A new Threepenny Opera for Berlin

Press Information
16 December 2019



A new Threepenny Opera for Berlin: Barrie Kosky's first Production at Berliner Ensemble 

Premiere on 29 January 2021 at the venue of the original production


Barrie Kosky will create a new production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s "Die Dreigroschenoper" ("The Threepenny Opera") at Berliner Ensemble – the very theatre where the original production premiered in 1928. Berliner Ensemble’s Artistic Director Oliver Reese and director Barrie Kosky announced this news at a press talk today. Adam Benzwi will be the production’s Musical Director and the premiere will take place at Berliner Ensemble’s Großes Haus on 29 January 2021. 

“I am very happy that we have been able to engage a very special director for the new production of this work, which is so closely linked to our theatre. The exploration of Brecht’s work is an important focus of our work at Berliner Ensemble and Barrie Kosky was my first choice for this production. We had the idea even before I began my tenure as artistic director and I am very happy that we will finally be able to carry it out in early 2021. Barrie is a director who crosses boundaries in his work and who enjoys an audacious kind of entertainment. I am very much looking forward to seeing the new angles he will find in this world-famous piece”, said Artistic Director Oliver Reese. 


"Die Dreigroschenoper" is Barrie Kosky’s first production at Berliner Ensemble. 

Director Barrie Kosky: “I am delighted that Oliver Reese has invited me to create a new production of the "Threepenny Opera" at Berliner Ensemble. It is a great honour to be asked to stage this brilliant and revolutionary work of musical theatre at the very theatre that Weill and Brecht wrote it for. And I am of course also very much looking forward to working with my team, Adam Benzwi and Rebecca Ringst, and the wonderful actors of Berliner Ensemble.”

Barrie Kosky has been Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin since 2012. He is one of the most sought-after opera directors of the world. His work has taken him to theatres and institutions like Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival, Oper Frankfurt, Opernhaus Zürich, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Bayreuther Festspiele. He has worked with Oliver Reese both at Deutsches Theater and Schauspiel Frankfurt while Reese was artistic director of these institutions. 

The conductor Adam Benzwi is a US-American pianist and musical director of the degree course Musical/Show at the Berlin University of the Arts. As a musical director and arranger, he has worked closely with Barrie Kosky, including productions like "Ball im Savoy", "Eine Frau, die weiß, was sie will!" and "Die Perlen der Cleopatra" at Komische Oper Berlin. The set design will be developed by Rebecca Ringst who has been working with Barrie Kosky since 2015. Together, they created "Der feurige Engel" at Bayerische Staatsoper, "Yevgeny Onegin" at Komische Oper Berlin and "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" for Bayreuther Festspiele. The cast of the production will be announced at a later date. 


New staging at the historic venue of the original production 


"The Threepenny Opera" is an adaptation of "The Beggar’s Opera" by John Gay and Johann Christoph Pepusch. On 31 August 1928, Director Ernst Josef Aufricht opened the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm with the original production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s "Dreigroschenoper" in a set designed by Caspar Neher. Erich Engel was the director initially, but after a chaotic rehearsal period, Brecht himself stepped in as director towards the end. The production was to become one of the greatest theatre successes of the Weimar Republic. 

There have been four three productions of the "Threepenny Opera" at Schiffbauerdamm since its original staging, among them a version created by Manfred Wekwerth. The most recent new production was 12 years ago; it was directed by Robert Wilson. Berliner Ensemble will say farewell to this production with final performances in February 2020. Advance ticket sales for the performances on 7, 8 and 9 February 2020 will begin on 3 January at 10.00h. 

The new production of "Die Dreigroschenoper" will be supported by Lotto-Stiftung Berlin.


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