Weill: Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny- Silja, Mödl, Stolze, Hirt, Winkler; Leitner. Stuttgart, 1967
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This recording was truly a labor of love for me. In my opinion, Mahagonny is one of the greatest operas of the "post-Puccini" period. Sadly many directors and performers seem perplexed by the Weill/Brecht style and deliver bloodless, corporate productions that completely strip the work of its bite. This is one of the few performances I have come across that manages to capture the spirit of the work. For one thing the cast is superb. Anja Silja sings a sultry Jenny Smith- both innocent and trashy at the same time. Martha Mödl, well into her sixties, delivers a true star turn as Leocadia Begbick. With her best vocal years, now decades in the past, she hones her acting skills into the part and produces a performance that recalls Lotte Lenya in her later years. Gerhard Stolze, in a rare appearance in a leading role, sings Jimmy Mahoney. His voice was never beautiful and it isn't here, but I imagine that he was hired to match the great acting skills of Silja and Mödl. And that he does exceptionally. One of the mistakes that many tenors make in this role is to try to make the character sympathetic. Stolze highlights the amorality of the man. The sound is clear but there is some mild static. If you love this opera you will not care.