On May 19, 2019 in Seattle, and four days later in San Francisco, Music of Remembrance (MOR) will present the premiere of The Parting, a new opera it has commissioned from Tom Cipullo with a libretto by poet David Mason. MOR will unveil this stunning new work as part of its program on Sunday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Tickets are $55 and available online at www.benaroyahall.org. They will bring the same program to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60-$75 and available online at www.musicofremembrance.org.
The Parting is an intimate one-act opera with three vocal roles: poet Miklós Radnóti (baritone Michael Mayes); his wife Fanny (soprano Laura Strickling); and a phantom-like presence who hovers between the shadows and the world of the living (mezzo soprano Catherine Cook). The opera is set in the Radnótis' Budapest apartment on an evening two weeks after the poet's 35th birthday, and on the eve of his departure for forced labor from which they both knew he might not return alive. They wrestle with what it takes to be an artist during cruel times while at the same time yearning for ordinary human happiness. Erich Parce will direct The Parting, and Alastair Willis will conduct the production.
This is the second opera that MOR has commissioned from Cipullo and Mason. Their 2015 After Life, imagining a dramatic confrontation between the ghosts of Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso, received the National Opera Association's prestigious Domenick Argento Chamber Opera Award. Cipullo's earlier operas include the widely-acclaimed Glory Denied.
The programs in Seattle and San Francisco also include chamber works by three Hungarian composers - Laszlo Weiner, Sandor Vandor and Sandor Kuti - who, like Radnóti, perished at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. MOR's stellar instrumental ensemble is drawn from Seattle Symphony artists.
About Music of Remembrance: Since its founding in 1998, MOR has remembered the Holocaust through music, bringing over 200 works to the stage. In addition to rescuing many historic works from undeserved obscurity, it has commissioned over 30 new works that remember the Holocaust and honor those who stood up in the face of injustice and persecution. MOR's programming honors the resilience of all people excluded or persecuted for their faith, nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.
"When we search for meaning in the unspeakable tragedy that was the Holocaust," said founder and artistic director Mina Miller, "we're looking not just back in history, but also at the lessons that are important in making a better world for today and the future. We're constantly seeking new ways of giving voice - through music - to those who speak out against persecution and exclusion of people in today's world."