For the first time, Americans have a chance to see an opera by Kurt Weill which even in Germany has rarely been played. "Die Buergschaft," which had its world premiere in Berlin in 1932, was banned from the stage in Germany after Hitler took power. During the 1950s, it had a revival at the Kroll Opera in West Berlin, where critics tore it apart, and it was only a performance two years ago in Bielefeld that made a more promising impression. For a long time, "Die Buergschaft" was labeled as dry and moralizing. So much the more amazing is the environment of its American premiere which took place on May 30. It's no other than the popular Spoleto Festival USA which has taken on the unloved child of Kurt Weill. For 23 years, tens of thousands of tourists have flocked to the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina, to experience the Spoleto Festival USA. It was founded by composer and librettist Gian Carlo Menotti who also founded the Spoleto Festival of Italy in 1958. Six years ago, Menotti disassociated himself with Charleston, but both festivals still have their versatility in common. The Spoleto Festival USA offers a wide range of artistic events, from opera nights to chamber concerts, ballet performances, Japanese theater, and exhibitions of contemporary art. The festival started on the last weekend in May and it ends on June 13. Georg Hirsch has captured the highlights, including the American premiere of the Weill opera.
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