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  • Your reaction: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in cinemas 2015

Your reaction: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in cinemas 2015

What did you think of the live cinema relay of Brecht and Weill’s satire, starring Anne Sofie von Otter, Willard White and Christine Rice?

By Hayley Bartley (Former Content Producer (Learning))

1 April 2015 at 10.44pm | 30 Comments

What did you think of Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny live in cinemas?

The Royal Opera House Cinema Season broadcasts performances to more than 1,600 cinemas in 44 countries around the world. 

The next live relay of 2014/15 will be The Royal Ballet's La Fille mal gardée on 5 May 2015. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our Cinema mailing list.

By Hayley Bartley (Former Content Producer (Learning))

1 April 2015 at 10.44pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by John Fulljames, cinema, cinema season, Production, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Social Media, twitter, your reaction

This article has 30 comments

  1. Steve Green responded on 1 April 2015 at 10:58pm Reply

    Superb as usual. Second half tighter, better designed and performances matched.First half seemed to lack focus and meandered. Chorus strong. Essential ROH continue global cinema screenings. PatersonJoseph was by far best guide this season. Interval behind scenes and director interview critical for non experts!

    • I think your comments are perceptive but the developments are inherent in the piece, rather than a result of this production. Act 1 is meandering and disjointed. Crucially, Weill's music gathers momentum as the opera moves into Acts 2 & 3, which enables all the other elements of the opera to shine.
      Thank you ROH for giving us the opera-tunity (see what I did there?) to experience this rare treat.

    • Spot on Steve Green, tho the meandering first half was I thought more down to inherent problems of the work itself? Also v. much appreciated Paterson, who drew us into the whole evening so engagingly. The performances were absolutely outstanding all round too.

  2. Mary Burdon responded on 1 April 2015 at 11:49pm Reply

    Stunning opera with a chilling ending. I had to call for a g&t when I came out of the cinema. It would have been even more effective if there had not been a curtain call.

  3. Cybele responded on 1 April 2015 at 11:52pm Reply

    Fantastic performance - acting, staging, translation. Themes of consumerism and self-obsession - relevant today and very disturbing.

  4. Jo Rodgers responded on 2 April 2015 at 1:16am Reply

    Saw this in Odeon Portlaoise in Ireland. Loved this whole production. Brilliant cast - esp Anne-Sophie Bon Otter - and Paterson Joseph's witty commentary made those of us in the cinema feel very much part of the action.

  5. Jeannette Daly responded on 2 April 2015 at 8:28am Reply

    I'm still buzzing - saw it in Stafford Cinema which was one third full (think website faulty)- it's the best thing I ve seen ever anywhere- all the cast were AMAZING, the script brought brilliantly up to date, all very valid for our times and hugely funny in places although underlying themes very serious stuff- and what a production!!! And produced and performed under very difficult conditions with power cuts day and night..AWESOME and not forgetting the compere who put us in the mood and the interviews before and after made it all VERY ACCESSIBLE. Thank you

  6. David Howard responded on 2 April 2015 at 8:47am Reply

    Brilliant production, and so relevant to today. While bankers swill champagne, government benefit inspectors hound an ex-soldier fallen on hard times to death. We live in Mahagonny!

  7. Michael Stoddart responded on 2 April 2015 at 10:02am Reply

    Aufstieg und Fall auf deutsch ja;auf englisch nein.I hope the ROH isn't going to produce more translations.That's ENO's job [if you want it].Why did Jimmy Mahoney become Jimmy McIntyre ?

  8. Christine Clegg responded on 2 April 2015 at 10:12am Reply

    This was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We live in south-west France and saw the production last night in our local cinema. We have seen other ROH productions in the cinema here - and lots of French attend them too. Thank you so much. We will be going to "La Fille mal gardee".

  9. Berenice responded on 2 April 2015 at 10:49am Reply

    For me, Christine Rice, the set design and Patterson Joseph definitely the stars of last night's performance.
    Thank you.

  10. Margarida responded on 2 April 2015 at 10:54am Reply

    He vist la peça via streaming a Lleida (Catalunya).
    Brutal i contemporània posada en escena! Escenografia+Visuals+Intèrprets= Genial!

  11. bongosmith responded on 2 April 2015 at 12:25pm Reply

    This was an extraordinary performance. (Though pity about Paterson Joseph - completely excruciating, hamming it up and overshadowing his interviewees.) Great cast, politically biting - perfect pre-election stuff.

    What a shame then that the relay was so terrible! In Holloway Odeon at least. Sound and image cut out around 25 separate times, mostly at the higher notes. Mostly for 2 or 3 seconds at a time, but then for the whole crescendo at the end of Act 2. Very frustrating.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 2 April 2015 at 12:29pm

      Sorry to hear about this issues experienced at Holloway Odeon. Our technical team are in contact with the venue to ascertain what went wrong and avoid it occurring again in future.


