Die sieben Todsünden

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Friday, 15th October 2010
7.30 pm

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This evening’s performance brings together the first and final collaborations
between Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. The unique partnership
began in 1927 with The Little Mahagonny and ended in 1933 with The
Seven Deadly Sins, written in exile in Paris. In the intervening years the
pair had revolutionised musical theatre, had resounding success and,
soon after, experienced danger and exile after the Nazis seized power
in Germany.

The Seven Deadly Sins was premiered at the Théâtre des
Champs-Élysées. In 2009 the theatre returned to the work and staged a
production in co-operation with the Theater an der Wien.
The two works are united by a common theme that provides a leitmotif
for the evening: the damage caused to people under the conditions that prevail
under capitalism.

In The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny the
protagonists strive to reach the fantastical city of Mahagonny where everything
can be bought and enjoyed with no taboos. However, everything
must also be paid for and the pilgrims of sin, having arrived in happy anticipation,
are soon broke, lethargic and their emotions dulled. When God
arrives with the intention of sending them to Hell the people protest that
they are already there. In The Seven Deadly Sins, Anna, the daughter of
a petty bourgeois family, travels across America to earn money so that her
family can buy a little house. The pressure of having to earn money causes
her to split into Anna I, the coolly materialistic one, and Anna II, the
emotional one. Anna I forces Anna II to commit every one of the deadly
sins for the sake of money, behaviour which places her entirely in step with
the true moral values of the time.

Weill’s music is dynamic, full of dramatic changes of style. Every song
has its own new and distinctive rhythm. The music, full of allusions
and ambiguity, deliberately alternates between seriousness and parody.
Angelika Kirchschlager puts in an outstanding vocal performance in
these works that have once again attained enormous social relevance.
Her portrayal of the schizophrenic Anna, who is forced to acquire
money and at the same time coerces herself, provides the evening with
an hour or so of concentrated fascination.