“Life in the big city is a multiple interweaving of surfaces,” wrote the German dramatist Maximilian Sladek. “For the big city dweller, the true mirror and abbreviated chronicle of the age has always been the revue, that colorful, whirring, easy going, incredibly mobile suggestive replica of existence, aswirl in a storm.” The big city, seven of them, is what Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht give us in their devastating ballet chanté (sung ballet), The Seven Deadly Sins—a Berlin revue in disguise. Composed in 1933, it’s the last word on a demoralized culture giving way. —L.J.
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