In an imaginary American city, God consigns its licentious citizens to hell but they truculently reply that they are already there. Mahagonny ‘the city of nets’ is founded in the desert by three criminals on the run from the police. It is to be a city devoted to pleasure. The only god is money. So Jimmy Mahoney, the hedonistic lumberjack, is condemned to death for being unable to pay the bill for the whisky he has consumed. A testament to the fertile but fraught collaboration between composer Kurt Weill and man of theatre Bertolt Brecht, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is one of the great operas of the 20th century. Brecht might have resented the dominance of the music over the words but together they created a work with rich melody and unstoppable dramatic momentum.