It was a sensation when Weill's original orchestration for Zaubernacht--lost for 80 years--surfaced in 2006. New performing materials are now available, based on a critical edition of Weill's original score.
Children's pantomime for solo soprano and chamber orchestra.
English title: Magic night.
Orchestra: fl/picc, bsn; piano, perc; string quintet: vn I, vn II, va, vc, cb.
Duration: 60 minutes
Critical Edition: Kurt Weill Edition, Series I, Volume 0 (full score)
Performance Materials: All territories: EAMC
First production: November 18, 1922, Berlin, Franz Ludwig Hörth, dir., George Weller, cond., Mary Zimmermann, chor. (scenario by Wladimir Boritsch)
First U.S. production: December 27, 1925, New York, Wladimir Boritsch, dir., Lazar Weiner, cond., Michio Ito, chor.
The original scenario survives only in skeletal form, but the following will serve as a general guide:
The story begins in the bedroom of a brother and sister after their mother has left for the night. At midnight, the Toy Fairy appears and sings the “Lied der Fee” (Fairy’s Song), which brings all the children’s toys to life. The children awaken, or perhaps dream, and begin to interact with the toys--sometimes in pleasant or humorous ways, sometimes in more frightening ways. After a number of encounters with different toys, the children must contend with characters stepping out of a book of fairy tales, including a witch. When the clock strikes six, the toys and books revert to their inanimate state as the adults return. Directors and choreographers are encouraged to create their own scenarios that are appropriate to the music.
Excerpts from the following sections:
|Arte Ensemble, Ania Vegry, soprano|
NOTE: Weill's original score supersedes an arrangement created by British orchestrator Meirion Bowen in the late 1990s. Bowen's arrangement was based on sparse cues found in Weill's autograph piano score, so certainty about the original performing forces was impossible; Bowen added clarinet and harp but omitted the contrabass. His arrangement premiered on June 1, 2000, in Cologne; the first staged performance took place in Dessau in 2003 (directed by Milan Sládek). A recording was released on the Capriccio label in 2003 (Capriccio 67 011). As of 2006, Bowen's version is no longer available for performance.