In This Issue:

Three September Openings
Kickstart a Big New Season for Weill

Stephanie Wake-Edwards, Hannah Rudd and ensemble in The Seven Deadly Sins
at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Photo: Arnaldo Colombaroli

A promising season for performances of Weill works has begun at a quick pace, with three stage productions opening on two continents within a few days in September.

Two of the openings featured Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. Ivo van Hove’s production, which premiered at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2019, continued to make the rounds of its co-producers—which include the Metropolitan Opera and Dutch National Opera—with its current opening at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. Reviewing for De Tijd, Koen van Boxem, who had also seen the first performances in Aix, remarked on how positive a transition the work made to the very different surroundings of the house in Antwerp: “A few years can make a real difference… Gone is the previous aloofness. Was it because of the smaller hall? Or the smaller stage? Or the immersion in the orchestra’s performance, led by chief conductor Alejo Pérez?”

Van Hove’s heavy reliance on live video found some parallel in the new production that premiered at Theater Bonn only two days later. There, director Volker Loesch incorporated recorded video of recent catastrophic flooding in the region to put an environmental spin on the opera’s indictment of cutthroat capitalism. Bernhard Hartmann of the Generalanzeiger singled out the opera’s lead for special praise: “Tenor Matthias Klink (Jimmy) was in top form both as a singer and as an actor. One of the musical highlights is the ‘Crane Duet’ after the brothel scene, which he sings with Natalie Karl (Jenny).”

A hemisphere away in Buenos Aires, The Seven Deadly Sins appeared in a double bill with Bluebeard’s Castle at the fabled Teatro Colón. Noted British actor-director Sophie Hunter brought to the work her experience in film, television, and avant-garde theater. An appreciative review in the publication Pagina 12 judged the staging to be a success especially because it honored the special qualities of the work’s mixed-genre identity as a sung ballet, foregrounding the choreography of Ann Yee.

Foundation Awards Artist Sponsorships
In Productions of Weill Works

Ruth Acheampong and Christof Messner in their award-winning Lenya Competition performances.

The Kurt Weill Foundation continues its support for prizewinners of the Lenya Competition by underwriting two Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Artists appearing in new productions of Lost in the Stars and One Touch of Venus.

Ruth Acheampong, a prizewinner in the most recent round of the Competition, makes her professional debut as Irina in Lost in the Stars. She describes the work as “a beautiful, tragic story about faith, love and forgiveness,” and reflects that “embodying Irina in her physically and emotionally vulnerable position presents both demands and rewards.” Premiering on 28 October, the production by Annapolis Opera is directed by Dennis Whitehead Darling. Artistic Director Craig Kier conducts.

Oper Graz brings One Touch of Venus to the stage in a new production premiering 17 December. Lenya Competition 2016 prizewinner Christof Messner plays the bashful male lead Rodney opposite Dionne Wudu’s Venus. Messner observes: “Rodney Hatch is a naive young man who, from the moment the statue of Venus becomes a human being, is completely overwhelmed with the world of women. That leaves a lot of room to create the character.” Magdalena Fuchsberger directs the production in Graz, with Marcus Merkel conducting.

The Lenya Competition
25th Anniversary and a $25,000 Top Prize
Application Now Open! 

The 2023 Lenya Competition marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the singing contest unlike any other, in which acting counts as much as singing. In celebration of this milestone, the top prize has been increased to $25,000. More than $100,000 in total prizes will be awarded, with individual prizes given after the preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds. This year’s competition is open to singing actors of all nationalities born between 1 January 1990 and 1 March 2004. Find full guidelines, resources for contestants and the online application form on the KWF website.

Stay tuned for exciting news about special programming and events set to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary during the weekend of the final round, which will take place in Rochester, NY on 29 April 2023.

Upcoming Deadline: KWF Grants Program

The Foundation’s Grants Program awards financial support to individuals and not-for-profit organizations for projects related to Weill, Lenya, or Marc Blitzstein. The application deadline, 1 November, is drawing near. The Foundation also considers applications for professional performance on an ongoing, rolling basis.

Read the full guidelines.

Selected Upcoming Events

12 October – Die Dreigroschenoper
Berliner Ensemble at the RomaEuropa Festival (Barrie Kosky, director; Adam Benzwi, conductor). Festival performances also include 14 and 15 October.13 October – Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Theater Bonn (Volker Lösch, director; Dirk Kaftan, conductor). Performances through 7 January.14 October – Weill Songs
Oxford Lieder Festival15 October – Die Dreigroschenoper

Theater Kaufbeuren (Barbara Lackermeier, director; Tiny Schmauch, conductor). Performances through 5 November.

16 October – Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (Ivo van Hove, director; Alejo Perez, conductor). Performances through 18 November.

16 October – Weill Songs
Greek National Opera (Christophoros Stamboglis, bass; Giorgos Konstantinou, piano).

18 October – Happy End
Renaissance Theater Berlin (Sebastian Sommer, director; Harry Ermer, conductor). Ongoing performances, including 21, 22, 23, and 24 October.

21 October – Mahagonny Songspiel, Die sieben Todsünden
Aleksanterin Teatteri, Helsinki (Ville Saukkonen, director; Jonas Rannila, conductor). Also 23 and 25 October.

22 October – Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Komische Oper Berlin (Barrie Kosky, director; Roland Kluttig, conductor). Performances through 25 November.

27 October – Die sieben Todsünden
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen (Jakob Brenner, conductor; Katharine Mehrling, Anna).

27 October – Die Dreigroschenoper *
Vegas City Opera (Sarah O’Connell, director; Tim Warren, conductor). Also 28, 29, and 30 October.

28 October – Lost in the Stars *
Annapolis Opera Company (Dennis Whitehead Darling, director; Craig Kier, conductor). Also 30 October.

28 October – Die Dreigroschenoper *
Muhlenberg College (James Peck, director; Vincent Trovato, conductor). Performances through 6 November.

28 October – Die sieben Todsünden
Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn (Olivier Tambosi, director; Ivan Vasilevsky, conductor). Performances through 5 February.

October 29 – Lady in the Dark
Theater Basel (Martin G. Berger, director; Thomas Wise, conductor). Performances through June.

12 November – Lady in the Dark *
Opera Zuid (Anna Pool, director; David Stern, conductor). Performances through 11 December.

* KWF Grant Program Recipient

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