The tribute marks the centenary of Weill's birth. Under the artistic guidance of Sir Andrew Davis, the BBC Symphony Orchestra undertakes a major, in-depth study of Weill's music and career, from his early fame in Weimar Germany through political exile in Europe to his final achievements in America. The schedule concentrates in particular on some important scores neglected in the UK since Weill's death.
The British premiere of the opera Royal Palace (1925-26) opens the weekend on Friday 14 January, paired in concert with Weill's first big operatic success, Der Protagonist (1924-25). Conducted by Davis, the cast includes Janice Watson, Madeline Bender, Donald Kaasch, Ashley Holland and Stephen Richardson.
On Saturday 15 January, the 1934 operetta Arms and the Cow (Der Kuhhandel) gets a second London airing, in a new English performing version by Lys Symonette and Jeremy Sams. Weill's political comedy set in a South American republic was originally written in German in Paris, and was premiered as the 'romantic comedy' A Kingdom for a Cow at London's Savoy Theatre in 1935. This new concert version is conducted by Robert Ziegler with a cast featuring South American soprano Juanita Lascarro.
On Sunday 16 January, two works new to the UK are given premieres. First up is the British premiere of Trains Bound for Glory, a choral movement from Weill's historical pageant Railroads on Parade written for the 1939 New York World's Fair. The weekend culminates with the European premiere of the 1944 musical The Firebrand of Florence. Written with lyricist Ira Gershwin, Firebrand is the Broadway version of the life of flamboyant 16th century Florentine painter Benvenuto Cellini. Davis conducts with a cast of British and American singers, headed by American baritone Rodney Gilfry in the title role and Felicity Palmer.
Other highlights of the weekend include a Saturday late-night concert of Weill's best-known songs by German chanteuse Ute Lemper, of Chicago fame, and the Matrix Ensemble. For further information, contact the Barbican box office on +44-171-638-8891.