Der Silbersee

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Der Silbersee_table_infobox_0

Der Silbersee: ein WintermärchenDer Silbersee_header_cell_0_0_0
TranslationDer Silbersee_header_cell_0_1_0 The Silver Lake: a Winter's Fairy TaleDer Silbersee_cell_0_1_1
LibrettistDer Silbersee_header_cell_0_2_0 Georg KaiserDer Silbersee_cell_0_2_1
LanguageDer Silbersee_header_cell_0_3_0 GermanDer Silbersee_cell_0_3_1
PremiereDer Silbersee_header_cell_0_4_0 18 February 1933 (1933-02-18)Der Silbersee_cell_0_4_1

Der Silbersee: ein Wintermärchen (The Silver Lake: a Winter's Fairy Tale) is a 'play with music' in three acts by Kurt Weill to a German text by Georg Kaiser. Der Silbersee_sentence_0

The subtitle is an allusion to Heinrich Heine's 1844 satirical epic poem, Germany. Der Silbersee_sentence_1 A Winter's Tale. Der Silbersee_sentence_2

Premiere performances Der Silbersee_section_0

Der Silbersee was premiered on 18 February 1933 simultaneously at the Altes Theater (Leipzig), the Alte Oper (Erfurt) [] and the Stadttheater Magdeburg, just three weeks after the Nazi Party's Machtergreifung on 30 January 1933. Der Silbersee_sentence_3

The Leipzig production was directed by Detlev Sierck, conducted by Gustav Brecher, and designed by Caspar Neher. Der Silbersee_sentence_4

It was the last production of both Weill and Kaiser in the Weimar Republic before they were forced to emigrate. Der Silbersee_sentence_5

It was banned on 4 March 1933 by the Nazis after having been performed 16 times. Der Silbersee_sentence_6

Performance history Der Silbersee_section_1

A complete performance of Der Silbersee runs about three hours, consisting of roughly equal parts of dialogue and music. Der Silbersee_sentence_7

The long and complex play requires skilled actors, but the vocal demands of Weill's score require trained singers. Der Silbersee_sentence_8

The difficulty in reconciling these needs makes successful performance of the piece difficult, and modern productions have consisted mostly of abridged concert versions and adaptations. Der Silbersee_sentence_9

An abridged version with diminished orchestration was prepared by Boris Blacher and presented as part of the Berlin Festival at the Schlosspark-Theater, in West Berlin, on 19 September 1955. Der Silbersee_sentence_10

At the Holland Festival at The Hague on 25 June 1971, a 90-minute concert version was prepared by Jozef Heinzelmann and David Drew. Der Silbersee_sentence_11

It included the entire score in its original orchestration, with narration spoken by Lotte Lenya. Der Silbersee_sentence_12

The performance was conducted by Gary Bertini. Der Silbersee_sentence_13

A 50-minute concert version devised by David Drew for five soloists, chorus and orchestra with no narration or dialogue was presented on 10 September 1975 in West Berlin. Der Silbersee_sentence_14

Performers included Anja Silja (soprano) and Günther Reich (baritone), conducted by Gary Bertini. Der Silbersee_sentence_15

On 20 March 1980 in the New York State Theater in New York City, the New York City Opera presented a free adaptation entitled Silverlake with an English libretto by Hugh Wheeler and a musically continuous score devised by Lys Symonette who also adapted the lyrics. Der Silbersee_sentence_16

The score incorporated incidental music Weill had composed for the Berlin stage as well as music written for a 1927 production of August Strindberg's Gustav III, and interpolated the "Muschel von Margate" ("Petroleum Song") (written for Léo Lania's 1928 play Konjunktur) with new lyrics by Wheeler to create a duet for Olim and Severin in act 3. Der Silbersee_sentence_17

This version also adds Olim to the Lottery Agent's Tango, making it a duet, transfers the "Ballad of Caesar's Death" from the ingénue Fennimore to the villainess Frau von Luber, and adds a role for a dancer representing Hunger. Der Silbersee_sentence_18

The cast included Joel Grey (Olim), William Neill (Severin), Elizabeth Hynes (Fennimore), Elaine Bonazzi (Frau von Luber), and Gary Chryst (Hunger). Der Silbersee_sentence_19

