NAU Opera transports the ‘The Threepenny Opera’ to modern life

3 penny opera

NAU Opera brings Mack the Knife and the plight of the poor and profiteers to the stage with its performance ofThe Threepenny Opera.

In their opera “by and for beggars,” composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) transformed old-fashioned opera and operetta forms by including bitter political perspective and 1920s Berlin dance band and cabaret music.

The drama and wit of the play focuses on the lives of prostitutes and beggars and the rich who are trying to take advantage of them. Jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness are themes in the seamy tale.

NAU Opera will stage the 1927 opera in English in a modern 21st century New York City setting. “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” a popular standard, opens the opera with student singers alternating performances.

David Bracamonte and Jared Levin play Mr. Peachum; Roland Mills and Andrew Surrena play Macheath;Quentin Lee and Andrew Sievers play Tiger Brown; Kia Crotinger and Staci Dickens play Mrs. Peachum;Sandra Flores and Aubrey Peotter play Polly Peachum; Rachael Hirsch and Sarah Gilbert play Jenny; andJenny Statler and Kai Xin Tay play Lucy Brown.

Penny for their thoughts
Learn about Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht and the historical and artistic significance of their opera during an NAU-led discussion held 30 minutes prior to Thursday and Saturday performances.In addition, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 5, an NAU luncheon and faculty discussion, “The Threepenny Opera in context: A panel presentation by faculty from NAU’s College of Arts and Letters” will be held in Ashurst Auditorium.

Cost for this event is $27 and tickets are available at NAU’s Central Ticketing office at (928) 523-5661.

“The satire in this piece may be biting,” said visiting director Kay Castaldo, “but the evening in the theater is pure entertainment as well
as a confrontation with humor, wickedness and irony.”

Castaldo, who has directed with opera companies worldwide,
including many guest engagements with the New York City Opera,
will be accompanied by Nicholas Ross, NAU director of orchestras, the NAU Symphony Orchestra, the NAU Opera chorus and student soloists.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 2 and 4 and at 2 p.m. April 5. Tickets are $22.50 for adults, $18.50 for seniors, $10.50 for faculty and $8 for students. For tickets, call the NAU Central Ticket Office at (928) 523-5661.