Long before there were crossover artists, Kurt Weill was traversing musical styles from cabaret to concert hall to Broadway. Symphony Silicon Valley's latest program delves into the great German composer's music, and the results are sufficiently rich and varied to have come from several musical lifetimes.

Titled "Kurt Weill: Berlin, Paris, New York," Saturday's performance -- the first of two at San Jose's California Theatre -- followed the arc of Weill's career, from his influential collaborations with playwright Bertolt Brecht to his work in America as a composer of Broadway musicals and film scores. Conducted with verve and considerable insight by Weill scholar James Holmes, and featuring the invaluable soprano Lisa Vroman as one of five vocal soloists, the performance was a splendid reflection of a composer who consistently charted his own path.

The evening's centerpiece was a concert performance of "The Seven Deadly Sins," Weill's "ballet with song," premiered in Paris in 1933. Adroitly scored and pointedly sardonic, the piece employs the cardinal sins -- greed, lust, and so forth -- as symbols of 20th century exploitation and decline. The central characters are a pair of naive sisters, both named Anna, who leave their small town in Louisiana with the intention of striking it rich as nightclub performers in the big city -- one a singer, the other a dancer.

Vroman, assuming the role of Anna the vocalist, was the ideal soloist. (The second Anna, originally played by a dancer, was represented here by a seamstress's dress form.) The soprano, who made her mark on Broadway as Christine in "The Phantom of the Opera," has since commanded a wide variety of repertoire. Saturday, singing in German (with English supertitles) and looking svelte in a black halter dress, she proved a sublime Weill interpreter, handling Anna's music with effortless projection, articulate phasing and an air of steely, world-weary allure.

The other vocal roles -- a quartet representing Anna's family, who make wry comments on her progress at key intervals -- were sung with robust energy and tonal assurance by tenors Joseph Meyers and Mark Hernandez, baritone Jordan Shanahan, and bass Kirk Eichelberger.

The singers also excelled in the second half's set of songs composed by Weill in New York. Holmes introduced these with the Overture to the Weill musical "One Touch of Venus," noting just how far the composer had come in his move to America. In this swinging, jazzy music, and in other Weill songs from 1938-48 -- during which the composer collaborated with lyricists from Ira Gershwin to Ogden Nash -- one could hear the ways that Weill paved the way for 20th century works by Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb and others.

Vroman, buoyed by Holmes' expansive conducting, sparkled in this repertoire, from the witty wordplay of "Mr. Right" to the subdued sonorities of "Speak Low." Best of all was her haunting performance of "It Never Was You," with Holmes serving as pianist. Meyers, Hernandez, Shanahan and Eichelberger mined the comic possibilities of "The Trouble With Women," and all five singers returned for "The Saga of Jenny."

The program began with Holmes conducting Weill's own suite from "The Threepenny Opera." Hearing this well-known score's mordant melodies and sharply defined rhythms shorn of strings and arranged for a small complement of piano, woodwinds, brass, percussion, guitar, banjo and accordion, it was easy to imagine hearing them in a smoky Berlin cabaret.

The encore was also drawn from "The Threepenny Opera"; a beguiling arrangement of "Mack the Knife," sung by Vroman in English, then French and finally in German -- sort of a Weill retrospective in reverse, performed with the same flair that characterized the entire program. The symphony's planners must have been pleased, since "Kurt Weill" drew one of the largest crowds I've seen at this theater recently. Perhaps Weill is ready to cross over once again.

Symphony Silicon Valley

James Holmes, conductor; Lisa Vroman, soprano; Joseph Meyers, tenor; Mark Hernandez, tenor; Jordan Shanahan, baritone; Kirk Eichelberger, bass
When: 2:30 p.m. Jan. 13
Where: California Theatre, 345 S. First St., San Jose
Tickets: $39-$79, 408-286-2600, ext. 23; www.symphonysiliconvalley.org