Dutch National Opera presents

Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny KURT WEILL (1900-1950)

This show was to been seen in March 2020


Duration 2:45

Breaks 1

By Kurt Weill

Language German

Surtitles Dutch and English

The government’s temporary decision to ban events and gatherings until 1 June 2020, in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, means that Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be closed until that date. Read more information here: operaballet.nl/corona-update

Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny is a satirical parable by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht about capitalism running rampant. There are no limits on what’s allowed in Mahagonny, as long as you can pay. Weill’s fusion of classical, jazz and popular tunes makes for a roller coaster musical production. 

© Pascal Victor; Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
    Mon 09 Mar Trouw - Mahagonny in Aix-en-Provence 2019

    'Van Hove's direction of the opera by Weill and Bertolt Brecht was brilliant.'

    Mon 09 Mar New York Times over Mahagonny in Aix-en-Provence 2019

    ‘Ivo van Hove’s ‘Mahagonny’ does justice to Brecht and Weill’

    Tue 05 Feb NRC***** about VAN HOVE - EEN KLEIN LEVEN, 2018

    "This is theatre in its most glorious form''

    Tue 05 Feb DE VOLKSKRANT about VAN HOVE - SALOME, 2017

    "Van Hove is sure to stimulate the imagination."

Do as you please
After the success of their shorter Mahagonny Songspiel (1927), Weill and Brecht fleshed out the story to a full-length opera. But where the Mahagonny of the Songspiel still had echoes of paradise, the city’s sole purpose in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny is to separate people from their money. Here, everyone is free to do as they please – binge, booze, make love or war; the only sin is to have no money. In the end, Mahagonny goes up in flames.

Historical background
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny was first staged towards the end of the progressive Weimar Republic. Various scandals surrounded its première and subsequent performances, most of them incited by far-right saboteurs.

Team and cast

Directed by Ivo van Hove, this production incorporates video projections by Tal Yarden, with stage and lighting design by Van Hove's regular scenographer Jan Versweyveld. Returning to DNO for this production are Doris Soffel (as Leokadja Begbick), Alan Oke (Fatty), Sir Willard White (Dreieinigkeitsmoses), Nikolai Schukoff (Jim Mahoney) and Thomas Oliemans (Bill).

Markus Stenz
Chief conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra since the 2012-2013 season, he conducted Kurtág’s Fin de partie at the Opera Forward Festival 2019. In this production, he leads the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ivo van Hove
Ivo van Hove is the director of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (formerly Toneelgroep Amsterdam), while he has won worldwide acclaim with his productions in London and New York. Among the operas that he has directed are Lulu and Der Ring des Nibelungen (Opera Vlaanderen), The Makropulos Affair, Iolanta, Der Schatzgräber and Salome (DNO), as well as the world première of Brokeback Mountain (Teatro Real in Madrid).

Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny

Opera in 3 acts
Bertolt Brecht
World premiere
9 March 1930
Neues Theater Leipzig

Coproduction with: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Opera Vlaanderen and Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg


Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Markus Stenz
Stage Director
Ivo van Hove
Set Designer
Jan Versweyveld
Costume Designer
An D'huys
Lighting Designer
Jan Versweyveld
Tal Yarden
Koen Tachelet
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorus Master
Ching-Lien Wu
Leokadja Begbick
Doris Soffel
Alan Oke
Sir Willard White
Jenny Hill
Lauren Michelle
Jim Mahoney
Nikolai Schukoff
Jack O’Brien/ Tobby Higgins
Sean Panikkar
Thomas Oliemans
Peixin Chen
Sechs Mädchen
Kristina Bitenc,
Thembinkosi Magagula
Maria Novella Malfatti
Veerle Sanders
Leonie van Rheden,
Cathy-Di Zhang

Ivo van Hove


Ivo van Hove (director) was appointed director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam in 2001 and directed the Holland Festival from 1998 to 2004. Van Hove’s productions are performed at many venues in the Netherlands and abroad, including theatres in New York (Broadway), London (West End), Seoul and Melbourne.

Markus Stenz


The German conductor MARKUS STENZ (musical director) has a special reputation in the field of contemporary symphonic and dramatic music repertoire.


Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra has been the principal partner of Dutch National Opera for more than 30 years and is among the world's best opera orchestras. The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is the orchestra’s primary venue. Besides programmes led by chief conductor Marc Albrecht and Gordan Nicolic (musical director of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra), it also has various collaborations with internationally renowned guest conductors and soloists, as well as budding stars of the next generation of musicians. The orchestra seeks to make the classical repertoire accessible to everyone, performing not only in concert halls but also a range of unusual and more adventurous venues. By bringing people together through music, the orchestra creates beautiful and memorable musical experiences for all, from classical aficionados to new audiences. With its home base in the NedPhO-Koepel, a former church in Amsterdam's culturally diverse Indische Buurt, the orchestra plays a vital role in the community. Each year it organises some two hundred activities around music education, neighbourhood participation and talent development. In the 2019-2020 season, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is playing in the DNO productions of Pagliacci I Cavalleria rusticana, Die Walküre, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny and Die Frau ohne Schatten. The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is playing in Così fan tutte and La Cenerentola.


Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Dutch National Opera's own chorus consists of 50 singers, regularly augmented with freelance members for large productions. The Chorus has an impressive record with milestones including opera productions of Saint Francois dAssise, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Ercole amante, Boris Godoenov, La Juive, Les Troyens, Eugene Onegin, Parsifal, Guillaume Tell, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Faust, La forza del destino, Das Flos der Medusa, Oedipe and Tannhauser, and concerts of Der fliegende Hollander in Rotterdam, Paris and Dortmund and Daphnis et Chloe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. Under the artistic direction of Ching-Lien Wu since 1 September 2014, in 2016 the authoritative Opernwelt magazine named the DNO Chorus the Best Opera Chorus of the year. In the 2019-2020 season the Chorus is singing in Pagliacci |Cavalleria rusticana, Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, Nabucco, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Carmen and Rusalka.



FOYER Evening

Mo 2 March  Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny

Musical evening giving an accessible, in-depth explanation of operas and ballets.

NB: In principle, the foyer evenings are given in Dutch, but in practice the high number of international guests means that English is often spoken as well.

Step into the world of the makers. Sit back with a drink in an informal setting and enjoy an aria or duet, a pas de deux or small ensemble, or an interview with a singer or choreographer. A varied programme, linked to a topical theme, is presented for each production.

The doors and the bar open at 20.00. The evening begins at 20.30 and lasts around an hour and a quarter. The bar will stay open afterwards.

Regular - € 10
Students - € 7.50

Free for Giving Circle members of Dutch National Opera, Dutch National Ballet and Dutch National Opera & Ballet

Prices are exclusive of booking charges. Tickets for performances can be purchased separately



Opera Forward Festival

13 to 22 March 2020, the fifth edition of the Opera Forward Festival will take place. With OFF '20, Dutch National Opera brings different art forms, new talent and established artists together.

View program


This production is part of Opera Forward Festival and is made possible by:

Founding Partners Opera Forward Festival

Production partner Opera Forward Festival

Partner OFF-Talents


Main sponsor Dutch National Opera & Ballet