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Weill's collaboration with Bertolt Brecht lasted only a scant four years, but it resulted in some important pieces. Brecht, who was not very well known when they first met, did not want to be a mere librettist for a famous composer. He wanted equal billing and his attitude eventually resulted in the break up of the relationship.

Audra McDonald as Jenny Smith and Anthony Dean Griffey as Jim McIntyre. Photo © 2007 Robert Millard
Audra McDonald as Jenny Smith and Anthony Dean Griffey as Jim McIntyre. Photo © 2007 Robert Millard

Brecht (1898-1956) had written a poem on the subject of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny as part of a prize-winning series called The Domestic Breviary. It was a parody on commonly read religious books of the time. He met the shy and seemingly unprepossessing Weill at a Berlin wine bar in 1927. Each liked the other's work and they started to turn Mahagonny into an opera. It took them a long time to do it, however, and they began work on The Threepenny Opera before finishing it.

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Copyright © 18 March 2007 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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