The University of Minnesota is the latest academic institution to take advantage of the Foundation’s sponsorship program, which offers financial and programming assistance for major Weill or Blitzstein performance projects and initiatives. Five performances are in the works–three theater pieces, a band concert, and a song recital–as well as a symposium. The festival was created in collaboration with the Foundation, which has offered not only substantial financial assistance but help with licensing and performance materials as well. The University will also host not one but two Weill experts during preparations for a production of Lady in the Dark: veteran musical theater conductor (and Foundation Trustee) James Holmes will be on hand to work with the conductor and cast in March, and Professor bruce mcclung, author of Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical, will offer musical and historical perspective on the work in April. Throughout the planning process, the Foundation has encouraged the University to broaden its performance and academic horizons and expand its offerings while providing the means to allow organizers to do so.

It all means the Spring 2016 semester will be a busy one for Weill fans in the Twin Cities. The University of Minnesota’s ambitious, multi-disciplinary program requires collaboration among several academic schools and departments: the School of Music, the School of Music Opera Theatre, the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance; the Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch; and the Institute for Advanced Study’s Brecht Research Collective. Students and faculty alike will participate in the events, and they will be open to the general public as well.

The festival kicks off with a symposium on 3-5 February which will feature Foundation President Kim H. Kowalke along with Brecht scholars and faculty from the University. The first performance will take place on 5 February, a concert given by the School of Music’s Wind Ensemble with works by Weill (Kleine Dreigroschenmusik), Gustav Holst, Edgard Varèse, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Stagings of The Threepenny Opera and Lady in the Dark follow later in the semester; a student production of Mahagonny Songspiel takes place in March, with the evening rounded out with performances of Weill’s songs. The schedule so far:

3 February: Panel discussion with Kim H. Kowalke and Elizabeth Diamond

4 February: “Brechtian Legacies: Expanded Theatre,” panel discussion featuring Elizabeth Diamond, Marc Silberman, et al.

5 February: “The Roaring Twenties: An Age of Change,” a Wind Ensemble performance conducted by Jerry Luckhardt

25-28 February, 3-6 March: The Threepenny Opera, directed by Kym Longhi, conducted by Jerry Luckhardt, at the Rarig Center

27 February: Panel discussion with Kym Longhi and Professor Matthias Rothe on the topic, “Brecht/Weill’s Three Penny Opera: Capitalism on Stage”

21 March: Mahagonny Songspiel and Weill songs, performed by students and members of local professional companies Skylark Opera and Theater Latte Da at the Southern Theatre (off-campus)

14-17 April: Lady in the Dark presented by the University Opera Theatre, directed by David Walsh at Ted Mann Concert Hall


Festival page

Learn more about Lady in the Dark

Learn more about The Threepenny Opera

Learn more about Mahagonny Songspiel

News story about similar sponsorship at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (2012)