Eighteen months ago, Carnegie Hall saw the American premiere of a work 75 years in the making: The Road of Promise, a concert adaptation of the legendary Biblical pageant, The Eternal Road with music by Kurt Weill and text by Franz Werfel, first performed in New York in 1937 under the direction of Max Reinhardt. The original work portrays an imperiled Jewish congregation in 1930’s Europe taking shelter in a synagogue as their Rabbi recounts a series of stories from the Old Testament. Vast and overpowering, the original stage work, while a critical success, was not revived for sixty years; a full-blown production has proven beyond the reach of most theater companies.
Enter Ed Harsh, an expert on The Eternal Road, who edited the script and score to a running time of a little under two hours. MasterVoices, then known as the Collegiate Chorale, agreed to give the first American performance, which was also the world premiere of the English-language version (the German version was first performed in Dessau in 2013). Ted Sperling conducted the Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, along with soloists Anthony Dean Griffey (the Rabbi), Mark Delavan (Abraham, Moses), AJ Glueckert (Jacob, Boaz, David, Isaiah, Hananiah), Philip Cutlip (Joseph, Solomon, Jeremiah), Ron Rifkin (the Adversary), Eli Tokash (Thirteen-Year-Old Boy), Michael Slattery (the Voice), Sean Fallen (Angel #1), Jose Pietri-Coimbre (Angel #2), Lauren Michelle (Rachel), Megan Marino (Miriam, Ruth), and Justin Hopkins (the Dark Angel). The last three are all Lenya Competition prizewinners.
And now you can hear it all in a new 2-CD set from Navona Records (NV6059), an imprint of Parma Recordings. The work is available for licensing in German or English from European American Music Corporation.
Excerpts from the recording
Navona Records page for The Road of Promise
MasterVoices press release
Learn more about The Road of Promise