By: Paulanne Simmons
Tehorah means “pure” in Hebrew. It is the title of the show international chanteuse Adrienne Haan brought to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall Oct. 29 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli diplomatic relations. The event also marked the 125th anniversary of Carnegie Hall and Haan’s Carnegie Hall debut.
Tall, slim and blond, with a powerful, emotive voice, Haan inevitably reminds one of other German performers who have graced American stages, most notably the immortal Dietrich or Haan’s somewhat older contemporary, Ute Lemper.
The concert featured music of 1920s Weimar Berlin, Yiddish klezmer and contemporary Hebrew songs, arranged by German music director and pianist Heinz Walter Florin for Haan, piano and string quartet (Israeli violinists Netanel Draiblate and Perry Tal, violist Shmuel Katz and cellist Yoni Draiblate).
The program began with songs from the golden age of Berlin cabaret, songs that mocked traditional views on politics, gender and morality, such as Mischa Spoliansky’s “It’s All a Swindle” and “The L
avender Song.” But there were also quiet love songs, including the Marlene Dietrich favorite, “Falling in Love Again.” And of course what would a show featuring German cabaret be without the iconic World War II song, “Lili Marlene?”
It was obvious that Haan has a special passion for these songs and the era from which they emerged. Although the program contained the English translations, one could easily hear the mockery in some numbers, the longing in others.
The Yiddish and Hebrew songs have considerably less international recognition, but Haan seemed equally adept in those languages. Her rendition of “Jerusalem of Gold” was particularly moving.
Haan ended the concert with an appeal for peace and understanding among all nations, something we surely need more of in our troubled world.