Jul 26, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins

The picture above is from a Birmingham, England, production of The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

This is a story of two sisters Anna I and Anna II. Anna I does the principal singing, while Anna II dances. Anna I is supposed to represent the practical side of the personality while Anna II is supposed to be the artistic side.

I don’t know why, but Brecht and Weill locate the setting for this piece in the US. Perhaps because it is, or was then, the prime example of capitalism. Each vice has a corresponding city

Each city represents one year, for a total of seven years. The finally return home to Louisiana.

As with much of Brecht, the sins are given ironic twists. The family of the two sisters serves as a chorus that comments on the events. They generally convey pious platitudes that condemn Anna II’s actions. These actions are frequently righteous in opposition to the family’s values, such as wanting to marry for love (lust in the family’s eyes), or pride in rejecting a job as a stripper.

The Mahagonny Songspiel is also on this CD. This is a set of ten tracks that were worked into the opera. Like The Seven Deadly Sins the setting is the United States. Like the other opera there is no connection with the real US.

This is another satire on capitalism and its evils. This is perhaps best reflected in these lines:

On the sea
And on the land
People sell their skin because their needs are so intensive
There’s a big demand for skin
But these poor bastards never win
Because they sell their hid so cheap and then buy

This CD does not seem to be available on Amazon.