Lucy’s Aria (Kurt Weill)

A live performance during my masters exam concert “Kurt Weill – From Dessau to Broadway” at the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf.

Lucy’s Aria from “The Threepenny Opera” (1928)

Music: Kurt Weill
Lyrics: Bertolt Brecht
Piano: Jori Schulze-Reimpell

“The Threepenny Opera” premiered on August 31st 1928 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin and instantly became a hit. Theaters all over Germany announced that they would include the play in their repertoire. Weill, Elisabeth Hauptmann and Bertolt Brecht had worked on the opera from May to September. It was orchestrated for a seven-piece jazz band, common in Berlin at the time (At the premiere the Lewis Ruth Band, conducted by Theo Mackeben). Three songs from The Threepenny Opera were cut before the premiere: Rosa Valetti rejected the “Ballade der sexuellen Hörigkeit” (The Ballad of the Sexual Dependance) because of its daring lyrics. The “Song of Solomon” as well as the “Lucy’s Aria” had been removed because the performer Kate Kühls was vocally incapable of performing it. In November 1932 Weill published this pseudo-aria in “Die Musik 25, No.2”, without ever having orchestrated it.

Die sieben Todsünden (Kurt Weill)

A live performance during a recital of the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf.

“Die sieben Todsünden” (1933)
Music: Kurt Weill
Lyrics: Bertolt Brecht
Piano: Jori Schulze-Reimpell
Arranged as a short version for one singer by Jori Schulze-Reimpell and Linda Babiak

0:00 Prolog
2:36 Stolz
5:41 Unzucht
9:48 Neid
13:32 Epilog

On June 7, 1933, the “ballet chanté” premiers “The Seven Deadly Sins” at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and on June 30 at the Savoy Theatre in London. It is the first work by Kurt Weill to be performed in England.
The patron of the arts Edward James had commissioned Weill in April to compose a piece for George Balanchine’s ballet company “Les Ballets.” James and Weill jointly decided on a ballet with singing. Weill wanted to engage the French writer Jean Cocteau for the libretto, but he declined. When James suggested Bertold Brecht as librettist, Weill agrees.

It is the story of Anna I and Anna II, who travel through seven American cities in seven years to earn money for a home at the behest of their family. In the process, Anna I offers her sister Anna II for love services. It remains unclear whether Anna I and Anna II are the same person. Anna I is the singing embodiment, Anna II the dancer.

The press in Germany claimed that Paris also repelled Weill’s works. In a letter to Lotte Lenya in July, Weill wrote that he had the feeling an “anti-Weill clique” was slowly forming in Paris as well, and wondered whether it was really necessary for him to expose himself to the next dangerous situation.