Lotte Lenya (1898-1981)
Ken Russell - Monitor: Lotte Lenya Sings Kurt Weill (1961)
Lenya sings songs by Kurt Weill her husband, the composer who worked with Bertolt Brecht- Mack the Knife, Pirate Jenny, Sarabaya Johnny and Alabama Song. Huw Wheldon introduces each song, then Lenya sings. Sometimes she is singing against a background of Nazi power, in others she is in a bedroom. Russell says "it was in the early 60s that I met the legendary Lenya herself and was able to talk her into appearing on the BBC Arts programme Monitor. I staged four numbers for her, including Surabaya Johnny and The Alabama Song of which I still have dazzling memories". Huw Wheldon says the film shows the first ever performances from Mahagonny in Great Britain. The film is on interest in capturing Lotte Lenya singing, but it is disappointing with little imagery or inventiveness. The editor is Allan Tyrer. 16 minutes.