharp accusations against Brecht in the Berliner Tageblatt . Brecht then admitted his "laxity in questions of intellectual property" (around five percent of the verses were affected). According to Friedrich Torberg ( Aunt Jolesch ) , Brecht had to pay a not inconsiderable advance payment to KL Ammer, for which the latter acquired a vineyard and called the wine made there “three penny wine”. For the new edition of the K.-L.-Ammerschen Villon edition, Brecht wrote a sonnet that ended with the words: “Everyone take what they need! I took something out myself ... "

Rudyard Kipling's ballad Screw-Guns had inspired Brecht to write the cannon song . The source was: cannons (Rudyard Kipling) from ballads from the bivouac (translated by Marx Möller ); Vita Verlag, Berlin 1911.

Rehearsals began on August 1, 1928 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm (Berlin) under the direction of Erich Engel . Theo Mackeben was the musical director ; it was playing the Lewis Ruth band. The set was designed by Caspar Neher . The cast were: Harald Paulsen , Peter Lorre , Rosa Valetti , Carola Neher , Kurt Gerron , Kate Kühl , Ernst Busch and Naphtali Lehrmann . Kurt Weill performed his songs at the beginning and convinced the director Erich Engel and director Aufricht to give his wife Lotte Lenya the role of Dunk Jenny. In her memoirs, Lotte Lenya wrote that the production was not doing well and that rumors were spreading in the city about a “completely inaccessible” piece that Brecht had written.

A streak of bad luck soon began: Carola Neher's husband, the poet Klabund , suffered from tuberculosis and had to go to a sanatorium in Davos after an attack. As his situation worsened, Neher stopped the rehearsals and drove to him. After Klabund's death, Neher returned to Berlin on August 18 and passed out twice during rehearsals until a doctor forbade her to appear. She later confessed that she could not bear Brecht's songs, some of which he had copied by the French poet François Villon, because Villon had been Klabund's favorite poet. A week before the premiere, Roma Bahn took over the role of Polly from her.

The last few days before the premiere were marked by arguments between the director and the writer about the songs, and it was even suggested that the music should be completely deleted. Peter Lorre , who was supposed to play the role of Jonathan Peachum, got out, Erich Ponto stepped in for him at short notice . When the director Erich Engel threw in the towel in exasperation after a dispute over the final chorale, Brecht took over the directing himself at the last minute, but no one else believed in a premiere. Harald Paulsen , the actor who played Mackie Messer , suddenly asked for a better introduction of his character with a song that was supposed to prepare him for his appearance. Brecht wrote a text and Weill set it to music overnight: It was Moritat that was to become the drama’s most popular song. Another mishap happened with the cast sheet : the name of Lotte Lenya, who played Jenny , was accidentally omitted.

Karl Kraus , who sometimes took part in the rehearsals for the Threepenny Opera premiere, contributed the second verse of the “Jealousy Duet” during the dress rehearsal, because in his opinion the audience would not have enough of one.


Performance history

Cast sheet for the premiere. Specifying Lotte Lenya as Jenny missing.

The premiere took place on August 31, 1928 and was one of the greatest successes in theater history, but not immediately. At first there was an icy mood and obvious rejection in the auditorium. Only with the cannon song did the ice break. There was storms of applause, the audience trampled, the song even had to be repeated. From then on, every sentence was applauded, and the Threepenny Opera became the greatest theatrical success of the Weimar Republic .

As early as January 1929 it was played in 19 German theaters as well as in Vienna , Prague and Budapest . The catchiest songs - The Moritat by Mackie Messer , the song of the pirate Jenny or the ballad of the pleasant life - were whistled on every alley. The Dreigroschenoper would later become the most successful German piece of the 20th century. At the end of the 1928/29 season alone, 4,000 performances were recorded in 200 productions - a record for the century even then. Elias Canetti later wrote: “It was a refined performance, coldly calculated. It was the most precise expression of this Berlin. The people cheered themselves to which they were themselves, and they liked it. First came their food, then came their morals, none of them could have said it better. They took that literally. "

In 1933 "The Threepenny Opera" was banned by the National Socialists . By then the play had been translated into 18 languages ​​and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages. It experienced its first revival in post-war Berlin in August 1945 at the Hebbel Theater with Hubert von Meyerinck in the lead role. In 1949 the Münchner Kammerspiele played a version modified by Brecht with Hans Albers as Macheath.

Hannah Arendt claims in her book Elements and Origins of Total Reign 1951 that the play had "the exact opposite of what Brecht wanted him to do" - the exposure of bourgeois hypocrisy. The "only political result of the play was that everyone was encouraged to drop the uncomfortable mask of hypocrisy and openly adopt the standards of the mob ."

