Hell’s Fury: The Hollywood Songbook
follows the arc of the life of Hanns Eisler, a gifted composer who became an "unperson" in the United States after he was forced to leave in 1948 as "an undesirable alien”.
In a society that understands and loves such a songbook, life will be lived well and without danger. These pieces have been written with such a society in mind.
Exiled from Germany after the Nazi party banned his music in 1933, Eisler settled in Hollywood. He composed some of the most significant film music of the decade, including the score for Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die,
for which he received one of two Academy Award nominations. That screenplay was partly written by Eisler’s longtime friend, collaborator and fellow-exile Bertolt Brecht, whose poetry cycle, Hollywood Elegies
, forms the basis of The Hollywood Songbook
. These songs of exile convey the complex relationship both artists felt for Hollywood, described by Brecht as “paradise and hell in the same city”. The song cycle expresses a deep longing for their homeland and distress for what befell it.
Hanns Eisler was closely associated with the political theatre of Brecht and other radical writers, and experimented early on with the new technologies of radio, film and recording. At the same time, he wrote extraordinary chamber music and was arguably one of the 20th century’s best composers of German concert lieder.
Tim Albery, one of the world’s most respected opera directors, returns to Luminato, having previously directed Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna
and R. Murray Schafer’s The Children’s Crusade
. This new opera will premiere at Luminato in 2019, showcasing the artistry of renowned baritone Russell Braun and Juno Award-winning pianist Serouj Kradijian.
Together with Soundstreams, Luminato is proud to be collaborating on Hell’s Fury: Hollywood Songbook
which can be experienced as a work-in-progress as part of the 2018 festival.