Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at Teatro Regio di Parma


by Bianca L. Nica
June 23, 2022



Read more


The last title of the 2022 Opera Season of Teatro Regio di Parma was Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by Kurt Weill on a libretto by Bertolt Brecht, which had its premiere in this theater in co-production with  Fondazione Teatri di Reggio Emilia, directed by HENNING BROCKHOUS, with the sets of MARGHERITA PALLI & conducted by CHRISTOPHER FRANKLIN.

Therefore, we have a modern opera staged in a pretty traditionalist and conservative place such as Teatro Regio di Parma. One could say that it’s a tricky choice. But innovation, especially when well staged, won over tradition this time, fortunately I’d say. In the era of the Weimar Republic, which was cancelled by Hilter’s rise to power, in the Austro-Germanic land rich in artistic ferment of all kinds, Brecht & Weill wanted to speak out loud to the rich German public of the ‘30s, in order to point out to the inadequacy of a society centered on corrupt values, its decadence and its inevitable and imminent end. So they created a non-place that could generate a series of important questions, within a live performance genre.

Leokadja Begbick, Fatty & Trinity Moses, fugitives on the run, wanted by the police on charges of lynching and fraudulent bankruptcy, get stranded due to a car breakdown in a deserted place not far from the gold diggers’ routes. So they decide to found a city to become a place of pleasure for those with money. The town’s fame spreads quickly, and so Jenny, a young prostitute, six other girls who will populate the brothel and also four lumberjacks arrive: Jimmy, Jack, Bill and Joe who, after seven hard years of work in Alaska, want to have fun. Jim falls in love with Jenny and begins an uncertain and somewhat awkward relationship with her.

However, the good times are short-lived: soon, in order to combat delinquency, the town is filled with too many laws and absurd  prohibitions. Despite the fact that whisky costs very little, people  tend to leave and the earnings of the three founders are not what they had hoped for. Even Jimmy is annoyed by this too rigid town organization, demanding that everything must be allowed in Mahagonny.

And that’s what we se on stage: a place that recalls in many ways the Wild West, according to the booklet, in the aestheties of Echward Hoppers paintings (?), due to the sets of MANGHERITA PALLI, the costumes by GIANCARLO COLIS, the lighting by PASQUALE MARI. Remarkably interesting was the choreography of the cabaret moments by VALENTINA ESCOBAR, but also the fact that HENNING BROCKHAUS brought the protagonists closer to the audience through a catwalk surrounding the orchestra pit, almost in a cinematic type of staging. He keeps on stage continuously a shapeless human agglomerate covered in colourless rags in the background. They are the poor, exploited, forgotten, doing their best surviving by feeding on the scraps of the welfare society.

Some of the singers were called in at the last minute to replace indisposed colleagues, as NADJA MCHANTAF, an excellent Jenny Hill, MATHIAS GREY as Jack O’Brien & SIMON SCHNORR.

ALISA KOLOSOVA, righteously the most appreciated by the public in the role of 

CHRIS MERRITT (Fatty) is a legend that doesn’t need any presentation or comment, but only a sincere chapeau bas for his entire career.

Completing the cast there were ZOLTAN NAGY (Trinity Moses), such a spectacular stage presence (I recommend you to read his interview in the previous issue of OPERA Charm Magazine), TOBIAS HÄCHLER (Jimmy Malorey – the right timbre, attitude and manner of singing for the role, but also exquisite acting skills, mostly noticed in the end of the opera, when his characters is condemned to the death punishment) and JERZY BUTRYN (Joe), but also ROXANA HERRERA, ELVABETH HERTZBERG, YULIA TKACHENKO, CECILIA BERNINI, KAMELIA KADER, MARIANGELA MARINI (6 girls of Mahagonny) and FILIPPO LANZI (the Narrator). My sincere appreciation goes to these 6 ladies that proved themselves to be flexible enough to sing and act well (!!!) in lingerie. The modern opera singer casual requirements, I would add.

Despite the many changes within the cast, the conductor CHRISTOPHER FRANKLIN guided the the opera with a dynamic expert hand the varied stylistic transitions that Weill grafts onto his score. LA TOSCANINI, with its guest instruments, banjo, guitar, sitar and bandoneon, responded well, once again confirming its ability to adhere excellently to pretty much any score, just as the choir the Teatro Regio, prepared by M° Martino Faggiani.

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur