Work of the week – The 7 deadly sins

By Konzerthaus Berlin Jan. 29, 2024


Joana Mallwitz © Simon Pauly

Together, the successful Brecht-Weill team created the global hit "The Threepenny Opera" and the opera "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny". However, "The Seven Deadly Sins", which premiered in Paris in June 1933, was to be their last collaboration - due to political and artistic differences between the two artists. Weill actually preferred a libretto by Jean Cocteau, but the Frenchman was too busy. So Brecht set to work again. His general instruction to the audience a few years earlier had been "Don't stare so romantically!", Thanks to his texts, there is no danger of this in this biting satire.

And Weills music? It plays, for example, with catchy American popular music from the 1920s. But behind the irony of the piece "there is always a secret melancholy lurking, and the music shimmers in a thousand colours. The melodies ... maintain a precise balance between catchiness and extravagance, between the style of the Threepenny Opera and modern art song," describes our programme booklet author Albert Breier Weill's part in this piece.

And that's the story: Anna 1 sings, Anna 2 dances - two sisters who are actually one person and are portrayed in our production by a singer and a dancer, travel through seven American cities, driven by their grotesque family, to earn money to build the family home.

The Annas put themselves to the market, are both saleswoman and commodity. In doing so, they succumb to the "seven deadly sins": Laziness (acedia), pride (superbia), anger (ira), gluttony (gula), fornication (luxuria), greed (avaritia) and envy (invidia) have been considered particularly bad transgressions since the Middle Ages. Brecht and Weill ironically turn them into virtues that alone promise social advancement and prosperity in capitalism.

Whether completely disillusioned, purified or simply indifferent to the impositions of the world, the Annas finally set off to join their family in the home they built with their help: "Now we return to our little house - on the Mississippi River in Louisiana. - Right, Anna? Yes, Anna." Of course, it is highly doubtful that happiness is waiting there.

More about Kurt Weill and his beginnings in Berlin


For this event, you will not receive tickets through our webshop. You will therefore be redirected to an external page of the organizer. If you have any not completed bookings on, they will be dissolved after 20 minutes.