To Echoworld Homepage

To Echo Germanica Homepage
July 2007 - Nr. 7


The Editor
To the Editor
Hot City's Summer Days
Baden in Kanada
Dan's Satire
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Austrian Honours
Oberlander, Spielball der Politik
Simcoe or Berczy
Das Konsulat teil mit
KW & Beyond
INK the Production
Club Loreley & Fiesta Week
Music in Toronto
Dick reports...Muddy York
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Blasorchester von Fulda
World Rhythms
The Pillow Man
Art History July
Kurt Weill Centenary
Spiegel Show So Hot!
Ukrainian Festival
Cosmedic Pesticides Use
To Lean or Not Too Lean
Outdoor Prepared
Ontario Lacrosse Festival
Austria's FIFA Team
After the World Cup

From Berlin to Broadway

 The Kurt Weill Centenary

GIC - Widely regarded as one of the century’s most versatile composers, Kurt Weill (1900-1950) was also one of the first to defy convention by fusing elements of the classical tradition, the avant-garde, and popular musical theatre. The centenary of his birth is not until next year, but his German and American admirers are losing no time in paying him tribute. The New York-based Weill Foundation and the Saxon city of Chemnitz opened the extended "Weill Year" celebration this month with the first ever staging of the full German original of his adaptation of Franz Werfel’s biblical epic Der Weg der Verheißung, previously known to audiences only in the truncated English version, The Eternal Road. Born on March 2, 1900 in Dessau (Saxony-Anhalt), the son of a cantor, Weill discovered his musical calling at an early age. At twelve he started composing and producing concerts and plays in the hall above his family’s living quarters. He completed his musical training in Berlin, working under Engelbert Humperdinck and Ferruccio Busoni, and by 1925 he was developing a reputation as one of Europe’s most promising young composers. Weill found inspiration in modern theatre, and his first major success, Der Protagonist (1926), was a one-act opera with text by playwright Georg Kaiser. In this piece and later works, he sought to open the door to a new era on the musical stage by bringing in features from jazz and embracing the innovations offered by experimental theatre. In 1927, Weill found an enthusiastic collaborator in writer Berthold Brecht. The pair won widespread acclaim with their musical play Dreigroschenoper (1928), later produced in New York as The Threepenny Opera (1933), and with their satiric opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahogonny (The Rise and Fall of the City Mahogonny, 1929). As Brecht further developed his ideas of drama’s function and workings, their partnership declined, and Weill began working instead with stage designer Caspar Neher on "Die Bürgschaft", his last full-length opera, and again with Georg Kaiser on the play "Der Silbersee".

These works were condemned as examples of "decadent art" when Hitler came to power, and in 1933 Weil left Germany for Paris, where he collaborated with Brecht once more on "Die sieben Todsünden" (The Seven Deadly Sins), a "ballet with singing" for George Balanchine’s company. After emigrating to the United States in 1935, he abandoned the world of opera for Broadway, which he believed offered a chance of greater artistic freedom. Joining forces with some of the leading writers of the American stage, including Maxwell Anderson, Ira Gerschwin, Moss Hart, and Alan Jay Lerner, he wrote scores for a variety of productions that combined musical innovation with mainstream appeal. Some of his best-known works from this period include Johnny Johnson (1936), One Touch of Venus (1943), Street Scene, (1947) and Lost in the Stars (1949). His wife, Lotte Lenya, played a leading role in many of them. After his death on April 3, 1950, his German works began to attract more attention in the United States, and in 1954 The Threepenny Opera returned to Broadway, where it flourished for a six-year run and its theme song, "The Ballad of Mack the Knife," became a show tune standard.


To Top of Page

Send mail to  with questions or comments about this web site.
For information about Echoworld Communications and its services send mail to .

Copyright ©2007 Echoworld Communications