Jake Heggie's “Farewell, Auschwitz!” To Have World Premiere At Seattle's Benaroya Hall This May
MOR’s New Commission Will Feature Young Opera Stars Caitlin Lynch, Sarah Larsen & Morgan Smith
Seattle, WA (February 1, 2013)—Music of Remembrance (MOR) will conclude its fifteenth season on May 14 at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall with a program featuring the world premiere of Farewell, Auschwitz! by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. The concert also includes the world premiere of a song cycle version of Heggie/Scheer’s For a Look or a Touch.
For Farewell, Auschwitz!, their third MOR commission, Heggie and Scheer return to the incredible-but-true life of Polish Resistance member and poet Krystyna Zywulska. In last season’s Another Sunrise, they explored the agonizing moral dilemmas that Krystyna Zywulska was forced to confront in her struggle to remain alive. Now, using Zywulska’s own words, they will remind all of us that numbers and statistics—and categories like “survivor” and “victim”—cannot begin to capture human experience.
Farewell, Auschwitz! puts music to actual poems Zywulska wrote in Auschwitz, and offers a kaleidoscopic view of existence in Auschwitz through the eyes of someone whose survival depended on making unimaginable choices. Zywulska concealed her Jewish identity, but was arrested as a political prisoner. She intended her poems to be kept secret, but they circulated around the camp and are said to have boosted the morale of many of its prisoners. Soprano Caitlin Lynch, who makes her Metropolitan Opera debut in March in Francesca da Rimini, will join mezzo soprano Sarah Larsen (a Seattle Opera Young Artist) and baritone Morgan Smith (recently acclaimed for his portrayal of Starbuck in San Francisco Opera’s production of Heggie’s Moby-Dick).
Also new from Heggie and Scheer is a song cycle version of their path-breaking 2007 musical drama For a Look or a Touch, also featuring baritone Morgan Smith. Because homosexuality remained illegal in Germany long after World War II, the Nazi persecution of gay people was rarely talked about for decades. For a Look or a Touch tells a story based on the passionately eloquent diary of Manfred Lewin, a gay Jew murdered at Auschwitz with his family.
On the program as well is a suite from Kurt Weill’s Three Penny Opera—with many highlights from the opera, including the Cannon Song and Polly’s Song— and a string trio by László Weiner. A Hungarian composer and a student of Kodály, Weiner was expected to achieve great things in music—but his life ended at age 28 in a concentration camp.
Prior to the 7:30 p.m. concert, Heggie and Scheer will appear at a Meet the Composer & Librettist discussion, which will begin at 6:45 p.m.
Spring Concert Ticket Information
Phone Orders: (206) 365-7770
Online Orders: www.musicofremembrance.org
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall, Seattle
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 14, 2013
6:45 p.m., Meet the Composer & Librettist: Jake Heggie & Gene Scheer
Suite from The Three Penny Opera (1929)
Leonid Keylin, violin; Mina Miller, piano
For a Look or a Touch (2007/2013) World Premiere of Song Cycle Version (MOR Commission)
Morgan Smith, baritone
Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Craig Sheppard, piano
String Trio – Serenade (1938)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello
Farewell, Auschwitz! (2013) World Premiere of MOR Commission
Caitlin Lynch, soprano; Sarah Larsen, mezzo-soprano; Morgan Smith, baritone
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass; Craig Sheppard, piano
About Music of Remembrance
Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique cultural role in Seattle and throughout the United States by remembering Holocaust musicians and their art through musical performances, educational programs, musical recordings and commissions of new works. Since its 1998-99 inaugural year, MOR has presented two major concerts annually at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) each fall and Holocaust Remembrance Day each spring. Since 2005-06, MOR’s Sparks of Glory outreach series has combined free public concerts with commentary by Artistic Director Mina Miller, reaching beyond the concert hall through performance residencies around Seattle. MOR has also produced six CDs—five on Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label—and two documentaries, both by award-winning filmmaker John Sharify. For more information: www.musicofremembrance.org.