Eric Bentley to Bring BRECHT-EISLER SONG BOOK to Symphony Space, Feb 3
Brecht-Eisler Song Book, Eric Bentley, Symphony Space
Eric Bentley -- playwright, poet, drama critic, teacher, cabaret performer, and foremost authority on and translator of the works of Bertolt Brecht -- has been working with Soprano Karyn Levitt on his current creative venture: "Eric Bentley's Brecht-Eisler Song Book", which is set for Symphony Space on February 3, 2014. Karyn Levitt first met Eric Bentley in September of 2011, just before his 95th birthday.
This program had its premiere at the Goethe-Institut Boston in November 2012 and was the featured concert at Modfest 2013 at Vassar College. Modfest is Vassar College's exploration of the arts in the 20th and 21st centuries. The concert provided Artistic Director Dee Wilson with the central theme for this year's festival -- that of censorship and the arts. Dee Wilson built several presentations around our show, including readings from the HUAC hearings and a presentation on McCarthyism.
About the Show: Composer Hanns Eisler created a vast and varied repertory of works and this concert presents a stunning sample of his versatility and genius. Eric Bentley adapted the song texts (which are poems by Brecht and other master poets from Goethe to Karl Kraus) from their original German into English, unlocking Eisler's starkly beautiful songs for American audiences. The concert is as much a literary offering as a musical one, as Karyn Levitt reads the poems aloud before singing them. The program is 90 minutes in length.
Arts Grant Winner Royal Road Productions was recently awarded an arts grant from Nokia Corporation to present "Eric Bentley's Brecht-Eisler Song Book" at nationwide venues this season. This generous funding now affords Karyn Levitt and Eric Ostling the opportunity to perform this landmark program around the country.