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U.S. Premiere of Weill’s Magical Night (Zaubernacht) at the Ravinia Festival

Jul. 03, 2012

U.S. Premiere of Weill’s <em>Magical Night</em> (Zaubernacht) at the Ravinia Festival

James Conlon conducts Weill’s Magical Night (Zaubernacht) on July 19 at the Ravinia Festival, in the US premiere of the work’s critical edition. Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be joined by soprano Janai Brugger, and Chicago mime artists T. Daniel and Laurie Willets will provide the staging.

Based on a scenario by Wladimir Boritsch involving toys coming to life for a night, Weill composed his children’s pantomime in 1922 while a member of Ferruccio Busoni’s master class. Zaubernacht premiered in Berlin in November 1922, followed by a New York production in 1925, but the orchestration subsequently disappeared. For many years, the only source for the music was Weill’s condensed score for piano with instrumental indications. In a surprise discovery in 2006, a complete set of orchestral parts was found at Yale University, and the score was reconstructed for the Kurt Weill Edition. The Royal Opera House in London presented the UK premiere of Magical Night in a successful month-long run last December.

The original scenario remains lost, and directors and choreographers are encouraged to create their own scenarios that are appropriate to the music.

“A score which, in its dissonant and haunting melodies, provides a great alternative to the sugary treats of Tchaikovsky…. A new, slicker Nutcracker for a Toy Story generation.” – Exeunt, 2011

“Vastly entertaining…. I enjoyed most of all Weill’s music, its joyous, infectious melodies and sprightly bounces. It is marvelously orchestrated, transparent, even lucid, and certainly eminently danceable with its jaunty rhythms.” – Horst Koegler, Tantznetz, 2010

Learn more on the life and work of Kurt Weill at

Performance details can be found at

Kurt Weill
Zaubernacht (1922)
Kurt Weill Edition (Series I, Volume 0) edited by Elmar Juchem and Andrew Kuster
children's pantomime for solo soprano and chamber orchestra