Tags: opera


About major 20th-century thinkers — two German-Jewish intellectuals who fled the Nazis. Walter Benjamin was a German philosopher and cultural scientist. Peter Ruzicka’s powerful third opera, “Benjamin,” written for the Hamburg State Opera takes us through the various stations of the philosopher’s exile in 90 feverish minutes.

Charlotte Salomon

Marc-André Dalbavie composer. This opera, with libretto by Barbara Honigmann, is based on Salomon’s semi-fictional diary, (Life? Or Theater?), created during her French exile from 1940 to 1942. She was sent to Auschwitz and murdered there, 26 years old and pregnant. Her diary included more than 700 pages of watercolor images, text, and musical references. She described it as a Singespiel, or a play in song. Her art has been shown in museums throughout the world. The opera premiered in Salzburg, Austria, during the summer of 2014.

Die Banalität der Liebe

About two German-Jewish intellectuals who fled the Nazis.Hannah Arendt has a cameo in Hamburg, singing a Baudelaire setting to Benjamin as he takes his life, but she’s the leading lady in the picturesque Bavarian city of Regensburg, where the Israeli composer Ella Milch-Sheriff’s new opera, “Die Banalität der Liebe” (“The Banality of Love”) dramatizes the famous — or infamous — romance between Arendt, the great political theorist, and Martin Heidegger, the towering German philosopher and member of the Nazi Party.

Testimonies of the Holocaust: A Dark Operatic Drama

Testimonies of The Holocaust is a dark, operatic style, musical drama with form and aspects of a combination of an opera, a Greek tragedy, Judgement at Nuremberg, and a musical drama. It is set in the Auschwitz Death Camp, and contains a text from The Old Testament, and excerpts from the book We Wept Without Tears, by Gideon Grief which contains first-hand accounts of inmates who were actually in Auschwitz. The texts from the Old Testament were chosen because they seem to reflect on situations, similarities, and conditions actually within Auschwitz. As in a Greek Tragedy, the “Chorus” has a prominent part in the work, and acts as a commentary voice in the overall work, and responds to actions on the stage, as well as setting the mood of each scene. These two things are essential to the overall form and flow of the work. The work uses a standard, full symphonic orchestra. The Narrator (Tenor voice) acts as both a narrator and has solo tenor singing parts within the work. The entire work takes place within or near the Camp Courtyard, therefore scenery changes are minimal. I had much internal debate within myself as to whether or not I would consider nudity or partial nudity within this work. Nudity was part of the Auschwitz experience for most inmates. I decided to allow the overall Director of any production of this work to decide how much, if any, nudity would be used within the work. The construction of this work took, off and on, about 8 to 10 years, and was, at times, very emotionally draining and difficult to deal with because of the only hope that any performance of the work will bring catharsis, reflection, and understanding of the Holocaust, and its effects on those who were part of it, and those who endured the unendurable. ---H. Gunter.

The Timekeepers

The Timekeepers is the story of two prisoners, a heterosexual Jewish man, formerly a well-known and well-regarded horologist from Berlin, and a Christian gay man in the Sachenhausen concentration camp, 1939. It is about the need to survive, using whatever means possible, and the ability to build relationships—in what would be considered an impossible situation.