Created with Sketch. Artboard Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.
Barry Humphries And Meow Meow Live Photo C Claudio Raschella

Cabaret in the Weimar Republic

Blog

Get to know the raucous, revolutionary music of the Weimar Republic ahead of Barry Humphries' concert at the International Festival this August.

In 1928, while the grand concert halls of Vienna took in the new atonal music of Schoenberg and Berg, Kurt Weill was presenting The Threepenny Opera at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin. This saucy, searingly anti-capitalist “play with music” written alongside collaborator Bertolt Brecht, came to embody the subversive creativity of the music of the Weimar Republic.   

Germany became a republic at the end of the First World War. An explosion of revolutionary art, culture and ideology ensued; the Weimar Republic, with Berlin at its heart, was full to bursting with new possibilities. Berlin “played host to Communists, Nazis, Social Democrats, nationalists, New Objectivists, Expressionists, Dadaists and straggling Romantics. Its spirit spoke in the meeting of opposites.”[I]

Somehow, before any major disaster in history, art takes on a new lustre. Suddenly it flares up.

Barry Humphries

Composers like Kurt Weill and Ernst Krenek shunned contemporary trends in Western composition, took influence from Jazz across the Atlantic and created a new kind of music; raucous, radical and fiercely political.

Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret, playing this August at the Edinburgh International Festival, presents a cross section of Weimar cabaret works, from the comic, to the heart wrenching, to the utterly ferocious. 

Cabaret artist Meow Meow, who will be performing in Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret feels a deep connection with the music of the Weimar Republic. In this music, she says, there is a ‘closeness of death and love, and [a] sense of mortality that’s in a lot of the work,…it’s so true to the way the brain and the heart function.’

Cabaret artist Meow Meow, who will be performing in Barry Humphries' Weimar Cabaret feels a deep connection with the music of the Weimar Republic. In this music, she says, there is a ‘closeness of death and love, and [a] sense of mortality that’s in a lot of the work,…it’s so true to the way the brain and the heart function.’

Unpolished, subversive and unapologetically satirical; at its heart Weimar cabaret music speaks of freedom of thought and expression. This is music that titillates, that shocks, that invites you to confront the unruliness of your human nature. 


Photo Credit:

Meow Meow © Mihaela Bodlovic
BArry Humphries & Meow Meow © Claudio Raschella

Other news

blog

Get ready for the programme reveal

It’s almost time to announce the 2019 International Festival programme so here are some handy tips to get you ready for the big reveal.

blog

Looking forward to the 2019 launch

The 2019 International Festival programme will be revealed on Wednesday 27 March, get ready for more memorable moments.

news

Orchestre de Paris set to visit 2019 Edinburgh International Festival

Announcement made as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits the Philharmonie de Paris with International Festival Director Fergus Linehan.

news

National Theatre of Scotland join the 2019 programme with work by Jackie Kay

Red Dust Road, an adaptation of poet Jackie Kay’s memoir, will be premiered at the 2019 International Festival.