• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • View our scores on nkoda

English Deutsch
Music Text

Bertolt Brecht; English version by Frank Jones (G,E)


Major roles: A,T,Bar,B; other roles: S,6T,2B; mixed chorus;
1.1.1.asax.1- synth)-vln.db (gtr and strings also amplified)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Anton J. Benjamin / Simrock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Wolf Sesemann, director
Conductor: Hans Norbert Bihlmaier
Company: Städtische Bühnen Augsburg


JOAN DARK, Lieutenant of the Black Straw Hats Alto
PIERPONT MAULER, the Meat King Tenor-Baritone
LENNOX and Baritone
MEYERS, meat packers Tenor
SLIFT, a broker Bass-Baritone
Mrs. LUCKERNIDDLE Mezzo-Soprano
GLOOMB, a worker Tenor
PAULUS SNYDER, a major in the Black Straw Hats Tenor-Baritone
MARTHA, a soldier in the Black Straw Hats Soprano
Jackson, a lieutenant in the Black Straw Hats Tenor
MULBERRY, a landlord Bass
A Foreman Tenor
Chap / Young worker Tenor-Baritone
1st Labour leader Bass
2nd Labour leader Tenor
1st Detective Tenor
2nd Detective
A Waiter
Mrs. SWINGURN, a worker's wife
Meat packers, Wholesalers, Stockbreeders, Brokers, Venturers, Black Straw Hats,
Workers, the Poor, Detectives, Journalistst, Newsboys, Soldiers, Passers-by.
Time and Place

Chicago in the 1920s


Through shrewd and ruthless dealings and a secret agreement with his friends from the New York stock market, Pierpont Mauler has gained control over Chicago’s meat market and drives his competitors to ruin. Sometimes there is too much meat, sometimes too little. The ones who suffer are the unemployed. When even the ‘Black Straw Hats’ can no longer alleviate the misery, Joan Dark, a ‘lieutenant’ in this sort of Salvation Army, visits Mauler in his slaughterhouse to ask him for help. Mauler graphically demonstrates the wickedness of the poor to her, explaining that they themselves are to blame for their poverty. Joan, recognising wickedness to be a result of poverty, sets out to campaign against the meat producers. At the cattle market, she seems to win a triumph, not realising that it was orchestrated behind the scenes by Mauler himself. Inspired by idealism, she falls out with the Black Straw Hats and unintentionally betrays her own allies. Taken in by deceptive news reports, she fails to pass on a call for a general strike because she has qualms about using violence. The crushing of the boycott serves to consolidate Mauler’s system of governance, bolstering the alliance of banks and the state even more. Exhausted, Joan collapses; in order to cover up her real cause, the meat barons canonise her as a martyr of charity.



Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications