Music: Ferocious Parable

A Weill opera goes Hollywood

When Bertolt Brecht created his legendary Mahagonny, that "City of Nets" where every pleasure is for sale, he neglected to specify exactly where it was. It was originally thought to be the Nazi-threatened Berlin of the 1920s, but the libretto that he wrote for Kurt Weill's most ambitious opera, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930), seems to be set on a wildly imaginary Florida Gold Coast. But to Jonathan Miller, the gifted British director who was commissioned to stage a new Mahagonny at the enterprising, young Los Angeles Music Center Opera, there could be only one locale....

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