A rarity in Regensburg: a staging (set photo top right) of Weill’s cantata for soprano, violin, and orchestra Der neue Orpheus that serves as a curtain-raiser for Gluck’s Orpheus und Eurydike. Soprano Michaela Schneider (bottom right) sings in both works. Weill’s cantata, with a text by surrealist poet Iwan Goll, served a similar function at its world premiere in 1927, when it opened for his one-act opera Royal Palace (also on a text by Goll). Weill’s modern treatment of the Orpheus myth, depicting him as a poor music teacher in a world full of philistines, makes an effective contrast with Gluck’s opera. This ingenious pairing points the way for other directors, showing a way to make use of a concert work in the theater and displaying the intimate connections between Weill’s cantata and the rich musical tradition derived from the Orpheus myth. Conductors will benefit from the recent authoritative edition of Der neue Orpheus prepared by Andreas Eichhorn for the Kurt Weill Edition.
Video excerpts from Der neue Orpheus and Orpheus und Eurydike
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