The Threepenny Opera, Mina, and Facebook


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Originally uploaded by robinhamman

This entire post very closely relates to the phenomenon of social media. Thanks to a good Italian friend of mine, last year I’ve discovered many names that made the history of Italian music in the 20th c. One such performer is the incomparable Mina Mazzini, whose fan I instantly became (probably to some regret on the part of my friend who adores Mia Martini). When I came across this picture of Robin Hamman’s Flickr photostream, it instantly made me remember of the famous song “Mack the Knife” performed by Mina in the clip below. But when I turned to find some information about the song, it turned out that the almighty Wiki doesn’t list this 1974 performance. I mention the phenomenon of social media because of the whole net of connections one can establish while surfing the web and remembering things they’ve seen before.

The song in question is a classic number composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper). Premiered in Berlin in 1928, the song has started a long and winding story of its numerous adaptations. The lines I particularly remembered in the case with Robin’s picture were “Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear/ And he keeps them pearly white”. What is interesting is that in Russia in the 1990’s there was a TV show called “The Pen Sharks”: it had a pool of journos and broadcasters throwing questions at the celebrities, mainly singers and mainly Russian, although I remember them “showing teeth” at Pet Shop Boys.

To round up this post, I’ll tell you a true story that happened when I was a student in Moscow. I had two tickets to the theatre, and I invited one of my best friends, another girl, to come with me. The tickets indicated that we’d be sitting in the first row, which was fantastic. On the day we came to the theatre (where none of us had been previously) and found out that the chairs in the first row were taken away. We asked for assistance, and it then turned out that I brought myself and my friend to the theatre a day earlier!!! I’ve only recently remembered about this experience, which was as embarrassing as it was hilarious, but this time I thought: what would have happened, had I was, in fact, a guy who took his date out for a theatre play? Would my romance be over because instead of the first row we’d ended up sitting in, like, twenty-first row? What is interesting, though – and which is the reason I’m telling you about this – is that we ended up watching The Threepenny Opera.

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