Les Mamelles de Tirésias & The Seven Deadly Sins
Transformations of Desire: A Captivating Opera Double Bill
The Curtis Opera Theatre’s exciting season continues with a double bill featuring Francis Poulenc’s outrageously funny farce, Les Mamelles de Tirésias, alongside Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s darkly satirical “ballet chanté,” The Seven Deadly Sins, at the Philadelphia Film Center.
Gender norms explode on the French Riviera in Les Mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias), Poulenc’s surreal opéra bouffe. Thérèse, a bored housewife, grows weary of her daily routine and suddenly becomes the male General Tirésias when her breasts turn into balloons and float away. As they lead a new life fighting distant wars on foreign battlefields, their stay-at-home husband discovers a way to make babies on his own—but not just one: 40,049 of them. This clever comedy features a delightfully fizzy cocktail of opera, cabaret, and jazz, with a tale as consciously arty, feminist, and political as it is insightfully witty.
Les Mamelles de Tirésias is sung in French with English supertitles.
Francis Poulenc, music and libretto
A biting critique of industrial capitalism, Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins follows the perils of a woman sent away by her exploitative family to earn enough money to buy a house on the Mississippi River. In this sung ballet of split personalities, a singer (Anna I) and a dancer (Anna II) face down the seven deadly sins, each testing her wavering moral compass at every turn. This sardonic tale of sacrifice draws on the classic pop song and dance numbers of the 1920s and ’30s, blended with that quintessential Weill sound and a timeless commentary on values, virtues, and the “almighty dollar.”
The Seven Deadly Sins is sung in German with English supertitles.
Kurt Weill, music
Bertolt Brecht, libretto