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The Seven Deadly Sins

Author(s): Music by Kurt Weill, text by Bertolt Brecht, English translation by Michael Feingold
Company: Opera North
Running time: 0h 40min approx

Meet Anna and Anna: one person, two personalities. Sent away for seven years to make money for their struggling family, they journey between seven cities from Philadelphia to San Francisco and encounter Sloth, Pride, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Greed and Envy on the way. As they do, they dance, sing, argue and withstand the sardonic commentary of their family.

Written and premièred in Paris in 1933, The Seven Deadly Sins was to be the final collaboration between the composer Kurt Weill and the playwright Bertolt Brecht. They had scored a huge hit together with The Threepenny Opera in 1928, but their relationship soured as they worked towards the première of the Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in 1930. Brecht always felt that Weill was too much the dreamer and that his music needed words to make it relevant and practical. So the piece can be seen as a perfect metaphor for the fractured state of their relationship. It also functions on many other levels: as a critique of capitalism, of the church and of the way that women are treated in this society.

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