One of New York City’s most innovative opera companies, City Lyric Opera (CLO), begins its fifth season with a never before seen live experience of power, technology, and storytelling. From October 29-November 15, 2020, CLO presents Weill and Brecht’s musical comedy “The Threepenny Opera” in a virtual, fully produced show. Despite the hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic, CLO sates audiences’ hunger for meaningful art with this groundbreaking online adaptation of one of the famous shows in the history of musical theater. Comprising both live and pre-recorded performances by some of today’s top artists including German-born baritone Justin Austin (Met Opera), CLO brings this vivid production to virtual life through the manipulation of online communication platforms, creative construction of socially distanced pods, advanced videography, and entertaining interaction and cooperation of audience members.
Set in a Victorian London slum in the 1800s, The Threepenny Opera is a musical satire about a notorious bandit who marries a girl much to the chagrin of her father, forcing the peeved patriarch to do everything in his power to imprison his son-in-law. German-American composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and German playwright/librettist Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), along with Elisabeth Hauptmann, transformed old-fashioned opera and operatta forms incorporating a sharp and social political perspective. Based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera book of 1728, The Threepenny Opera combined Brecht’s striking scenarios and texts and Weill’s richly varied scores ensuring that their partnership was one of the most celebrated partnerships in operatic history.