From his first successes a century ago until today, Kurt Weill has been an internationally celebrated composer. The 2023/24 season aptly demonstrates that his international stature continues in full force.
Germany, the country of his birth, leads the way. Dresden is a particular hotspot, with what promises to be a thought-provoking new production of Die Dreigroschenoper at Staatsschauspiel Dresden along with a Sieben Todsünden just down the street at Staatsoperette Dresden. Staatsoper Stuttgart premieres its Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. Weill’s adopted hometown, Berlin, continues to place him front and center, offering Joana Mallwitz at the Konzerthaus and Barrie Kosky’s sensational Dreigroschenoper running in repertory at the Berliner Ensemble. And that is before even mentioning Sir Simon Rattle and Die sieben Todsünden with the Staatskapelle.
During his lifetime and after, Weill’s work has experienced in France both triumphs and disappointments. The coming season shows uncommon promise. Thomas Ostermeier’s Dreigroschenoper, premiered in Aix in July, transfers to La Comédie-Française in Paris for thirty-two performances that sold out almost the instant they went on sale. Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy revives Ersan Mondtag’s eye-popping interpretation of Der Silbersee. Perhaps most intriguingly, a new production of Weill’s “Broadway Opera” Street Scene, last seen in France at the Théâtre du Châtelet in 2013, bows at L’Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris.
In the United States, Weill features very prominently in Carnegie Hall’s spring 2024 festival titled “Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice.” World-class ensembles performing his work include The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Met Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, chamber orchestra The Knights, and Germany’s Ensemble Modern, the last conducted by eminent Weillian HK Gruber. Solo artists Justin Austin, Max Raabe, and Wallis Giunta and all appear.
Among notable productions in other countries are Ivo van Hove’s Mahagonny at Dutch National Opera, a new Dreigroschenoper at Swedish National Theater, and, in Austria at Oper Graz, the family opera Tom Sawyer reimagined by John von Düffel through remade versions of Weill’s Broadway songs. These are only the highlights. Check back frequently for a constantly updated listing through the Events Calendar on the Kurt Weill Foundation website.
Die Dreigroschenoper (opens 6 October)
Politically-engaged stage director Volker Lösch returns for his twelfth production at the Staatsschauspiel with a Dreigroschenoper set “in a fictional Germany in 2023, where right-wing groups not only dream of overthrow and taking power, but also want to put it into practice.” Michael Wilhelmi serves as music director.
Die sieben Todsünden (premieres 22 June)
Directed and choreographed by Jörn-Felix Alt, conducted by experienced Weill interpreter Peter Christian Feigel, and featuring Sophie Berner as Anna I, this new production of the Sins is complemented by a commissioned work as a “performative answer.” The new piece, 100 Leidenschaften, is choreographed for tap dancers, in co-production with the Sebastian Weber Dance Company.
Symphonie in einem Satz (31 August & 1 September)
Fantaisie symphonique & Die sieben Todsünden (2 & 4 February)
Joana Mallwitz, already one of the superstars of her generation, is using her new post as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin–and her new contract with Deutsche Grammophon–to stake her claim as a Weill champion.
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (premieres 11 May)
A young generation of performers from the Stuttgart ensemble joins with director Ulrike Schwab for an Aufstieg that “explores the question: Who would still dare to dream of a better future today?” Stuttgart General Musikdirektor Cornelius Meister conducts.
Die sieben Todsünden (17 & 18 June)
Sir Simon Rattle continues his interpretive advocacy on behalf of Weill, teaming up again with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená for a concert performance in Berlin of a work they have previously toured with the London Symphony.
Die Dreigroschenoper (in repertory)
Barrie Kosky’s sensational production continues its reign at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm under the adept musical leadership of Adam Benzwi.
L’opéra de quat’sous (The Threepenny Opera) (premieres 23 September)
A pillar of the Weill summer season in its premiere at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Thomas Ostermeier’s new production moves to Paris for an instantaneously sold-out run of thirty-two performances. Conductor Maxime Pascal and Orchestre Le Balcon will again serve as musical accomplices.
