ROH’s live-streamed double bill – The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel

Booking is now open for the Royal Opera House’s first live broadcast of 2021 – Bertolt Brecht’s and Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel. Produced by the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, the double bill will be streamed live from the Main Stage in Covent Garden on 9 April at 7.30pm GMT. 

British Director and Jette Parker Young Artist Isabelle Kettle reimagines Weill and Brecht’s darkly satirical operas, following her directorial debut at ROH with Susanna which premiered in The Linbury Theatre in March 2020. 

Michael Papadopoulos will conduct the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, and the creative team includes choreographer and movement director and founder of House of Absolute Julia Cheng, designer Lizzie Clachan, lighting designer James Farncombe and Dramaturg Uzma Hameed. 

The Seven Deadly Sins – Weill’s ballet chanté – is a work in seven scenes, following two aspects of one central character, Anna, as she embarks on a journey to fame, encountering a succession of obstacles which force her to confront the double standards of modern society. The split role of Anna is performed by mezzo-soprano Stephanie Wake-Edwards and dance artist Jonadette Carpio.  

Tenors Filipe Manu, Egor Zhuravskii, baritone Dominic Sedgwick, and bass Blaise Malaba take on the roles of the exploitative family and are joined by dancer Thomasin Gülgeç.  

Mezzo-soprano Kseniia Nikolaieva joins the cast in the role of Bessie in Mahagonny Songspiel. An exciting take on Brecht and Weill’s first collaboration, the audience will be treated to sensuous and astringent music that meets a wry and hard-edged comment on the pursuit of pleasure. 

This production has been created with streaming in mind, building the filmed element of the piece into the viewing experience, whilst drawing on choreographer and movement director Julia Cheng’s background in hip-hop, contemporary dance and physical theatre. 

Isabelle Kettle notes: “Brecht and Weill’s radical collaborations are such rich material through which to explore the crises of contemporary culture that have been exposed in recent years, and in bringing together this team of extraordinary artists, I hope to honour their spirit of innovation and critique.”  

Julia Cheng adds: “We have worked collaboratively to find the authentic qualities of each artist to physicalise the storytelling of the libretto and operatic score. The movement is really integral to this work as it externalises the visceral complexities of each character and the warped worlds in which they exist.” 

ABOVE: Seven Deadly Sins rehearsal photography (c) Danielle Patrick