The Silver Lake

Kurt Weill

A winter fairy tale in three acts [1933]

Text by Georg Kaiser
Stars in the sky over The Silver Lake!—One of the most versatile composers joins forces with one of the most successful playwrights of the Weimar Republic, together creating a a highly comedic and political musical-theater play about friendship, government authority, private property and the Republic. Actors from the Berliner Ensemble work closely with singers from the Komische Oper Berlin to present this idiosyncratic, rarely performed work in a concert version specially designed as a co-production put on in tandem by the two Berlin companies.

«I was turned on—by the sight of a piece of fruit, and also by the knife-murder ballad you sang,» says Severin the shoplifter to Lady Fennimore, at the castle on Silver Lake, where Severin is recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted by the policeman Olim—the very same Olim who quit his job after winning the lottery, and has now become the proud owner of the castle. Since the Republic expropriated the nobility, the previous owner Frau von Luber has been relegated to the position of housekeeper—devious housekeeper! How will it all resolve in the end, this struggle for revenge, for restoration, and for the Republic?

The fame of the playwright Georg Kaiser has faded since his death. His plays influenced the young Bertolt Brecht, and the composer Kurt Weill found in him an artistic soul mate. In 1933, shortly after the National Socialists came to power, The Silver Lake premiered at three theaters simultaneously—and was banned soon after. After the success of The Three Penny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Weill turned to The Silver Lake, combining musical theater and drama to create a groundbreaking new type of theatrical event, melding lieder, murder ballads, cantatas, jazz and swing, Yiddish folklore, romantic art songs and high opera.

A Winter’s Fairy Tale in Three Acts [1933]
Text by Georg Kaiser
In the header: Kurt Weill (historic portrait) | Photo: Jan Windszus Photography, 3D Art: Sven Windszus
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Selected Performance:
HK Gruber
Tilo Nest
Soloists from the Komische Oper Berlin, actors from the Berliner Ensemble and the Vocalconsort Berlin