L'Opéra de quat'sous

by Bertolt Brecht, musique de Kurt Weill
Direction Laurent Pelly

From 2 april 2011 to 19 july 2011
Duration: 3h00 avec entracte

The Threepenny Opera

Beggars, thieves, whores... We plunge into the colourful underworld of Soho around 1900, where bandits and bourgeois exploit each other, dream and slum it. Peachum, whose business is poverty, gets rich off the backs of false beggars who try to arouse the sympathy of passers-by. These streets are also the territory of Mack the Knife, a petty criminal with many skills. As he is neither of the charming nor gallant type, Polly Peachum falls for him, to her parents’ great chagrin. The tawdry nuptials are hastily organised by Mack’s gang in a stable. But the young woman’s happiness doesn’t last as her prince is betrayed to Tiger-Brown, the police chief and Mack’s best friend, by the jealous Pirate Jenny.
Mrs. Peachum
You had precious little morals getting married in the first place,
But did it have to be with a horse thief and a highway robber?

Act I, Scene 3

With the support of the Jacques Toja Foundation for Theatre and the Fondation Orange


Bertolt Brecht, musique de Kurt Weill

In 1928, he shot to fame thanks to The Threepenny Opera, originally entitled Riff-Raff and adapted from The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay (1728) whose satirical violence against capitalist society Brecht preserved. Along with Man Equals Man (1927), this Opera, a new kind of musical theatre to combat the “total mind-numbingness of opera” was composed by Kurt Weill, drawing on operetta, jazz and cabaret songs. It was to be the one of the first landmarks of the “epic theatre” later theorised by Brecht. His aesthetic of distancing, which broke with the illusionist theatre, was soon to flourish on Western stages. The Threepenny Opera triumphed, leading to a film adaptation as early as 1931. In exile from 1933, Brecht wrote the Threepenny Novel (1934). After ten fruitful years, albeit spent wandering through Europe and the United States, he founded the Berliner Ensemble in the GDR in 1949. He died in 1956, a few months after seeing The Threepenny Opera revived by Strehler at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan.


Laurent Pelly

Laurent Pelly founded the Pelican theatre company in 1980. He became artistic director of the Centre dramatique des Alpes in 1997, and since 2008 he has run the Théâtre national de Toulouse jointly with Agatha Mélinand, staging Victor Hugo’s Thousand Francs Reward there in 2010. Among the fifty or so plays he has directed over twenty years, opera – notably represented by Verdi, Debussy and Offenbach – vies with a vast theatre repertoire – Shakespeare, Strindberg, Copi or Levin with Funérailles d’hiver (Winter Funeral) performed at the Théâtre du Rond-Point (end 2010). The Threepenny Opera combines all the facets of this theatre enthusiast who considers directing like a musical score, setting an ideal rhythm through the alternation of tragedy and comedy. A promising hint of deviation for an innovative Brechtian work.


This show is available to the hearing impaired
10/05/2011 - 20:30
13/05/2011 - 20:30
17/05/2011 - 20:30
19/06/2011 - 14:00
21/06/2011 - 20:30

This show is available to the visually impaired
19/04/2011 - 20:30
28/04/2011 - 20:30
28/05/2011 - 14:00
31/05/2011 - 20:30
28/06/2011 - 20:30
01/07/2011 - 20:30


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