His First London Production
From a Special Correspondent
Source: The Daily Telegraph, June 3, 1935
Kurt Weill, composer of “Die Dreigroschen-Oper” and other works which had a great vogue in Germany before the Nazi regime, is in London, superintending the production of his comic opera, “My Kingdom for a Cow!” which is in preparation at the Savoy Theatre.
Herr Weill is 30. Humperdinck and Busoni were among his teachers. He lives in Paris. “My Kingdom for a Cow!” will be the first of his works to be produced in London. In an interview he said to me yesterday:
“There is, to my mind, no difference between ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ music. There is only ‘good’ music and ‘bad.’ I make absolutely no concessions in composing for the theatre. The present tendency of music is a return to simplicity, and my concern is to write melody that can be sung.”
He expressed the view that music was just emerging from a period of experiment, and that the “young” composers of 15 years ago had each found his individual solution.
“It is a curious fact, however,” he said, “that among the rising generation in Germany there are practically no composers to be found. When I was about 20 there were dozens of us. We were all eager after the war to establish a new culture, and there was a fever of production. By the time I was 25 I had operas performed all over Germany. But now, where are the 20-year-old composers?”
Herr Weill is the composer of nine operas and operettas, all practically unknown here. “Die Dreigroschen-Oper,” a modern variation on the theme of “The Beggar’s Opera,” has, however, been broadcast by the B.B.C. In Germany it had an astonishing vogue, and the jazz operetta, “Mahagonny,” another of Weill’s pieces, enjoyed a “succès de scandale” before Herr Hitler ordained that the German theatre was to be edifying rather than curious.