The Shedd Institute is pleased to present soprano Siri Vik and pianist Nathalie Fortin in Moon Shines Red, a command performance re-visioning of their May 2009 In The Measuring of Love: Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht. Those who had the good fortune to be in attendance that night witnessed a work of art of exceptional power. We present this extended run, wherein Siri and Nathalie are joined by Doug Heydon and Beau Eastlund, in a cabaret setting.
“…the seats were sticky with brandy, grass grew up from the rotten wood of the dance floor, and the moon shone red through the leaky roof. Bliss and noise. It was the greatest place in the world.” -- from "Bilbaosong", Happy End (1929)
At first blush, this evening transports us to the world of 1920s Berlin, the decadence of the Weimar Republic, the cabaret, the lurid darkness which hints at the menace to come, in Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Then it is also a series of character sketches in song – sharply, at times violently and messily drawn by the words of the iconoclast playwright Bertholt Brecht. Whether these characters emerge from the underworld, the bureaucratic machine, whether they drift in from the road or are cloistered by bourgeois life, they reveal themselves without apology, they reflect back to us ourselves, perhaps a view we don’t want to see.
And at its core, this is beautiful theater music. The classical, futurist composer Kurt Weill writes songs to Brecht’s words for everyone. These songs are of pop form, songs for dancing and carousing. Some of these songs endure as rock anthem (“Alabamasong”) jazz standard (“Mack the Knife”) and theater torch song (“Surabaya Johnny”). Weill’s harmonic language speaks through these catchy rhythms in an unexpected way: underneath the candy coat of pop musical idiom is unrest and sometimes, lunacy; in between and around the brute force of Brecht’s poetry, lies the raw, soft red of our heartbreaking humanness. It is beautiful to find it shine there amid the mess and ruin.
Gold circle tabled seating on the main floor is $28; balcony & rear main regular seating is $22. Youth under 21 are restricted to the balcony and are admitted at $14.