: Der Silbersee: ein Wintermärchen)
Opera in three acts written by Georg Kaiser
) and Kurt Weill
". . . I've had a very upsetting experience: the three songs from Der
Silbersee were a great success at the concert. Caesar 'Ballade von Caesars Tod',
a courageous attack obviously aimed against Hitler had to be repeated, because a
French composer, Florent Schmitt (approximately as talented as Max Butting),
got up and screamed 'Heil Hitler! Enough music by German refugees', etc.
- Kurt Weill
in a letter to Lotte Lenya
After Weill's succesful collaboration with Brecht, the composer was looking for a
new work that would fit his definition of an opera that included modern music,
psycho-drama and social commentary ('volksoper'). Weill turned
back to his friend Georg Kaiser
, who had finished a novel about a magical lake.
Both decided to set the text to music (mixed with the well known Weill elements,
The stories about the first performances of the Silverlake are well known: Nazis
caused turmoils at the performances and (after the burning of the ReichsTag) Weill
was forced to flee to Paris.
, tells about a land surrounding a Silverlake, which is struck by hunger
. Severin and companions decide to raid a grocery store
, and as they escape,
Severin is shot by the policeman
Olim. When the policeman only finds a pineapple
Severin's bag, he feels quilty and changes the police records
to set the wounded victim
In a surreal moment, Olim then finds out he has won the lottery
, decides to buy a castle
and takes Severin with him to nurse him back to health.
The former castle owners, Frau von Luber and Baron Laur, immediately conspire against the
two, especially when their niece Fennimore finds out that Olim actually shot Severin.
When Severin finds out that Olim was the policeman that shot him, he chases him through
the castle. In trade for help, Olim signs a document
that Frau von Luer hands him,
not knowing that he just signed a contract to hand the castle back to her and the Baron.
Fennimore manages to heal the wounds between Severin and Olim. They both discover
that they've lost the castle and decide to drown themselves in the Silverlake.
When they reach the lake, Winter
turns into Spring
but the lake still remains a
sheet of ice. Guided by the voice of Fennimore they cross the lake.
Musical structure (musical intermezzos are in English/Bold)
¹ Accompanying music is a 'pizzicato' version of 'Der Bäkker...'.
- 'Gräbst du?'
- 'Wir tragen den Hunger zu Grabe'
- 'Der Bäcker backt am Morgenrot'
- 'Wir sind zwei Mädchen'
- Choral pursuing Olim to set Severin free
- Lied des Lotterieagenten (The Song of the Lottery Agent)
- Olim's visit at the Hospital¹
- 'Was soll ich essen in der Morgenfrühe?'
- Fennimore's 'banana dance' on the table²
- 'Ich bin eine arme Verwandte' (Fennimores Lied)
- 'Rom hiess eine Stadt' (Ballade von Cäsars Tod)
- 'Erst trifft dich die Kugel' (Rache-Aria)
- Intermezzo, Severin chasing Olim
- 'Auf jener Strasse'
- 'Wie Odysseus an den Mast des Schiffes'
- 'Es wächst uns in den Mund der Wein' (Schlaraffenland-Song)
- Finale/Choral, Olim and Severin at the Lake
- 'Alles was ist, ist beginnen'
² 'The banana dance' is a jazzy intermezzo (foxtrot-tempo) where Fennimore
dances on the table. Am not sure if this part was shown during the first per-