The production was directed by Harold Prince, conducted by Julius Rudel, and designed by Manuel Lutgenhorst. Der Silbersee_sentence_20

In 2014 it was produced at Kokkola Opera Summer [] in Kokkola, Finland. Der Silbersee_sentence_21

Roles Der Silbersee_section_2

Der Silbersee_table_general_1

Roles, voice types, premiere castsDer Silbersee_table_caption_1
RoleDer Silbersee_header_cell_1_0_0 Voice typeDer Silbersee_header_cell_1_0_1 Premiere cast, 18 February 1933Der Silbersee_header_cell_1_0_2
Leipzig

Conductor: Gustav Brecher Director: Detlef Sierck Designer: Caspar NeherDer Silbersee_header_cell_1_1_0

Magdeburg

Conductor: Georg Winkler Director: Helmut Götze Designer: Ernst RuferDer Silbersee_header_cell_1_1_1

Erfurt

Conductor: Friedrich Walter Director: Hermann Pfeiffer Designer: Walter SchröterDer Silbersee_header_cell_1_1_2

Severin, thiefDer Silbersee_cell_1_2_0 tenorDer Silbersee_cell_1_2_1 Alexander GollingDer Silbersee_cell_1_2_2 Ernst BuschDer Silbersee_cell_1_2_3 Albert JohannesDer Silbersee_cell_1_2_4
Olim, police officerDer Silbersee_cell_1_3_0 baritoneDer Silbersee_cell_1_3_1 Erhard SiedelDer Silbersee_cell_1_3_2 Eduard WandreyDer Silbersee_cell_1_3_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_3_4
Fennimore, Frau von Luber's nieceDer Silbersee_cell_1_4_0 sopranoDer Silbersee_cell_1_4_1 Lotte LenyaDer Silbersee_cell_1_4_2 Elisabeth LennartzDer Silbersee_cell_1_4_3 Sieglinde RiesmannDer Silbersee_cell_1_4_4
Frau von Luber, Olim's housekeeperDer Silbersee_cell_1_5_0 mezzo-sopranoDer Silbersee_cell_1_5_1 Lina CarstensDer Silbersee_cell_1_5_2 Ruth BaldorDer Silbersee_cell_1_5_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_5_4
Baron Laur, Frau von Luber's friendDer Silbersee_cell_1_6_0 tenorDer Silbersee_cell_1_6_1 Ernst SatlerDer Silbersee_cell_1_6_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_6_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_6_4
Lottery agentDer Silbersee_cell_1_7_0 tenorDer Silbersee_cell_1_7_1 Albert GarbeDer Silbersee_cell_1_7_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_7_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_7_4
First gravediggerDer Silbersee_cell_1_8_0 baritoneDer Silbersee_cell_1_8_1 Der Silbersee_cell_1_8_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_8_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_8_4
Second gravediggerDer Silbersee_cell_1_9_0 baritoneDer Silbersee_cell_1_9_1 Der Silbersee_cell_1_9_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_9_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_9_4
First shopgirlDer Silbersee_cell_1_10_0 sopranoDer Silbersee_cell_1_10_1 Der Silbersee_cell_1_10_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_10_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_10_4
Second shopgirlDer Silbersee_cell_1_11_0 mezzo-sopranoDer Silbersee_cell_1_11_1 Der Silbersee_cell_1_11_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_11_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_11_4
First young manDer Silbersee_cell_1_12_0 bassDer Silbersee_cell_1_12_1 Der Silbersee_cell_1_12_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_12_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_12_4
Second young manDer Silbersee_cell_1_13_0 bassDer Silbersee_cell_1_13_1 Der Silbersee_cell_1_13_2 Der Silbersee_cell_1_13_3 Der Silbersee_cell_1_13_4

Synopsis Der Silbersee_section_3

Act 1 Der Silbersee_section_4

A band of unemployed men who live on the banks of the Silbersee are driven by their hunger and despair to rob a grocery store. Der Silbersee_sentence_22

Severin is making off with a pineapple when he is shot and wounded by Olim, a provincial policeman. Der Silbersee_sentence_23

