Karyn Levitt & Eric Ostling to Perfrom Eric Bentley's Brecht-Eisler Song Book at Leonard Nimoy Thalia/Symphony Space, 2/3
Singer Karyn Levitt, with pianist Eric Ostling, will perform Eric Bentley's Brecht-Eisler Song Book, a unique evening that features the songs of Austrian composer Hanns Eisler (1898-1962), set to poetry by Bertolt Brecht and other noted writers, in English versions by Eric Bentley, Monday February 3 at 7:30 PM at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia/Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (entrance on 95th Street). Eric Bentley is the first translator into English of Brecht's plays and poems, introducing Brecht's work to American stages in the 1940's and 50's. Now 97 years old, Bentley has searched for years to find the artist who could unlock Hanns Eisler's starkly beautiful songs for American audiences. He has found her in soprano Karyn Levitt, with whom he has worked closely since 2011.
Hanns Eisler created a vast and varied repertory of works, and this concert presents a stunning sample of his versatility and genius. 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. The concert is as much a literary offering as a musical one, as Ms. Levitt reads the poems aloud before singing them.The 90-minute program had its premiere at the Goethe-Institut Boston in November 2012 and was the featured concert at Modfest 2013 at Vassar College. Ms. Levitt's 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.