This past year will forever be remembered for producing profound political, social, and economic challenges, but the arts suffered, too, as performance spaces all over the world closed due to the coronavirus. Still, inspiring performances flourished in new and creative ways, often from a safe distance or through online streaming. We’ve rounded up a few Weill performances that critics hailed as the “Best of 2020.”

Street Scene at Opera North
Opera North’s dazzling, pre-Covid production of Street Scene received rave reviews in January 2020 when The Economist called the production “a near-definitive interpretation” of Weill’s Broadway opera. Directed by Matthew Eberhardt and conducted by James Holmes, the production received a brief UK tour in February before being cancelled due to the pandemic. The Observer’s classical music critic Fiona Maddocks listed the production in her 10 best of 2020 list.

Julia Bullock & Christian Reif Present Weill
Soprano Julia Bullock is well-known for her vibrant interpretations of wide-ranging styles, spanning classical works and contemporary musical theater. During lockdown in Germany, Bullock was joined on piano by her husband, conductor Christian Reif, for an intimate series of songs they posted on social media. Their stunning rendition of Weill’s “Wie lange noch?” (How Much Longer) was streamed by NPR Music’s Tiny Desk concerts, and Bullock was named an “At-Home Diva” in the New York Times Best Classical Music of 2020 list. Bullock will perform additional Weill selections for the Cal Performances at Home series, premiering on January 14 and available afterwards on demand.

An Anthem for 2020: “Lonely House”
A stirring cry against isolation, “Lonely House” gave new meaning to “how lonesome you can be” during the pandemic. The Weill-Hughes classic, plucked from the Tony Award-winning opera Street Scene, landed on PBS NewsHour’s list of 101 songs you turned to in 2020, alongside performances by Prince, Judy Garland, Pink Floyd, and Beyoncé. One PBS reader reacted to “Lonely House” with an astute reflection: “If the pandemic needed an anthem, this would be at the top of the list.”

Katharine Mehrling & Barrie Kosky Present Lonely House
Celebrated singer-actress Katharine Mehrling and artistic director Barrie Kosky collaborated last year to present Lonely House at Komische Oper Berlin, a program of French chansons and Broadway standards from Weill’s time in Paris and New York. The live program has since been filmed for streaming during lockdown, and the New York Times listed it as one of the 10 Classical Concerts to Stream in January (the program is available until January 22). Kosky, who accompanies Mehrling on piano, is directing a new production of Die Dreigroschenoper at Berliner Ensemble this year in the same theater where it premiered in 1928.

The Seven Deadly Sins for 15 Players Streamed Live from Opera North
As a direct response to renewed restrictions in the UK, Opera North used multiple cameras and ingenious stage design to transport its live production of The Seven Deadly Sins into living rooms throughout the world. Using the reduced version for 15 players prepared by HK Gruber and Christian Muthspiel, the lauded production was directed and choreographed by Gary Clarke and conducted by James Holmes. The Arts Desk included the production in its Best of 2020: Opera list and praised the “phenomenal performances from the singing and dancing protagonists, Wallis Giunta and Shelley Eva Haden,” as the two Annas.