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A Storm in Louisville? Singer reunites with LO conductor to perform Seven Deadly Sins

Storm Large performs Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins with the Louisville Orchestra. (Photo from SL/Facebook)

Storm Large performs Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with the Louisville Orchestra. (Photo from SL/Facebook)

A Storm will pass through Louisville this evening and a friendly Teddy will help out. What?
Vocalist Storm Large of Pink Martini fame joins new conductor Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra tonight, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. in their season debut at Whitney Hall in the Kentucky Center for the Arts at 501 W. Main St.
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Large, equally at home on the symphonic and jazz club stage, has worked with Abrams before, in fact just this summer at the Britt Classical Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. The pair actually performed the same work in Oregon that they will bring tonight to Louisville – Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins.
Weill and Bertold Brecht collaborated for the final time on this story of two sisters, Anna I and Anna II, who become essentially two faces of the same person. Large sings and acts out both parts.
The story shows Anna leaving her childhood home in Louisiana to find her future in seven different cities in seven years. Each city represents a different deadly sin and Weill uses different musical styles to indicate them such as chorale, waltz, foxtrot, madrigal and aria. The varying musical styles also highlight Brecht’s biting satire on the multiple hypocrisies of the petty bourgeoisie.
Large has become so associated with the work that she is now supported in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation. She’s sung it with other symphony orchestras and in other venues such as Carnegie Hall.
The singer is also much more than a traveling vocalist. She acts and writes as well. Although in the creative world for years, she gained national prominence in 2006 on a CBS reality show called Rock Star: Supernova. In the ’90s Large sang mostly in jazz clubs in San Francisco before moving to Portland, Oregon.
In Portland she pursued a new passion – cooking – until a club cancellation pulled her back on stage to the microphone. Since 2002 she’s toured internationally as a singer. In 2011, she was a guest with Pink Martini in four sold-out concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. That began her still-current association with the well-known ensemble. She was in Kentucky this past spring with Pink Martini.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Kentucky. It’s so beautiful there and the fall is my favorite time,” Large told KyForward in a phone interview this month.
She’s traveled so much this year, including two trips to the Bluegrass, that she might as well consider Kentucky home. “The amount of time I spend in Louisville will equal the amount of time I spend in Portland this year,” Large says.
It will not equal the amount of time she’s spent with Abrams or Weill’s score, however.
“I love working with Teddy. He’s such a fantastic conductor,” she says, speaking of the pair’s collaboration in August in Oregon. “I saw him work an orchestra within an inch of their lives and they didn’t complain.”
Large praises Abrams’ attention to the “most minute details” and how he can be “really exacting and exhaustive” but do it “with a smile on his face.” She says Abrams has such “youthful fire, energy and passion” but with “not a lot of ego attached to it.” In other words, “he’s not jaded at all” despite the amount of experience and expertise he brings to the task.
Weill’s score is another source of fascination for Large. “I love that it’s a bit crazy,” she says. It was originally written for a singer and a dancer, but she acts and sings both parts. “I physicalize both parts,” and loves the chance to do so, although she says she’s a “better singer than actor.”
Audiences not able to make tonight’s performance will get to hear Large’s singing on her new album, Le Bonheur. It’s being released on Oct. 7 on Pink Martini’s label, Heinz Records.
Those attending tonight’s Louisville Orchestra seasonal debut will also hear Richard Rodgers’ Overture to Oklahoma!, George Gershwin’s New York Rhapsody and Aaron Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo. Tickets are $25-$75 and can be purchased by calling 502-584-7777 or visiting the LO website.
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