June 1, 2003

The rest is opera  

I heard Maurice Sendak speak today about the upcoming production of Brundibar here in Chicago. I'm familiar with Brundibar because it's the only opera I know of (besides The Trio of Minuet) written to be performed by children. And of course Mr Sendak wrote Where the Wild Things Are - both the children's book and the opera libretto. In recent years he has moved to production design.

Brundibar is one of the most powerful pieces of musical theatre in existence because of its origins - it was written by Hans Krasa while he was interned at Terezin during the Nazi occupation. Krasa himself was murdered at Auschwitz, but the 25-minute opera was perfomed at Terezin fifty-five times, and incredibly, one of the children performers in that original production was present at the discussion I attended today. Ela Stein Weissberger played the role of the cat.

In any case, let me highly recommend Brundibar to anyone who is in the Chicago area from June 4-14. It's a wonderful story, and Sendak's production seems sure to delight.


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