Opera Scotland

Threepenny Opera The Threepenny Opera; Die Dreigroschenoper


Kurt Weill (Born Dessau, 2 March 1900; New York, 3 April 1950)


Bertolt Brecht


Libretto for The Beggar's Opera (1728) by John Gay, translated by Elisabeth Hauptmann.



First Performance: Berlin (Theater am Schiffbauerdamm), 31 August 1928.

First Performance in UK: London (Royal Court Theatre), 9 February 1956).

First Performance in Scotland: to be confirmed.

Scottish Opera première: to be confirmed.



The Threepenny Opera has maintained its place as the most popular result of the collaboration of Brecht and Weill ever since its premiere. It quickly swept Europe and the USA. Only in Britain was there a reluctance to perform it, perhaps because The Beggar's Opera itself had recently enjoyed a hugely popular revival.


Main Characters

Peachum (baritone)

Mrs Peachum (mezzo-soprano)

Polly, their daughter (soprano)

Macheath (tenor)

Tiger Brown, chief of police (baritone)

Lucy, his daughter (soprano)

Jenny Diver, a whore (soprano)


Plot Summary

A Streetsinger (usually the actor who is cast as Tiger) recites 'Mack the Knife'. Polly has eloped with Macheath, and her parents are unhappy about his criminal lifestyle, though they are not exactly honest themselves. They try to persuade Tiger Brown to arrest Macheath, in spite of the fact that they are old schoolmates. He is arrested after being betrayed by Lucy at the behest of Mrs Peachum. But he is then helped to escape by Lucy herself. Peachum blackmails Tiger into re-arresting Macheath, and no-one is willing to save him this time. But a royal pardon arrives, prompted by the imminent coronation.

The Cast

Jenny Diver
 a whore
 Tiger's daughter
Mrs Peachum
Polly Peachum
 Peachum's daughter
 a constable
Tiger Brown
 Commissioner of Police

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2018

Site by SiteBuddha