Music of Remembrance to make San Francisco Debut with new opera by composer Tom Cipullo

Vibrant program also features California premiere of Jake Heggie’s Farewell, Auschwitz, and Holocaust- era works by Robert Dauber and David Beigelman

Seattle, WA (April 9, 2015)—Music of Remembrance (MOR) makes its San Francisco debut on Monday, May 18, 2015 at Temple Emanu-El’s Music at Meyer concert series. The program features the California premieres of two major works that MOR has commissioned. After Life (2015) is a bold new opera by Tom Cipullo (whose Glory Denied was recently named by Opera News as one of the top ten opera CDs of 2014), with libretto by David Mason.  The musical drama reunites Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein in a posthumous encounter where they meet again to argue about art and life in an impassioned debate over the artist’s responsibilities in times of war. Jake Heggie’s Farewell, Auschwitz (2013) is an inspiring tribute to the incredible true story of Krystyna Zywulska.  Zywulska escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto and joined the Polish resistance only to be captured and sent as a political prisoner to Auschwitz, where she created poems that circulated secretly among her fellow inmates and became anthems of defiance. In Farewell, Auschwitz, Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer have adapted seven of Zywulska’s actual verses, capturing their rich juxtaposition of compassion, mockery and defiance.

The two works boast an all-star cast. Baritone Robert Orth, who sings the role of Picasso in After Life, has been acclaimed for his vocal and dramatic mastery in performances at leading opera houses around the world.  A daring artist, he has received the New York City Opera Christopher Keene Award for new and unusual repertoire.  Brilliant mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook (San Francisco Opera) soars in the role of Stein, joined by soprano Ava Pine (Fort Worth Opera), heralded by Fort Worth Weekly as “a vision of energy, enthusiasm and skill.” The same vocal trio appears in Farewell, Auschwitz. MOR’s stellar instrumental ensemble is drawn primarily from the ranks of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and will be led by its associate conductor Stilian Kirov. The production will be directed by Erich Parce. 

The audience will also be treated to the beguiling Serenata for Violin & Piano (1942) that the young Robert Dauber composed while imprisoned in the Terezín concentration camp, and David Beigelman’s mesmerizing Dybbuk Dances (1941), originally performed in the Lodz ghetto where Beigelman was forced by the Nazis.

Founded in 1998 by Mina Miller, Music of Remembrance (MOR) is a Seattle-based musical organization dedicated to remembering the Holocaust through music. In addition to performing works by Holocaust-era composers, MOR has commissioned and premiered over twenty Holocaust-inspired works by some of today’s leading composers, telling freshly-discovered stories that the world needs to hear. This concert represents MOR’s debut San Francisco performance.


San Francisco Concert Ticket Information

Tickets: $25 general/ $22 senior and student
Phone Orders: 1-800-838-3006
Online Orders:

Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake St, San Francisco, CA 94118

7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 18, 2015


Robert Dauber

Serenata for Violin & Piano (1942)

Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Mina Miller, piano


David Beigelman

Dybbuk Dances (1941)

Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Jonathan Green, double bass


Jake Heggie

Farewell, Auschwitz (2013) – California Premiere

Poetry written by Krystyna Zywulska in Auschwitz, English adaptation by Gene Scheer

Commissioned by Music of Remembrance

Ava Pine, soprano; Catherine Cook, mezzo soprano; Robert Orth, baritone;

Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass; Craig Sheppard, piano


Tom Cipullo

After Life (2015) – California Premiere

Libretto by David Mason

Commissioned by Music of Remembrance

Catherine Cook, mezzo soprano; Robert Orth, baritone; Ava Pine, soprano;

Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Craig Sheppard, piano

Stilian Kirov, conductor; Erich Parce, director


About Music of Remembrance

Founded in 1998, Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique cultural role in Seattle and throughout the world by remembering the Holocaust through music with concert performances, educational programs, recordings and commissions of new works.

  • Mainstage concerts and innovative programs at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall featuring leading musicians and world-acclaimed guest artists
  • “Sparks of Glory,” a series of free concerts-with-commentary at the Seattle Art Museum and other community settings
  • Educational outreach, live performances and multi-media presentations to schools and colleges
  • Six CD recordings produced for Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label
  • The Boys of Terezin, MOR’s 2011 documentary film, continues to be screened by film festivals around the globe

MOR also commissions and premieres new Holocaust-inspired works by today’s leading composers, building bridges across generations and sharing stories that underline the Holocaust’s urgent moral relevance for us now.

Publication Date