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March 22, 2011

Theatre Project, American Opera Theater cancels 'Lost in the Stars'

An American Opera Theater production of Kurt Weill's musical "Lost in the Stars" scheduled to open April 22 at the Theatre Project and involving the Baltimore School for the Arts has been canceled.

Director Tim Nelson mentioned to me a while back that there were issues with the Weill Foundation over the performance rights, especially having to do with orchestration of the score.

In the end, the company could not secure the rights, according to a statement released by the Theatre Project, a statement that also offered "sincere thanks to the wonderful faculty and students at the Baltimore School for the Arts who supported this project and gave so generously of their time and talent."

The on-again, off-again Weill production would have been the last enterprise by the adventurous American Opera Theater, which announced earlier that this would be its final season.

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:42 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Clef Notes, Opera


Two thoughts:
1. Wouldn't one expect that securing rights would have been done BEFORE this project was undertaken, certainly before it was announced?
2. This piece is rarely heard and this was a chance to have it performed in a major U.S. city. What's wrong with the Weill Foundation? Doesn't it exist to further Kurt Weill's music?

Good questions. TS

I'm surprised that AOT and the Weill Foundation didn't have affairs settled after AOT's experience with their last Weill production. That said, the Foundation is doing more harm than good to Kurt Weill's legacy by restricting live performance of his music to this degree. What exactly is the Weill Foundation protecting?

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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