Friday, May 24, 2024

Adrienne Haan and the Diabolic Weimar Berlin Kabarett

Adrienne Haan, the famed chanteuse from Germany, had another sold-out appearance in the Triad Theatre on West 72nd Street; a small, but cozy space with old-world flair and a shiny dark-red decorated stage, reflecting the "decadent" Weimar Cabaret. 


Between Fire & Ice, A Diabolical Weimar Berlin Kabarett was the title of the program Haan performed with her pianist and long-time musical director, Richard Danley on the grand piano. Most of the songs  were in English, but partly also in their original German.

Adrienne took the audience on a wild ride through German history, from the devastation of World War I where millions of German men were killed or crippled, to the glory of the Golden Twenties and the Weimar Republic, one of the most creative periods of music.


Adrienne sang Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt by Friedrich Hollaender, made famous by Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel. She also performed Die Seeräuberjenny from Bert Brecht's and Kurt Weill's Three-Penny-Opera, and songs by Rudolf Nelson and Robert Gilbert, who wrote for the famed sextet Comedian Harmonists — torn apart by the Nazis — as well as the Cole Porter classic What Is This Thing Called Love.

The tall, blond, charismatic chanteuse, dressed in a long sparkly black pantsuit, high heels, and a black top hat, also shared her knowledge of Weimar history. The musical tradition included quite a few political tunes, about abortion, joblessness, poverty, Lesbian love and the early suffragette movement that brought the women vote to Germany.


The night ended with Lili Marleen, the famous song composed by Hans Leip. Leip was conscripted in the Kaiser's Army and left it as a pacifist, like so many young men of his generation, including Kurt Tucholsky, who also wrote some of the lyrics performed in the show.

Lili Marleen was first recorded in 1939 by Lale Anderson. It became the most well-known anti-war-melody of the 20th century, despite the fact that it originated in Germany just before World War II. At that time, that Nazis had put a stop on the Weimar Cabaret long ago already.

The show concluded the series Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice, organized by Carnegie Hall in the first half of 2024.

Adrienne will be performing more shows in June and July; namely Timeless Songs from the Silver Screen (June 19), and Cabaret Français (June 28), followed by Adrienne Haan sings Kurt Weill (July 2), and ONE WORLD – An exciting musical journey through the world (July 10)

Eva C. Schweitzer / Pictures: William Murray


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