While preparing his official report, Olim's conscience is troubled by the desperation that he imagines has motivated Severin's crime, and he is touched by Severin's unlikely choice of plunder. Der Silbersee_sentence_24

Thanks to an unexpected lottery win, Olim suddenly acquires a fortune. Der Silbersee_sentence_25

He destroys his police report of the incident and vows to make amends to Severin. Der Silbersee_sentence_26

Olim presents himself to the bitter, hospitalized Severin as his benefactor without revealing his true identity. Der Silbersee_sentence_27

Act 2 Der Silbersee_section_5

Olim has purchased an ancient castle and is attending to Severin's recovery with the help of his housekeeper Frau von Luber and her good-hearted and somewhat mystical niece Fennimore. Der Silbersee_sentence_28

Frau von Luber is from an old aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times. Der Silbersee_sentence_29

Sensing that Olim is hiding some secret that she may be able to use to her advantage, she orders Fennimore to spy upon the master and his guest in an attempt to unlock the mystery of their relationship. Der Silbersee_sentence_30

Meanwhile, Severin is unmoved by Olim's generosity and remains morbidly focused on revenge. Der Silbersee_sentence_31

At Severin's request, Fennimore delivers a message to his comrades at the Silbersee, who thereby learn his whereabouts and come to the castle, where they recognize Olim as the policeman whose gunshot crippled Severin. Der Silbersee_sentence_32

Act 3 Der Silbersee_section_6

Frau von Luber now exploits Olim's fear of the furious Severin and manages to acquire both the castle and Olim's fortune. Der Silbersee_sentence_33

Fennimore foils her aunt's plan to set Severin murderously upon Olim by moving the two men to reconcile. Der Silbersee_sentence_34

Frau von Luber, now restored to wealth and property, dispossesses Olim and Severin, who set out through the snow to the Silbersee with the intention of drowning themselves. Der Silbersee_sentence_35

As they journey there, winter turns to spring and the voices of Fennimore and the unseen chorus encourage them to remain true to each other and to mankind by going forward in confidence and hope. Der Silbersee_sentence_36

When they arrive at the Silbersee, they find it miraculously still frozen solid, and they set out across it as Fennimore's voice is heard singing, Wer weiter muss, den trägt der Silbersee (Silverlake will bear whoever must go farther). Der Silbersee_sentence_37

Musical numbers Der Silbersee_section_7

Der Silbersee_description_list_0

  • Overture (Allegro assai) – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_0_0

Act 1 Der Silbersee_sentence_38

Der Silbersee_description_list_1

  • 1 'Gräbst du?' – Two gravediggersDer Silbersee_item_1_1
  • 2 Alla marche funebre: 'Wir tragen den Toten zu Grabe' – Two gravediggers, two young menDer Silbersee_item_1_2
  • 3 'Der Bäkker bäckt ums Morgenrot' – Severin, two gravediggers, two young menDer Silbersee_item_1_3
  • 4 Song der beiden Verkäuferinnen: 'Wir sind Mädchen, die an jedermann verkaufen' – Two shopgirlsDer Silbersee_item_1_4
  • 4a Walzer – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_1_5
  • 5 ChorusesDer Silbersee_item_1_6
    • Sostenuto – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_1_7
    • 'Olim! Tut es dir nicht leid?' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_8
    • 'Jetzt bist du auf dem Wege' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_9
    • 'Wenn die nicht schiltst' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_10
    • 'Immer weiter dringen' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_11
    • 'Noch hast du das Geld nicht' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_12
  • 6 Song von der Krone des Gewinns: 'Was zahlen Sie für einen Rat?' – Lottery agentDer Silbersee_item_1_13
  • 6a ChorusesDer Silbersee_item_1_14
    • 'Olim! was willst du tun?' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_15
    • 'Olim! Willst du Vergessen? – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_16
    • 'Du hast dich zum Aufbruch entschlossen' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_1_17
    • Nachspiel – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_1_18
  • [7a] Melodrama – SeverinDer Silbersee_item_1_19
  • 7 'Was soll ich essen in der Morgenfrühe?' – Severin, OlimDer Silbersee_item_1_20