Opéra national de Lorraine
Der Silbersee (premieres 14 April)
First staged by Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, Ersan Mondtag’s eye-popping interpretation of Der Silbersee plays as “futuristic spectacle that transports audiences to the year 2033.” It is led musically in Nancy by conductor Gaetano Lo Coco.
L’Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris
Street Scene (premieres 19 April)
Conductor Yshani Perinpanayagam brings fresh perspective to a production calling upon the rising talents of L’Académie in a production by adventurous American stage director Ted Huffman.
Carnegie Hall – “Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice”
Kleine Dreigroschenmusik – Met Orchestra Chamber Ensemble (22 January)
Fantaisie symphonique – Philadelphia Orchestra (23 January)
Symphonie in einem Satz – The Knights (29 February)
Four Walt Whitman Songs – Justin Austin, baritone; Howard Watkins, piano (5 March)
Selections from Lady in the Dark – American Composers Orchestra (12 March)
Songs – Max Raabe & Palast Orchester (21 March)
Die sieben Todsünden – Ensemble Modern with HK Gruber and Wallis Giunta (12 April)
Weill figures prominently and repeatedly in Carnegie Hall’s spring 2024 programming, and appropriately so under the banner of the Weimar Republic. Symphonies, songs, and other works are capped off by an all-star Die sieben Todsünden featuring mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, vocal ensemble amarcord, and eminent Weillian HK Gruber conducting Germany’s Ensemble Modern.
Tom Sawyer (premieres 3 November)
This new family opera reimagined by John von Düffel out of songs by Weill created a stir when premiered earlier this year by Komische Oper Berlin. It continues its progress into the repertoire with a production this season in Graz, directed by Tobias Ribitzki. Kai Tietje, who orchestrated the new song arrangements based on Weill’s own 1940s sound palette, conducts.
Die Dreigroschenoper (return run begins 21 April)
A chorus of critics praised Sona MacDonald’s performance as Macheath when the Volksoper production premiered in November 2022. MacDonald, whose Kurt Weill résumé is already long and impressive, is the first female-identifying actor to play the role in a major production.
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen
Die sieben Todsünden (premieres 16 December)
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen burnishes its status as a Weill locus by bringing to the stage a new interpretation of Die sieben Todsünden by Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis. Chief conductor Alejo Pérez leads the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Symphony Orchestra.
Greek National Opera
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (premieres 12 April)
Stagings of Mahagonny in Greece have been relatively rare, but following on the success of his staging of The Makropoulos Affair, director Yannis Houvardas returns to the Greek National Opera, paired with conductor Miltos Logiadis, for this new production.
Dutch National Opera
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (premieres 6 September)
This third realization of Ivo van Hove’s peripatetic production will be especially noteworthy in bringing together one of the foremost interpreters of Aufstieg, conductor Markus Stenz, with Lenya Competition First Prize Winner (2015) Lauren Michelle, cast for the first time in the lead role of Jenny.
Norwegian Opera and Ballet
Die sieben Todsünden (premieres 31 May)
Director Hanne Tømta’s dark, pandemic-inflected production returns to the stage, this time before live audiences. Soprano Eli Kristin Hanssveen as Anna I teams with dancer Georgie Curreli-Rose’s Anna II.
Swedish National Theater
Die Dreigroschenoper (premieres 2 December)
“A musical gala performance in honor of capitalism” is the descriptive tagline for this new Swedish production of Dreigroschenoper, directed by Sofia Adrian Jupither and musically led by Sebastian Ring.
Die Dreigroschenoper (premieres 13 January)
Previously the resident director at Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, Antú Romero Nunes brings his stark, confrontational production to Basel. Sebastian Hoffmann serves as music director.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Die sieben Todsünden (13 March)
Soprano Danielle de Niese stars in this concert presentation, conducted by Edward Gardner OBE. (Presented with the support of the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Grants Program.) De Niese herself brings yet another European country into the Weill season when she performs the Sins onstage at Italy’s Teatro Comunale di Bologna.