Music Of Remembrance’s 15th Season Includes Seattle Symphony Salute

SSO Musicians and Ludovic Morlot to Open November Concerts

“Farewell, Auschwitz!” from Composer Jake Heggie & Librettist Gene Scheer in May 2013

SEATTLE, WA—August 22, 2012
Ludovic Morlot will lead a chamber orchestra comprised of thirteen Symphony musicians in MOR’s fall production of Viktor Ullmann’s opera The Emperor of Atlantis.

The Seattle-based chamber music group, which focuses on music written about and during the Holocaust, has one previous opera to its credit, Hans Krása’s Brundibár. It was presented in two sold-out shows in 2006, and a subsequent recording went on to be named one of the top opera CDs of 2007 by Opera News. To meet audience demand, there will be two performances of The Emperor of Atlantis—November 16 and 18, 2012—in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.

MOR’s spring concert, on May 14, 2013, also at Benaroya Hall, will bring the world premiere of MOR’s third Jake Heggie commission, a sequel to last season’s Another Sunrise. The new work, Farewell, Auschwitz!, returns to the story of Polish Resistance member and Auschwitz memoirist Krystyna Zywulska, this time centering on the poems she wrote while in Auschwitz.

“Our fifteenth season is such an important milestone for us as a small but thriving organization,” MOR Artistic Director Mina Miller said. “With both Ludovic Morlot and Jake Heggie joining us to help illuminate the Holocaust’s many dimensions through music, I know this season will leave Seattle buzzing.”

The Emperor of Atlantis brings together an ensemble of leading Seattle Symphony players and a stellar cast of vocalists. Baritone Victor Benedetti has sung leading roles in major houses that include Chicago Lyric Opera, the New York City Opera, Washington National Opera and Glimmerglass Opera. Benedetti is joined by tenor Ross Hauck, sopranos Megan Chenovick and Kimberly Giordano, tenor Marcus Shelton, bass baritone Jonathan Silvia and baritone Erich Parce.

Parce, who staged MOR’s Brundibár in 2006, also directs this production of Ullmann’s opera. Composed in the Terezín concentration camp in 1943, its final rehearsals were halted by camp authorities once they saw it was a mocking allegory of Hitler and his war machine. The Emperor’s declaration of universal war—everyone must fight until everyone dies—so offends Death that he goes on strike. London’s The Independent calls the 50-minute chamber opera “a brittle, sophisticated cabaret, a nostalgic romance, a Chaplinesque satire…, a declaration of defiance.”

For the fall concerts, MOR also explores the lives and music of two émigré composers who left Europe in the 1930s to escape the Nazi threat. Swiss-born Ernest Bloch settled in the United States, and Latvian-born Marc Lavry emigrated to Palestine. Both were deeply influenced by their roots in Jewish musical traditions. Bloch wanted to give voice to the “complex, glowing, agitated soul” he saw in the Bible. Lavry, a prolific composer and conductor, went on to become one of the most important figures in Israel’s musical life, and had a central influence on the development of distinctively Israeli musical styles. He also wrote Lebanon’s first anthem, based on a melody by Lebanese composer Wadia Sabra.

May 2013 brings the world premiere of Farewell, Auschwitz!, MOR’s third commission from the creative team of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, whose opera Moby-Dick is now receiving acclaim in performances around the world. Through a musical setting of the poetry of Polish resistance member Krystyna Zywulska, this dramatic work offers a kaleidoscopic view of existence in Auschwitz. Passed around in Auschwitz by word of mouth, Zywulska’s poems became anthems among camp inmates. Soprano Caitlin Lynch, who created the role of Krystyna in Another Sunrise, is joined by mezzo soprano Sarah Larsen (Suzuki in Seattle Opera’s 2012 Madama Butterfly) and baritone Morgan Smith.

Smith, a rising young star on the stages of the U.S.’s major opera houses, will also reprise his role as Manfred Lewin, a young gay Jewish man who was killed at Auschwitz, in a song cycle version of Heggie and Scheer’s groundbreaking musical drama For a Look or a Touch. Drawing from Lewin’s journals, the work depicts the Third Reich’s oppression of its homosexual citizens.

Also on the May program are a suite from Kurt Weill’s Three Penny Opera and a trio by Hungarian composer László Weiner. Weiner’s life ended at age 28 in a concentration camp, despite the futile efforts of his teacher Zoltán Kodály to intercede on his behalf.

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Fall Concert: The Emperor of Atlantis
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall, Seattle
8:00 p.m., Friday, November 16, 2012
6:00 p.m., Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ernest Bloch
Prayer (1924)

Benjamin Shmidt, cello soloist: Winner of the 2012 David Tonkonogui Memorial Award

Marc Lavry
Three Jewish Dances for Violin and Piano, Op. 192 (1945)

Leonid Keylin, violin; Mina Miller, piano

Viktor Ullmann
The Emperor of Atlantis (Terezín, 1943) A Chamber Opera

Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Erich Parce, director

Victor Benedetti, baritone; Megan Chenovick, soprano; Kimberly Giordano, soprano; Ross Hauck, tenor; Erich Parce, baritone; Marcus Shelton, tenor; Jonathan Silvia, bass baritone
Elisa Barston, violin; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass; Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Ben Hausmann, oboe; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Michael Brockman, saxophone; David Gordon, trumpet; Michael Partington, guitar/banjo; Michael A. Werner, percussion; Joseph Adam, keyboard


Spring Concert: Farewell, Auschwitz!
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall, Seattle
7:30 p.m., Monday, May 14, 2013>

6:45 p.m. Meet the Composer & Librettist: A conversation with Jake Heggie & Gene Scheer

Kurt Weill
Suite from The Three Penny Opera (1929)

Leonid Keylin, violin; Mina Miller, piano

Jake Heggie
For a Look or a Touch (2007/13) World Premiere of New Song Cycle Version

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

László Weiner
String Trio - Serenade (1938)

Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello

Jake Heggie
Farewell, Auschwitz! (2013) Poetry by Krystyna Zywulska (Auschwitz, 1944) World Premiere
Commissioned by Music of Remembrance

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

For more information on this commission and others, see the New Works section of MOR’s website:


About Music of Remembrance
Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique spiritual and 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. More information available at

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