The Eternal Road

February 28 – March 5, 2000

Alternate Title Der Weg der Verheissung
Premiere US Premiere
Production Language German
Country of Origin Germany, Israel, Poland
Description Along with thousands of his fellow Jews, Kurt Weill, the 20th century musical-theater genius behind such iconic works as Mack the Knife, September Song, and The Threepenny Opera, fled Germany when the Nazis seized power in the 1930s. With writer Franz Werfel and fellow exile in America, director Max Reinhart, Weill constructed his all-but-forgotten masterpiece The Eternal Road (Der Weg der Verheissung), an epic retelling of the Jews' flight from persecution as revealed in the Old Testament.

An eerie foreshadowing of world events to come, The Eternal Road (Der Weg der Verheissung) premiered at the Manhattan Opera House in 1937, one year before Kristallnacht, and preceding the onset of WWII, the Holocaust and the founding of the State of Israel. Despite overwhelming critical acclaim, the opera's profits failed to outweigh its enormous expenses and it was never again produced on stage. The millennial remounting of this long-dormant spectacle, the first in more than six decades, was inspired by the centennial of Weill's birth in March, 2000. A co-production by Germany's Chemnitz Opera, BAM, Poland's Opera Kraków, and The New Israeli Opera, it features a newly revised score and an international cast, chorus and orchestra of hundreds - a striking reminder of the cultural reparations that are gradually transforming enemies into partners.

Facing the threat of a pogrom with the next sunrise, the besieged community of The Eternal Road (Der Weg der Verheissung) gathers at their synagogue. As a rabbi calms them with tales from the Torah, the congregation transforms before us into myriad Biblical figures — Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, David, and Ruth, to name a principal few — to dramatize in four moving acts their hardships and triumphs which range from the exalted to the merely grand.
Identifier 2000s.00684