The Arts

Charleston/Spoleto Festival USA 2007 – Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and The Constant Wife

Charleston/Spoleto Festival USA 2007 – Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and The Constant Wife featured image

by Paula Citron

This second review from Spoleto Festival USA is both opera and theatre.

The 1930 Brecht/Weill Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is a triumph for its European creative team and conductor Emmanuel Villaume. It is suitably dark and garish, and relentless in its socio-political message. Led by tenor Richard Brunner as Jimmy, and sopranos Karen Huffstodt and Tammy Hensrud as Widow Begbick and Jenny Hill respectively, the strong cast that includes Canadian John Fanning as Billy is passionate in its delivery. This is one of Spoleto’s best opera productions.

The Gate Theatre from Dublin is a frequent Spoleto visitor. Their offering this year is W. Somerset Maugham’s 1926 The Constant Wife which has been given an arch production by director Alan Stanford. Set in the 1930s courtesy Peter O’Brien’s gorgeous costumes, the actors pose, preen and declaim in true period demand in this very old-fashioned but enjoyable treatment.

Spoleto Festival USA continues until Jun. 10.

From Charleston, South Carolina, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.

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