Brecht and Weill turned to John Gay's 18th-century 'The Beggar's Opera' to fashion this savage, biting commentary on bourgeois capitalism and modern morality. Set in Victorian London, the bitter tale is told of the predatory outlaw known as Mack the Knife. He secretly marries the daughter of Soho's underworld boss, but is soon betrayed by his sinister in-laws and sent to prison. After being freed by the police chief's daughter, he is again betrayed- this time by a prostitute-and sentenced to death. At the final hour he manages a reprieve from Queen Victoria herself, thus providing a menacing finale of ferocious irony.