The Threepenny Opera finally achieved such international fame that it inspired the Brazilian singer and composer Chico Buarque to write his Ópera do Malandro (roughly: The Crooks Opera ) in the 1960s . Even the showpiece of the Threepenny Opera, The Moritat by Mackie Messer , was musically taken over by Buarque; in Portuguese it is called O Malandro .

In 1996 there was a performance at the Vienna Burgtheater in which the English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood designed the costumes. Directed by Paulus Manker , the MacHeath played Fritz Schediwy that Polly Maria Happel and Pirate Jenny Ingrid Caven , the stage was by Erich Wonder .

The 2006 production by Klaus Maria Brandauer in Berlin's Admiralspalast was received rather skeptically by the critics . The actors were Campino (Mackie Messer), Jenny Deimling (Lucy), Maria Happel (Spelunkenjenny), Gottfried John (Peachum), Birgit Minichmayr (Polly), Katrin Sass (Mrs. Peachum) and Michael Kind (Tiger Brown). Despite all the criticism, more than 70,000 spectators attended the 45 performances.

From 2007 to 2020 the Threepenny Opera was staged by Robert Wilson at the location of the premiere, the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. The new director Oliver Reese canceled the Threepenny Opera.

Film adaptations

The Threepenny Trial

In 1930 Nero-Film AG had acquired rights to the film from the Felix Bloch Erben publishing house , with Georg Wilhelm Pabst as the director . The financiers were Warner Bros. and Tobis-Film , Brecht was supposed to provide the "basis for the script". So in September 1930 the film exposure "The Bump - A Threepenny Film" was created, on which Léo Lania , Ladislaus Vajda and Béla Balázs had also worked. In mid-September 1930, filming began on two versions of the film, one German and one French. The film company no longer involved Brecht (the contract had already been terminated on August 23, 1930), whereupon he and Kurt Weill sued the producer in order to obtain a performance ban. The lawsuit was dismissed in the first instance and finally ended with a settlement, so that the film was completed and premiered on February 19, 1931 in Berlin. Brecht's ideas in his synopsis were largely ignored. In the course of the dispute, the film company accused Brecht of wanting to give the film a “decidedly political tendency”, which a “politically neutral company” could not allow. The film was shown uncut in Germany and England; the French version could only be shown after changes. In August 1933 the film was then banned in Germany. Brecht wrote under the title “The Threepenny Trial. A sociological experiment ”is an analysis of the legal dispute, which he published together with the film exposure and the text of the“ Threepenny Opera ”in volume 3 of the“ Experiments ”. The catalog book Photo: Casparius by Hans-Michael Bock and Jürgen Berger contains extensive documentation of contemporary documents on the filming (including a complete script version) and the process as well as numerous photographs . The film adaptation and the process are the subject of the feature film Mackie Messer - Brecht's Threepenny Film (2018).

Radio plays

There are two audio documents from 1930.

  1. Production: RRG (length: 26 minutes) - Director: Theo Mackeben
  2. Production: Ultraphon (length: 32 minutes) - Director: EJ Aufricht , with Lotte Lenya , Erika Helmke , Kurt Gerron , Willy Trenk-Trebitsch , Erich Ponto , Lewis-Ruth-Band under Theo Mackeben .

In 1968, an elaborate radio play production with many well-known stars of the time was created. It was a joint production by HR , SR , SWF and WDR . The performance was produced in stereo and had a running time of 143 minutes. Ulrich Lauterbach directed the film . The participants were: Mackie Messer: Horst Tappert , Peachum: Willy Trenk-Trebitsch , Mrs. Peachum: Heidemarie Hatheyer , Polly: Steffy Helmar , Brown and morality singers: Franz Kutschera , Lucy: Ursula Dirichs , Spelunken-Jenny: Gudrun Thielemann , Pastor Kimball : Werner Siedhoff , Filch: Werner Eichhorn , A beggar: Uwe Dallmeier


Historical recordings from 1930 (partly cast for the first performance) & Franz. Recordings of the GWPabst film
  • 1930–1931 with Lotte Lenya, Kurt Gerron, Willi Trenk-Trebitsch, Erich Ponto / Lewis Ruth Band (Theo Mackeben) / Bertolt Brecht (sings two songs himself) / Berlin State Opera Orchestra (Otto Klemperer), with Mme. Damia (French morality)
Historical recordings from 1930. There are several historical recordings from around 1928–1931
Very slow in tempo, which corresponds to Weill's original score
Original instrumentation
  • 1959 (Europ. Phonoklub 1141) Record version with soloists and ensemble of the Theater der Stadt Baden-Baden / Alf Reigl (Mor), Dieter Brammer (P), Carola Erdin (MsP), Edith Bussmann (Polly), Johannes Schütz (MM), Elsbeth von Lüdinghausen (J) / instrumental soloists of the Südwestfunkorchester Baden-Baden (Werner Meissner) / Hannes Tannert (director) / Dr. Karl Richter (production)
  • 1966 After the Frankfurt performance of a production by Harry Buckwitz with Hans Korte , Franz Kutschera , Hans Stetter, Fritz Nydegger, Albert Hoermann, Anita Mey , Dieter Brammer / Orchestra of the Frankfurt Opera (Wolfgang Rennert)
  • 1967 after the performance at the New York Shakespeare Festival with Raúl Juliá (MM), Ellen Greene (J), Caroline Kava (P), Blair Brown (L), CK Alexander (P) and Elizabeth Wilson (MsP) in a new translation
  • 1968 (Polydor) with Hannes Messemer (MM), Helmut Qualtinger (P), Berta Drews (MsP), Karin Baal (Polly), Martin Held (B), Hanne Wieder (J), Franz Josef Degenhardt (Mor) / Orchestra James Last ( James Last ) with full dialogues
  • 1985 with Sting , Tom Waits , Todd Rundgren, Stanard Ridgway
Pop versions that are not allowed on stage by the Weill Foundation
Prestige production of the Weill Foundation in New York with “famous” names
All songs in the original keys
First recording of the Critical Complete Edition
  • 2006 Slut : Songs from Die Dreigroschenoper; only 5 of the songs were allowed to be published (see web links )
  • 2006 'Le Grand Lustucru - Lars Duppler Trio plays Kurt Weill' EC 536-2
Duppler has selected ten songs by Weill, including well-known numbers from the Threepenny Opera such as “Pollys Song” and “Mackie Messer” and has followed up the jazzy structures of the compositions


Text output

  • The Beggar's Opera. A piece with music in a prelude and eight pictures based on the English of John Gay. Translated by Elisabeth Hauptmann. German adaptation by Bert Brecht. Music by Kurt Weill. Vienna: Universal-Edition AG 1928, 80 pages. Printed as a manuscript opposite the stages.
  • Bertolt Brecht: The Threepenny Opera. The first printing in 1928. With a comment by Joachim Lucchesi . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2004 (Suhrkamp BasisBibliothek 48); ISBN 3-518-18848-8 .
  • Bertolt Brecht: The Threepenny Opera . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1968 (edition Suhrkamp 229); ISBN 3-518-10229-X .

Secondary literature

  • Bertolt Brecht: The Threepenny Opera. Text and comment . Cornelsen Switzerland, Aarau 2004; ISBN 3-464-69067-9 .
  • Bertolt Brecht: The Threepenny Book. Texts, materials, documents. (Edited by Siegfried Unseld) Two volumes. Brecht's texts on Threepenny Opera, Threepenny Film, Threepenny Trial, Brecht-Giorgio Strehler conversation, John Gay's The Beggars Opera, Threepenny Novel and works on Threepenny Opera from Adorno to Lotte Weill-Lenya. With a picture part. Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 87 ISBN 3-518-36587-8 .
  • Hans-Michael Bock and Jürgen Berger (conception and compilation): Photo: Casparius . Foundation Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin u. a. 1978. (In it, among other things, documents and script version for the filming Die 3-Groschen-Oper by GW Pabst, 1930/31).
  • Werner Hecht (Ed.): Brecht's "Dreigroschenoper" , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main, 1985 ISBN 3-518-38556-9 (Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch; 2056: materials).

Web links

Commons : The Threepenny Opera  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Hielscher: World hit with shark teeth , Spiegel online , February 10, 2020
  2. ^ Bertolt Brecht: Selected Works in Six Volumes, Volume 1: Pieces 1 . Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-518-45732-2 , pp. 650 .
  3. Jan Knopf (Ed.): Brecht Handbook . JB Metzler, Stuttgart 2001, Volume 1, p. 205 f
  4. So in the article about Klammer on the website of the Austrian National Library
  5. Elias Canetti: The torch in the ear. Life history 1921-1931. Book Guild Gutenberg, 1986, p. 318.
  6. ^ Hannah Arendt: Elements and origins of total domination. 1951, p. 717
  7. For the last time at the Berliner Ensemble: Robert Wilson's production of "The Threepenny Opera". Retrieved August 28, 2020 .
  8. The 3groschenoper (1931). Internet Movie Database , accessed May 22, 2015 .
  9. The Threepenny Opera (1962). Internet Movie Database , accessed May 22, 2015 .
  10. ^ Mack the Knife (1990). Internet Movie Database , accessed May 22, 2015 .
  11. Die Dreigroschenoper (2004) in the Internet Movie Database (English): 3sat
  12. “Mackie Messer - Brecht's Threepenny Film” opens the 36th FILMFEST MUNICH . Article dated May 29, 2018, accessed June 7, 2018.
  13. Jan Knopf (Ed.): Brecht Handbook . JBMetzler Stuttgart 2002, Volume 3, p. 122 f