MOR’s New Opera Production to Star Baritone Victor Benedetti and Orchestra of Symphony Musicians
Seattle, WA (September 25, 2012)—This November, Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot will lead a salute to Music of Remembrance on the occasion of the Seattle-based chamber music group’s fifteenth season.
Morlot will conduct a chamber orchestra comprised of thirteen Symphony musicians in MOR’s production of Viktor Ullmann’s 1943 opera The Emperor of Atlantis. Composed in the Terezín concentration camp, the opera is mocking allegory of Hitler and his war machine. Emperor Overall’s declaration of a universal war—everyone must fight until everyone dies—strikes Death as so presumptuous that he goes on strike. The result has been called “a brittle, sophisticated cabaret, a nostalgic romance, a Chaplinesque satire…, a declaration of defiance” (London’s The Independent).
MOR is presenting two performances of The Emperor of Atlantis—November 16 and 18, 2012—in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. (The group’s one previous opera production, Hans Krása’s Brundibár, 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.)
“It’s incredible, the support, encouragement, and assistance we have gotten all along from Seattle’s artistic community, and in particular Seattle Symphony,” MOR Artistic Director Mina Miller said. “To have a conductor so gifted as Ludovic Morlot offer to open our fifteenth season continues that wonderful tradition.”
The Emperor of Atlantis also showcases the talents of seven Northwest vocalists. Baritone Victor Benedetti, originally a Seattle resident but now living in France, 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, will direct this production as well. MOR’s program 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. A prolific composer and conductor, Lavry went on to influence the development of distinctively Israeli musical styles, but also wrote Lebanon’s first anthem, based on a melody by Lebanese composer Wadia Sabra.
Fall Concert Ticket Information
Phone Orders: 206-215-4747
Online Orders: www.benaroyahall.org
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
Benjamin Shmidt, cello soloist: Winner of the 2012 David Tonkonogui Memorial Award
Three Jewish Dances for Violin and Piano, Op. 192 (1945)
Leonid Keylin, violin; Mina Miller, piano
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
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. More information available at www.musicofremembrance.org.