Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, and Anthony Dean Griffey star in this Los Angeles Opera production of the Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht classic, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Recorded March 1 and 4, 2007 -- and premiered on PBS's Great Performances the following December, Mahagonny tells a tale of an Old West boomtown that rises from the desert to become a razzle-dazzle Mecca for lust, liberty, and the pursuit of pleasure. Cash is king, poverty is punishable by death, and anything worth doing is worth overdoing. The gripping story and sharply satirical opera -- full of whiskey, women, and gambling fools -- raises an ironic eyebrow at capitalist society. With lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, the provocative inspiration behind the Broadway staples Cabaret and Chicago had its premiere in 1930 and was banned by the Nazis in '33. "Mack the Knife" composer Kurt Weill penned a haunting score, which crosses over from opera to cabaret to Broadway and includes the classic pop hit "Moon of Alabama." On this DVD, John Doyle, the director of Broadway's smash hit revival of Sweeney Todd, delivers a risky new production starring four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who stars as Jenny, a tart-with-a-heart, and Broadway legend Patti LuPone as the town's feisty madam Begbick. Conductor and LA Opera music director James Conlon talks about the work and this particular staging in a DVD bonus interview.