Seven directors each dramatize one of the seven deadly sins in a short film. In "Anger," a domestic argument over a fly in the Sunday soup escalates into nuclear war. In "Sloth," a movie ... See full summary »
A French/Italian co-production with two episodes from Italy and five from France covering the seven deadly sins---actually eight as two of the sins are covered in one episode while a new "... See full summary »
Strong enough to stand on its own (without Peter Sellars.)
Peter Sellars, the opera director (and not the comic actor Peter Sellers), is the bane of modern opera direction. in my opinion. He is one of the leading exponents of a kind of (supposed) cleverness which can't leave any opera, including Don Giovanni, alone.
All the more fortunate in that here he has a fine cast, especially Teresa Stratas who is undoubtedly the Weill soprano of her generation. This quite short work was written in 1933 after Weill fled to Paris to escape the Gestapo. The part of Anna I, of course, was originally written for Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya and Anna II was danced by Tilly Losch in the original production (Balanchine did the choreography.). There is very little dancing in this version but is mostly acted by Nora Kimball, even though "The Seven Deadly Sins" ("Die Sieben Todsünden") is described as a ballet with song.
There is also much extraneous video footage of cars on the road and the Watts riots (?) all of which seem to have little point except to represent Los Angeles in the latter case.
Each Biblical "Deadly Sin" (Sloth, Pride, Anger etc.) takes place in a different American city with Anna I always reining in her alter ego Anna II from each excess. There is a sort of "Greek chorus" consisting of her family (a male chorus with her "mother" a drag part here as in the original.) who are a hypocritically religious bunch (sounds familiar?) praying that Anna be delivered from her sins (and send them money). In fact, as Anna scales the heights of fame and fortune, she has herself indulged in a quite different set of "sins".
Brecht's satirical left-wing libretto is well-written and Weill's music (sung in German but subtitles are provided) is very strong; the opening segment is reminiscent of Mahler. The singing is good and the acting is even better. But a less indulgent production would have made it a far greater experience.
7 out of 10, brought down by the production.
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