A hot Weill summer in London, highlighted by a long run of Threepenny Opera at the National Theatre, continues into autumn with Weill's last show, Lost in the Stars, based on Alan Paton's novel, Cry, the Beloved Country with book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. The show has never been staged before in London, and its debut under the creative team of Jean Lacornerie and Scott Stroman is particularly auspicious. The pair presided over the French premieres of One Touch of Venus (2006) and Lady in the Dark (2008), both highly successful fully staged productions. (Stroman also has a Street Scene to his credit at Opéra de Lyon in 2010.)
Highbury Opera Theatre, based in north London, is a small but ambitious company that emphasizes local participation and engages artists from surrounding communities along with professionals. Their production of Lost in the Stars features South African singer Denver Martin-Smith in the lead role of Reverend Stephen Kumalo and Byron Jackson as the Leader.
Lost in the Stars has recently enjoyed something of a renaissance in the U.S. thanks to Tazewell Thompson's acclaimed production at Glimmerglass Opera (2012) and Washington National Opera (2016). Some believed that the work had outlived its usefulness after the fall of institutional apartheid in South Africa, but Thompson and Lacornerie are proving that it remains relevant until we can eliminate all forms of oppression and mistreatment. As Thompson put it, we must still "come to grips with a human story of hard-won reconciliation, compassion, understanding of the 'other,' forgiveness, and moral transformation. A story of different races and cultures painfully and awkwardly, yet willingly and hopefully, learning to live together."
Learn more about Lost in the Stars
Scott Stroman rehearses the chorus
Originally posted: 11 October 2016