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In This Issue:

Rufus Wainwright Premieres
All-Weill Song Evening
at New York City’s Café Carlyle

Photo: Baxter PR

“I have been obsessed with Kurt Weill for my entire life, but I haven’t really sung his songs very much,” says Rufus Wainwright. The kaleidoscopically multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, and opera composer continues: “Weill’s music sounds like no one else. The DNA to his melodies is absolutely unique and you can recognize it by just hearing a little fragment. I am almost fifty and feel I am ready now for the richness of his music.” Café Carlyle in New York City, widely celebrated for its cabaret presentations, will play host to Wainwright’s first extended excursion into Weill’s repertoire over five evenings, 16 to 20 May. The repertoire list promises to be full of favorites, from “Surabaya Johnny” and “Je ne t’aime pas” to “September Song” and “Lost in the Stars.”

See the listing on the Café Carlyle site.

Raves for HK Gruber’s Recording
of Weill’s Symphonies

HK Gruber’s long-awaited disc on the BIS label, in partnership with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, has proven a magnet for critical accolades. Bringing together recordings of Weill’s two symphonies (Symphonie in einem Satz [No.1] and Fantaisie Symphonique [No.2]), the release joins in the efflorescence of recent enthusiasm for both works; it is the third commercial recording of Fantaisie symphonique to appear in less than a year! The program also includes excerpts from Weill’s allegorically rich Der Silbersee, which makes for “a disc that’s at once musically and morally compelling, not to mention brilliantly played and flawlessly engineered.” (Jonathan Blumhofer, Artsfuse). Eckhard Weber writes in concerti that Gruber “captivates with theatrical power, bite and ironic sting” in the Silbersee excerpts and praises the SCO for its “contoured, stylistically confident, and on-point interpretations.” Westdeutscher Rundfunk concludes its feature on the recording by stating simply that Gruber “confirms himself as one of the greatest of Weill interpreters” with this “outstanding recording” that “offers the opportunity to get to know Weill from a different perspective.”

A Photogenic Zar Onstage in Frankfurt

False Angèle (Juanita Lascarro) confronts [Real] Angèle (Ambur Braid)
in Oper Frankfurt’s new production of Der Zar lässt sich photographieren. Photo: Barbara Aumüller

One-act operas may have been more in vogue in 1928 when Weill’s Der Zar lässt sich photographieren was first a hit on German stages, but renowned director Keith Warner and Oper Frankfurt seem to have found a winning combination nonetheless. Their pairing of Der Zar with Carl Orff’s Die Kluge has been greeted with unanimous praise from the press. Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Jan Brachmann observes that “the staging by Keith Warner and Katharina Kastening… brings out the common strengths of both pieces,” adding that in the Weill particularly conductor Yi-Chen Lin “succeeds with ease in implementing Weill’s lightning-fast changes of tone and switching from nervous hustle and bustle to velvety smooth seduction.” For Bernd Zegowitz in Die deutsche Bühne, the paired production proves that “double bills at the opera don’t have to be non-starters.”


Lenya Competition Streaming Live
Saturday, 29 April

(All times EDT. Streaming through

10:00am In Conversation: Past Competition Winners
11:00am Perspectives: Past and Present Judges
1:00pm Final Round of the 2023 Competition
8:00pm 25th Anniversary Gala Alumni Concert and
Awards Presentation for 2023 Finals

Featured Upcoming Events

20 & 21 April – Weill Songs
Café Carlyle (John Brancy, baritone; Peter Dugan, piano)
Grammy-Winning baritone–and Lenya Competition Prizewinner–John Brancy joins with pianist Peter Dugan for two evenings at Café Carlyle with a program including six songs by Weill.

6 May – Der Jasager
Orchestre Régional de Normandie (Olivier Opdebeeck, conductor; Delphine Lanza, director)
Weill’s classic will be paired on this program with a new setting of Brecht’s companion “teaching piece” Der Neinsager by Martin Matalon, composer-in-residence at the Orchestre de Normandie, the latest in a series of such efforts.

9 May  – Der Lindberghflug / Der Jasager
Theatro São Pedro (Ira Levin, conductor; Alexandre del Farra, director)
Weill’s ongoing presence in South America continues with this uncommon double bill, which will stream on demand in coming months.

View the Full Events Calendar

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