      ROH Content Producer

  12. Critics & First-Nighters often struggle with Brecht as he deliberately shatters comfort zones & doesn't deliver what they've come to expect. Later audiences, more open-minded, react more positively - as we did in our cinema, coming out raving about the production, sets, video & cast. If I had to pick anyone for absolute perfection it would have to be Peter Hoare.

  13. Jackie Marshall responded on 2 April 2015 at 2:09pm Reply

    I saw Mahagonny at the Curzon Cinema in Canterbury last night. Thank you -- it was superb in every way.

  14. Robert Chaplin responded on 2 April 2015 at 3:29pm Reply

    So much not to like - where was the savagery? the sheer nastiness of Brecht's Gomorrah -why does Widow Begbick speak like a character out of Carry on Whoring but sing like a duchess - why smooth out Weil's jarring score to a one-size-fits-all banality - and spare me the eco-moralising - the showing at the Empire was spoiled by low volume and the lights being left on!

  15. jo williams responded on 2 April 2015 at 4:41pm Reply

    watched in Bristol with friends new to brecht/weill. A Gesamtkunstwerk!!!brilliant production true to Verfremdung principles and fantastic singing. John Fulljames was sensitive to the language and context.BRILLIANT!!

  16. Suki Pryce responded on 2 April 2015 at 6:15pm Reply

    Dear ROH, I grew up with Mahagonny in the 1960's - my mother was German Jewish, and we had a multi-LP set of what I guess was the original German Mahagonny cast, including the young Lotte Lenya with her marvellous gravelly voice. So, as a teenager, I knew the whole opera in German, and was absolutely captivated by many parts of it - especially the hard-jazz sections; the blues-jazz version of 'Oh Moon of Alabama' 'gravelled' by Lenya; and the exquisite 'Crane's Song' duet from the execution scene. I was therefore bitterly disappointed to find these reduced (the first) or mysteriously missing (the last two). Why oh why, dear ROH, have you chosen to exclude some of the best music in the opera?? Apart from this, I realised that I'd been better off as a teenager listening to the work in German and not knowing what was being sung! as I now find the libretto to be poor in so many ways... But Weill's music from the recording I know transcends the sketchy story - such a pity I didn't hear anything like as good as my mother's LPs last night.

  17. KEVIN responded on 3 April 2015 at 11:32am Reply


  18. Roger Cotterrell responded on 3 April 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

    I don't normally like opera and prefer to keep dramatic theatrical performance and virtuoso music performance separate. But this was different, because of the powerful, angry contemporary message of the opera, the superb performances, and Weill's music. I thought it was excellent in every way.

  19. Magnificent production with stunning performances by all - but I now understand why it's so rarely produced! Despite being a massive Brecht/Weill fan, this is a poor work - is essentially 3 or 4 didactic ideological points loosely strung together by a poor libretto lacking dramatic tension and narrative drive till the last 10 minutes, plus some hard-work music (apart from the Alabama song). Of course it's still acutely relevant to 2015, but I felt it would work better as a straight play with plenty of editing to give it more cohesion and tension.

  20. Bill Tingey responded on 4 April 2015 at 10:42am Reply

    Just fantastic. I have been listening to the German language version for nearly 50 years but the performance, sets, music of this ROH staging surpassed all expectations. Can't wait for the DVD to come out! Thank you so much.

  21. Y Newell responded on 4 April 2015 at 12:18pm Reply

    Not my sort of thing. Very dark and dismal.

  22. John Darnell responded on 5 April 2015 at 8:53am Reply

    Any enthusiast for the Theatre could not avoid Brecht in the 1960’s so have been waiting 50 years for this. Not an Opera expert, but breathtaking performance complemented by fantastic set and video. Only regret is that I didn’t attend a live performance.

  23. Hannu responded on 6 April 2015 at 10:02pm Reply

    Good experience at cinema in Finland, Tapiola. Great music and singing by all. Staging inovative and enjouable. The extra explanations helpfull, you could not miss the plot etc. I think Weill und Brecht made a great job in turning our world into musical experience and finding beauty in this uglyness.

  24. Lucy Douch responded on 7 April 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

    I went to the 'encore' of the live relay at the Odeon Covent Garden on Sunday 5 April. The sound was out of synch and we got two free tickets when we complained (not to the value of the ones we had bought however!). Wonderful opera. Loved it. Much better than being there even with the sound defects.

  25. Striking production of this satire, still up to date and full of cheeky life Well done!P.Sims

  26. Patricia responded on 23 May 2015 at 9:37am Reply

    Saw this today in Sydney. Absolutely brilliant production and superb performances. I only wished I had seen it in London. Fabulous!!

  27. Maria Zhizhina responded on 29 May 2015 at 12:18pm Reply

    I saw this on 27 May in Kirov (Russia) at the October cinema. That was amazing!

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