Jake Heggie's Farewell, Auschwitz Featured In MOR's Free Sparks of Glory Outreach Concert

Repeat Performances in Ellensburg, Mercer Island and Bainbridge Island

Seattle, WA (March 28, 2014)— Music of Remembrance (MOR) will conclude this season’s free Sparks of Glory outreach programs with four performances of Farewell, Auschwitz by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, their third MOR commission.

In Farewell, Auschwitz, Heggie and Scheer return to the incredible-but-true life of Polish Resistance member and poet Krystyna Zywulska. In Another Sunrise, their second commission for MOR, 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 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 member of the Polish resistance. 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. Mezzo- soprano Julia Benzinger, who recently returned to Seattle from a residency at Deutsches Opera Berlin, makes her MOR debut in these programs. She will be joined by soprano Megan Chenovick and baritone Erich Parce.

The program also includes chamber music by David Beigelman and Gideon Klein. Both composers were imprisoned in ghettos and murdered in concentration camps. Klein’s striking Duo for violin and cello was begun before his deportation to Terezín in November 1941, and was left incomplete. David Beigelman’s stirring Dybbuk Dances, was composed in the Lodz Ghetto in 1941. Also on the program are selections from American composer Lori Laitman’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly, based on the verses of young prisoners in Terezín.

MOR presents this program as part of its Sparks of Glory series of concerts with commentary. The series is made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Thanks to our donors and the NEA, this musical witness outreach series has been presented free to the public since the 2005-06 season, allowing MOR to meet new audiences beyond the concert hall. MOR has also offered an associated in-school educational program that brings chamber musicians in live performance and multimedia presentations to participating high schools, colleges and other community settings.

Concert Information

Farewell, Auschwitz
2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 19, 2014
Seattle Art Museum
Free Admission | www.musicofremembrance.org

Lori Laitman: I Never Saw Another Butterfly (1995-96)
Megan Chenovick, soprano; Laura DeLuca, clarinet

Gideon Klein: Duo (1941)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Benjamin Shmidt, cello

David Beigelman: Dybbuk Dances (Lodz ghetto, 1941)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Laura DeLuca, clarinet

Jake Heggie: Farewell, Auschwitz (2013) MOR Commission
Megan Chenovick, soprano; Julia Benzinger, mezzo-soprano; Erich Parce, baritone
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass; Craig Sheppard, piano

The Seattle Art Museum concert will be repeated on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. (Central Washington University, Ellensburg); Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. (Mercer Island Congregation Church), and Friday, April 25, 2014 at 7 p.m. (Grace Church, Bainbridge Island).

About Music of Remembrance
Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique cultural role in Seattle and throughout the world 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.  MOR has reached audiences across the community with its Sparks of Glory outreach series, and around the world through its six CDs (five on Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label) and its two documentary films produced by award-winning filmmaker John Sharify. More information is available at www.musicofremembrance.org.

Publication Date