In This Issue:

2022 Lotte Lenya Competition Finals
Now Streaming Free and On-Demand

(Left to Right: Amanda Sheriff, Katrina Galka, Ruth Acheampong, Jeremy Weiss | Photos: Matt Madison-Clark)

On 6 May, a jury of three music theater luminaries awarded $76,000 in prizes in the final round of the 2022 Lotte Lenya Competition. Using descriptive words such as “honest, open, bold, imaginative, commanding, sensual, funny, and heartbreaking,” judges Jeanine Tesori, Phillip Boykin, and Robin Guarino recognized five exceptional singing actors with prizes. Amanda Sheriff took home the First Prize of $20,000. Ruth Acheampong and Katrina Galka each claimed a $15,000 Second Prize, and Jeremy Weiss won the $10,000 Third Prize. The panel chose to award finalist Ronald Wilbur the second-ever Rebecca Luker Prize of $4,000 for his performance of “Night Song” from Golden Boy. Each of the remaining finalists received $2,000: Eric Botto, Cierra Byrd, Francesca Mehrotra, Lauren Senden, Tristan Tournaud, Ian Williams. The total amount awarded through the entirety of the 2022 Competition was $90,000.

All eleven finalist performances are now available for free, on-demand streaming through the Kurt Weill Foundation website.

“Huge Fun!”
Happy End at Berlin’s
Renaissance Theater

(Photo by Max Jackwerth)

The resurgence of Happy End has reached its latest peak with the premiere on 13 May of a new production at Berlin’s Renaissance Theater, directed by Sebastian Sommer. Reviewing for the Berliner Morgenpost, Ulrike Borowczyk quickly christened the production as “huge fun,” describing it throughout as “enormously funny and coyly ironic.” Of special note musically, the performance of the “superb band of musicians under the direction of Harry Ermer” represented the world premiere of music and text from the new critical edition, the latest volume to appear in the monumental Kurt Weill Edition project. The Renaissance Theater production communicates its gangster movie take on Happy End in a set described by Borowczyk as a Guckkasten (“look box”), which makes it very clear that “something so damn happy-end-like can only be fiction. Definitely go see it.”

Komische Oper Berlin:
A Great House for Weill in 2022/23

(Mahagonny returns to the Komische Oper in 2022/23 | Photo: Iko Freese / drama-berlin)

With the announcement of its 2022/23 season, Komische Oper Berlin retains its position as one of the world’s leading producers of Kurt Weill’s work. The past season saw the premiere of Barrie Kosky’s essential new interpretation of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, as well as the continuing presentation of his “Lonely House” evening of songs in collaboration with Katharine Mehrling. Mahagonny will return to the repertory, giving Berlin audiences further opportunities to see it in close proximity to another triumphal premiere from 2021, Kosky’s Die Dreigroschenoper, which continues its run at the Berliner Ensemble.  The success of “Lonely House” has led to plans for a staged evening of songs from Weill’s career in Berlin, again starring Mehrling and accompanied by new orchestral arrangements. Further, Komische Oper’s family programming will be augmented in the new season by Tom Sawyer. A children’s opera assembled and arranged by Kai Tietje from songs by Kurt Weill and with text by John von Düffel, the work will be presented in a new expanded version by director Tobias Ribitzki.

Lotte Lenya Competition Songbook
Debuts its Second Volume 

In summer 2020, as the economic hardships of the pandemic began to strike, the Kurt Weill Foundation responded by inaugurating The Lotte Lenya Competition Songbook. The project was designed to address two goals simultaneously: to support artists whose careers were abruptly put on hold by COVID-19 and to enrich the repertoire required in the Lenya Competition. The KWF sought to solicit and showcase theater songs that had not been widely disseminated and could serve Lenya Competition contestants seeking new pieces for their programs. And who better to unveil this repertoire to contestants than past winners?

Volume II of the Songbook presents twelve contemporary theater songs by sixteen emerging writers. Each song in the volume is accompanied by a new audio recording performed by a Lenya Competition prizewinner. Read more here and browse the second volume.

Rapture Down Under:
A Wave of Acclaim for
Three Kurt Weill Productions

(Melbourne Opera and IOpera’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny | Photo: Melbourne Opera)

Within a span of only seven weeks, Australia saw premieres of three productions featuring four major works by Kurt Weill, two in Melbourne and another in Sydney. All three received glowing reviews in the press. Victorian Opera’s Happy End, part of the worldwide resurgence of the work in 2022, premiered on 23 March, directed by Matthew Lutton and conducted by Phoebe Briggs. The following week in Sydney, Red Line Productions opened its twenty-one performance run of The Seven Deadly Sins paired with Mahagonny Songspiel. Director Constantine Costi has been joined by choreographer Shannon Burns in conceiving the double bill with the subtitle “A Tap Dance On The Edge Of The World.” Starting 1 May, the joint forces of Melbourne Opera and IOpera brought forth the first professional production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Australia in forty years. Employing the Jeremy Sams English translation, the production by director Suzanne Chaundy was conducted by Peter Tregear. All three productions were supported by the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Grant Program.

Read a sampling of press reaction here.

Selected Upcoming Events

15 May – Die Sieben Todsünden
Royal Danish Theater (Patrick Kinmonth and Pontus Lidberg, directors; Robert Houssart, conductor). Also 21, 25, 27 May and 1, 4 June.

17 May – Fantaisie symphonique (Symphony no. 2) *
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra (Anna Edwards, conductor).

20 May – Suite from Der Silbersee
Hofer Symphoniker (Martijn Dendievel, conductor).

21 May – Weill Songs
People’s Symphony Concerts in New York (Katherine Riddle, soprano; Zachary James, bass; Laura Bergquist, piano).

24 May – Weill Songs
Park Avenue Armory in New York (Justin Austin, baritone; Howard Watkins, piano).

24 May – Weill Songs
Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin (Vladimir Korneev, vocalist).

25 May – Weill Songs
Nashville Symphony Orchestra (Enrico Lopez-Yañez, conductor; Bronson Norris Murphy, Madison Claire Parks, Myra Maud, vocalists).

25 May – Die Dreigroschenoper
Berliner Ensemble (Barrie Kosky, director; Adam Benzwi, conductor). Ongoing performances, including 26 May and 1, 2, 3 July.

25 May – Street Scene
Staatsschauspiel Dresden (Barbara Beyer, director). Also 29 May.

27 May – Happy End *
Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario (Allyson McMackon, director; Jonathan Corkal, conductor). Streaming 27 May – 1 June.

28 May – Symphonie in einem Satz (Symphony no. 1)
Dresdner Philharmonie (Joana Mallwitz, conductor). Also 29 May.

2 June – Fantaisie symphonique (Symphony no. 2)
Orchestre national de Cannes (Benjamin Levy, conductor).

6 June – Der Zar lässt sich photographieren
Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London (Victoria Newlyn, director; Christopher Hopkins, conductor).

* KWF Grant Program Recipient

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