Venue: Oper Leipzig
Director: Cusch Jung
Conductor: Christoph-Johannes Eichhorn
First performance: 21 January 2017 (in repertory through 11 June)
Nearly ten years ago, an unorthodox jukebox musical opened on Broadway, conceived by two lions of the American theater, Harold Prince and Alfred Uhry, and featuring a career-spanning selection of over 25 songs by Kurt Weill. Prince, who directed Lenya in Cabaret in the late 1960s and who counts Weill among his earliest influences in the theater, spent years bringing a musical based on their correspondence to the stage. The show chronicles the ups and downs of the pair’s shared destiny beginning with their meeting on a lake outside Berlin in 1923, through joint success in The Threepenny Opera, divorce, exile, and a new life together in the U.S. The compact cast also features Weill’s most prolific collaborator, Bertolt Brecht, and Lenya’s second husband George Davis, whom she married after Weill’s death. Prince directed, Uhry wrote the book, and Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy played Weill and Lenya. The show was preserved on a cast recording from Ghostlight Records.
The show has seen a handful of productions elsewhere, but never in Germany, where Weill and Lenya first built their reputations. Now Oper Leipzig offers the premiere, bringing them back to their roots (several Weill operas premiered in Leipzig) and offering German audiences a chance to enjoy this homage to two legends of the Berlin theater. The book and some of the English lyrics will be translated into German (Holger Hauer). Veteran actor and director Cusch Jung (photo at right) helms and choreographs the production (he also plays Brecht!), which is conducted by Christoph-Johannes Eichhorn. The principal cast consists of Jung, Hans-Georg Pachmann as Weill, Anna Preckeler as Lenya, and Michael Raschle as Davis.
Video feature from Oper Leipzig featuring interviews with cast members (in German)
“First impressions” video featuring interviews with audience members and brief clips from the performance (primarily in German)
Rehearsal video from Oper Leipzig (in German)
Press release from Oper Leipzig
Interviews with Harold Prince and Alfred Uhry
Publisher’s page for LoveMusik
Anna Preckeler as Lenya and Hans-Georg Pachmann as Weill