Act 2 Der Silbersee_sentence_39

Der Silbersee_description_list_2

  • [8a] Moderato assai – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_2_21
  • 8 Fennimores Lied: 'Ich bin eine arme Verwandte' – FennimoreDer Silbersee_item_2_22
  • 9 Ballade von Cäsars Tod: 'Rom hiess eine Stadt' – FennimoreDer Silbersee_item_2_23
  • 10 Allegro moderato – orchestra [Fennimore's dance]Der Silbersee_item_2_24
  • 11 Rache-Arie: 'Erst trifft dich die Kugel' – SeverinDer Silbersee_item_2_25
  • 12 Silbersee-Duett: 'Auf jener Strasse' – Severin, FennimoreDer Silbersee_item_2_26
  • 12a Choral reprise of 11Der Silbersee_item_2_27

Act 3 Der Silbersee_sentence_40

Der Silbersee_description_list_3

  • 13 Allegro assai – orchestra (shortened reprise of 1a)Der Silbersee_item_3_28
  • 14 Odysseus-Arie: 'Wie Odysseus an den Mast des Schiffes' – SeverinDer Silbersee_item_3_29
  • 15 Totentanz - orchestraDer Silbersee_item_3_30
  • 15a Schlaraffenland-Song: 'Es wächst uns in den Mund der Wein' – Frau von Luber, Baron LaurDer Silbersee_item_3_31
  • 16 FinaleDer Silbersee_item_3_32
    • Andantino – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_3_33
    • 'Ihr sollt den Weg nicht finden' – chorusDer Silbersee_item_3_34
    • Allegretto – orchestraDer Silbersee_item_3_35
    • 'Alles, was ist, ist Beginnen' – Fennimore's voice, chorusDer Silbersee_item_3_36

Music Der Silbersee_section_8

The theatrical form of Der Silbersee is difficult to classify and most closely resembles a singspiel, though with greater dramatic demands placed on the acting. Der Silbersee_sentence_41

As in his other works, Weill uses a broad variety of forms (songs, arias, duets, quartets, choruses), musical styles (tango, funeral march, waltz, polka, foxtrot, march) and conventions (revenge aria, moritat, Totentanz, and dialogue spoken over elaborate musical accompaniment, i.e., melodrama). Der Silbersee_sentence_42

The orchestration requires a string section plus 13 other instruments. Der Silbersee_sentence_43

The finale, depicting Severin and Olim's journey to the Silbersee through a stormy snowscape that transforms into spring, runs approximately 15 minutes and consists of melodrama, dialogue, instrumental passages, choruses, and an offstage solo. Der Silbersee_sentence_44

Reception and consequences Der Silbersee_section_9

As a result of the work's questioning of genre limitations, the Nazis labelled it Entartete Musik and placed a ban on the piece on 4 March 1933. Der Silbersee_sentence_45

The next day, Kaiser was expelled from the Prussian Academy of Arts, of which he was a member. Der Silbersee_sentence_46

On 21 March, Silbersee designer and longtime Weill collaborator Caspar Neher and his wife Erika drove Weill across the border in their car and together they headed for Paris. Der Silbersee_sentence_47

On 10 May the work with illustrations by Neher was burned on the Opera Plaza. Der Silbersee_sentence_48

In spite of the extreme censorship put on it at the time, the work has survived more or less intact. Der Silbersee_sentence_49

There have been complete recordings and performances made of it most since 1945. Der Silbersee_sentence_50

Recordings Der Silbersee_section_10

Der Silbersee_unordered_list_4

  • Silverlake. A Winter's Tale, New York City Opera. Conductor: Julius Rudel. Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch, 1980 (102 minutes)Der Silbersee_item_4_37
  • Der Silbersee. Ein Wintermärchen – Kurt Weill Edition, vol. 1, Capriccio, 1990 (107 minutes)Der Silbersee_item_4_38
  • Weill: Der Silbersee, Markus Stenz (conductor), London Sinfonietta Orchestra and Chorus, RCA, Red Seal Label, 1999 (85 minutes)Der Silbersee_item_4_39


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der Silbersee.