In This Issue:

 Star Violinist Daniel Hope Champions Weill

Daniel Hope | photo: Erik Almas / Deutsche Grammophon / dpa

Daniel Hope’s newly released recording from Deutsche Grammophon and a multi-city tour of Germany with the Zürcher Kammerorchester are bringing further prominence to the Song-Suite for Violin and Orchestra, a collection of Weill songs arranged by Paul Bateman. Premiered by Hope in 2014, the Suite brings together six songs, the “Havanna-Lied,” “Kanonen-Song,” and “Moritat von Mackie Messer” from Weill’s time in Germany and “September Song,” “My Ship,” “Speak Low” from the American portion of his career. Hope’s current project foregrounds American music, grouping material from the Weill Song-Suite with works by Duke Elllington, George Gershwin, Florence Price, Aaron Copland, and Sam Cooke, and closing with Bateman’s arrangement of Samuel Ward’s “America the Beautiful.” Of the tour’s performance at Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Paul Schäufele of the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, “Kurt Weill’s suite of songs is the most convincing… Hope finds the right approach to this music, impregnated with the cynicism of the Weimar Republic and the theatrical splendor of Broadway.”

In a review of the recording, Steven Winn enthused in San Francisco Classical Voice: “Both Ellington’s patiently voiced ‘Come Sunday’ and Price’s seductively swaying ‘Adoration’ land well. So do the four Weill songs that benefit from Hope’s improvisatory licks, notably in ‘My Ship.’ ‘September Song’ ramps up into some urgent figuration. A cooled down ‘Mack the Knife’ has a breezy soft swing.” Watch a video of Hope’s performance of “September Song” here.

Barbara Hannigan Brings Multiple Gifts
to Weill and the London Symphony

Barbara Hannigan brings her singular silo-busting style to performances in February with the London Symphony Orchestra, and Kurt Weill reaps the benefits. Conducting a typically untraditional program that traces a path from Copland to Haydn to Offenbach, Hannigan closes by singing and leading new arrangements of two classic Weill songs, “Youkali” and “Lost in the Stars.” Weill himself would no doubt be delighted by the pairing of his work with Offenbach, an artist he held in great esteem and saw as an inspiration for his own work. As for Hannigan, Max Nyffeler in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has described her singing-conducting as showing “a sovereignty and communicative looseness that only an artist with experience on the stage and who is also obsessed with music can achieve.”

Watch Hannigan’s performances of Youkali and Lost in the Stars with the Philharmonique de Radio France. See also Hannigan’s video of Youkali released in connection with her forthcoming album “Dance with Me,” recorded with the Ludwig Orchestra; Gramophone magazine named it Video of the Day for 21 January.

 Lotte Lenya Competition Winners
Featured in Opera News 
and Classical Singer

Briana Elyse Hunter / Analisa Leaming / Jasmine Habersham

Briana Elyse Hunter and Jasmine Habersham, two award-winning alums of the Lotte Lenya Competition, were singled out by Opera News for important forthcoming performances. Hunter, winner of the Lys Symonette Award in the 2014 Competition, recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. She will be reprising her much-lauded role as the Mother in two productions of Jeanine Tesori’s and Tazewell Thompson’s Blue, one with Seattle Opera and the other with Pittsburgh Opera. Habersham, winner of a special award in the 2017 Competition, makes her role and house debut with Opera North as Gilda in Femi Elufowoju Jr.’s new production of Rigoletto, and then moves on to Madison Opera to play Eurydice in Stephanie Havey’s new staging of Orpheus in the Underworld. Analisa Leaming, a prizewinner in the 2007 Competition, was featured on the cover of the November/December 2021 issue of Classical Singer magazine. The cover story described her glowingly as “a brilliant and versatile Broadway performer who has translated her success into mental, emotional, and spiritual support for other artists through her podcast and coaching.” Leaming’s connection to the Lenya Competition continued in 2021 when she served as an adjudicator / coach for the Competition, the first time a former contestant has returned to judge.

 Weill’s Music Again Marks
International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Gabriele Coen Quintet Plays “Miriam’s Lied”

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an annual event designated by the United Nations, occurs every 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Always a solemn occasion, the Day is observed around the world with appropriate musical performances. As has been frequently the case, Weill’s music featured in such performances this year all over Europe, from the Teatro Comunale di Bologna in Italy to Poland’s Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic. One particularly striking performance took place in Bosnia. The avant-garde jazz ensemble Gabriele Coen Quintet performed its respectful and unexpected improvisation based on “Miriam’s Lied” from Weill’s Jewish pageant opera Der Weg der Verheissung (aka The Eternal Road). Watch here for a previous performance; the song melody is first heard in full around 1:25.

Selected Upcoming Events

8 February – Die Dreigroschenoper
Berliner Ensemble (Barrie Kosky, director; Adam Benzwi, conductor). Ongoing performances, including 9 February.

9 February – Song-Suite for Violin and Orchestra (arr. Paul Bateman).
Zürcher Kammerorchester (Daniel Hope, soloist and music director). On tour in Germany through 13 February.

13 February – Quodlibet: Suite for orchestra from Zaubernacht 
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Ryan Wigglesworth, conductor)

14 February – Lonely House: Songs and chansons by Kurt Weill
Komische Oper Berlin (Katharine Mehrling, vocalist; Barrie Kosky, piano).

17 February – Lost in the Stars, Youkali
London Symphony Orchestra (Barbara Hannigan, conductor and soprano)

18 February – Down in the Valley
Manchester University Music Society Also 19, 25, 26 February.

19 February – Die Dreigroschenoper
Theater Regensburg (Klaus Kusenberg, director; Bettina Ostermeier, conductor). Also 23, 25 February, 1, 3 March.

19 February – Die Dreigroschenoper
Maria Zankovetska Theater (Maxim Golenko, director)

20 February – The Harpies (Blitzstein)
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater Also 22, 24, 26 February.

21 February – Die Dreigroschenoper
Kammerspiele der Josefstadt in Vienna (Torsten Fischer, director; Christian Frank, conductor). Ongoing performances, including 22, 23 February, 8, 9, 10 March.

23 February – Die sieben Todsünden
(version for 15 Players by HK Gruber & Christian Muthspiel.)
Orchestre Régional de Normandie (Nathalie Pérez, Anna I; Jacques Osinski, director; Marion Lévy, choreographer; Benjamin Lévy, conductor). Also 25 February.

25 February – Die sieben Todsünden
(version for low voice adapted by Wilhelm Brückner-Ruggeberg)
Kurt Weill Fest (Katharine Mehrling, Anna I; Markus L. Frank, conductor)

28 February – Kleine Dreigroschenmusik
Singapore Youth Chamber Winds (Lim Yean Hwee, conductor)

6 March – Weill Songs
Cal Performances (Angel Blue, soprano)

On-Demand – Lotte Lenya Competition 2021 Finals
OperaVision (performances featuring the 2021 Lenya Competition finalists). Available free of charge through 10 March 2022.

View the Full Events Calendar

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