Fifteen-Player Version of Seven Deadly Sins
Headlines Carnegie Hall Weimar Festival

Wallis Giunta as Anna, with Ensemble Modern at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Photo: Stephanie Berger.

Weill’s music has figured prominently in Carnegie Hall’s programming in the first months of 2024, with performances taking place especially within the frame of the festival “Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice.” The festival reached a peak in an April program performed by Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern featuring repertoire by Paul Hindemith, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Arnold Schoenberg, capped by the New York premiere of the new fifteen-player version of The Seven Deadly Sins. “Ensemble Modern’s concert Friday was one of the festival’s few fully Weimar programs — and all the more compelling for that,” wrote Zachary Woolfe in the New York Times, praising the ensemble for its “precision and lucidity.”

In a rare alignment, the evening’s performance of Die sieben Todsünden, described by Woolfe as “delightfully intimate and witty,” boasted three proven champions of Weill’s work. One of only eight recipients of the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award, HK Gruber conducted this New York premiere of the fifteen-player version that he himself prepared in conjunction with Christian Muthspiel. Over the past three decades, Ensemble Modern has recorded, in collaboration with Gruber, more Weill works than any other ensemble in the world. Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta has by now claimed her place among the world’s leading “Annas,” having performed the Sins multiple times with the likes of the Toronto Symphony, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Oregon Music Festival, and Opera North in the UK premiere of the Gruber-Muthspiel version that was live-streamed globally in 2020. Woolfe lauded her Carnegie performance, with the male quartet amarcord as The Family, which “guided the audience through a parade of misadventure with a light, meticulous touch, neither too offhand nor too exaggerated — as bracing yet sweet as a shot of schnapps.”

Weill’s “Wondrous” Score for Der Silbersee
Dazzles at Opéra National de Lorraine

Photo: Jean Louis Fernandez

Controversial director Ersan Mondtag’s production of Der Silbersee premiered at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in 2021. At that time, critics were divided on his fantastical approach, which transplanted the work into a theoretical and extravagantly odd 2033. Largely unanimous, though, was acclaim for Weill’s score. After the opening at co-producer Opéra national de Lorraine, a similar pattern seems to be unfolding. Writing in “concerti,” Peter Krause concludes that Mondtag “does not really believe in the story” and instead “draws in all kinds of meta-levels, deconstructs, sharpens, caricatures.” But Krause is effusive in his praise of the score and musical performance: “The music is of fantastic quality: the dances of the Roaring Twenties meet the waltz, chanson meets moritat and love duet in a genuinely European, cosmopolitan score…. Gaetano Lo Coco on the podium of the orchestra of the Opéra national de Lorraine makes it clear what an inspired score he has before him with precise dynamic contrasts and nobility of sound.” Patrick Delacour concurs in Olyrix: “Weill’s score reveals all its beauties, whether they arise from the cabaret song, the cantata, the ballad, or the oratorio.”

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2024 Lenya Competition

Saturday, 4 May 2024
Live from Kilbourn Hall in Rochester, New York
1:00 P.M. – 4:15 P.M.: 2024 Lenya Competition Finals
8:00 P.M. – 9:15 P.M.: Rolling Along: Lenya Competition Winners in Concert;
Ted Chapin, Emcee
9:30 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.: 2024 Lenya Competition Awards Ceremony
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Featured Upcoming Events

19 April – “Street Scenes” (staged excerpts of Street Scene)
L’Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris (Yshani Perinpanayagam, conductor; Ted Huffman, director)

Conductor Yshani Perinpanayagam brings fresh perspective to a production calling upon the rising talents of l’Académie in a production by adventurous American stage director Ted Huffman. Further performances 21, 23, 25, 27 April.

11 May – Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Staatsoper Stuttgart (Cornelius Meister, conductor; Ulrike Schwab, director)

Young performers from the Stuttgart ensemble join with director Ulrike Schwab for an Aufstieg that “explores the question: Who would still dare to dream of a better future today?” Stuttgart Generalmusikdirektor Cornelius Meister conducts. Also 15, 26, 28 May and 1, 8, 11, 29 June.

For a full listing of upcoming events, view the Kurt Weill events calendar.

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