Review by Willard Manus

Los Angeles Opera's gutsy and daring production of Brecht & Weill's RISE AND FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY will long be remembered. First produced in Germany in 1930 (and immediately banned by the Nazis), the opera employs Marxist agit-prop, satire, atonality, Abstract Expressionism, lyricism and jazz riffs in its head-on attack on laissez-faire capitalism. Frankly, even rudely leftist, MAHAGONNY came out of Germany's crushing defeat and disillusion in WW I; the country's anger and resentment were channeled by Brecht & Weill, who invented a mythical American city which takes its morality and humanity from the Vegas mafia. Directed by John Doyle, conducted by James Conlon, performed by Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone and Anthony Dean Griffey, the opera's politics may be passe in this post-Communist era, but its music is astoundingly fresh and memorable.