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March 06, 2014 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-03-06

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44

March 6 • 2014

111

arts & entertainment

Michael Yashinsky
Special to the Jewish News

A

children's opera was to be
performed at the Nazi concen-
tration camp Theresienstadt.
Written before the war by Czech-Jewish
composer Hans Krasa and dramatist Adolf
Hoffineister, the score of Brundibar had
been smuggled into the camp, and a few
internees began to arrange a production.
The teenage orphan Honza Treichlinger
approached the conductor in a barrack
washroom and demanded the title role. He
wanted to play Brundibar, the bigheaded
organ grinder who bullies a brother and
sister who seek to buy milk for their ailing
mother.
When the opera premiered in
September 1943, in a crowded attic,
Treichlinger donned Brundibar's mustache
and held the audience — prisoners like
himself — rapt.
Though he played the villain, he did it
with humanity and humor; he twitched
his fake whiskers and made the audience
momentarily drown their anguish in
laughter. He became the camp's darling.
Within a year, after 55 performances,
it was all over. Treichlinger, the diminu-
tive actor, most of his castmates and
Krasa would all be killed in the death

camps of Poland.
Ela Stein (now Weissberger) had played
the Cat. She was among the few who sur-
vived. After the war ended, Weissberger,
in her words, "thought that the opera died
with the children:' But it did not.
Brundibar, which had provided imagi-
native escape for imprisoned boys and
girls, will be performed by the young
actor-singers of the Michigan Opera
Theatre Children's Chorus in a fully staged
production at the Detroit Opera House,
conducted by Dianna Hochella and direct-
ed by myself. Speaking to the audience will
be Ms. Weissberger, a torchbearer for the
memory of millions.
The MOTCC, consisting of 80 children
aged 8 to 16, is the Detroit Opera House's
resident youth ensamble founded by its
director, Suzanne Mallare Acton.
Jewish performers in the cast include
Anna Chisholm (Gatherer), Eddie
Eichenhorn (Boy understudy), Miles
Eichenhorn (Brundibar), Gabrielle Feber
(3rd Flower, Ice Cream Seller understudy),
Kevyn Roessler (Boy), Isabelle Ross
(Gatherer understudy) and veteran actress
Liz Weiss (2nd Flower).
Our family-friendly production is col-
orful, flickering as a light emerged from
darkness, and uses a translation by the
Tony Award-winning playwright Tony

Pulling Strings

Acclaimed
Israeli violinist offers local recitals.

Shari Cohen
Special to the Jewish News

Freiburg (Germany) and the 2011 Juilliard
Berg Concerto Competition. In addition,
he recently was named one of four recipi-
sraeli violinist Itamar Zorman
ents of the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust
returns to the Detroit area March
Awards, which help outstanding young
8-9 for two recitals arranged by
musicians to develop and sustain interna-
Chamber Soloists of Detroit. He will
tional careers.
perform the same program both at 8
Last year, Zorman received an Avery
p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Kerrytown
Fisher Career Grant from Lincoln Center,
Concert House in Ann Arbor; and at 3
"to do something beneficial for your
p.m. Sunday, March 9, at
career:' said the violinist. He
First Presbyterian Church in
is using the funds to study
Farmington Hills.
at the Kronberg Academy in
Zorman first performed
Germany and plans to pur-
locally at the 2013 Great
chase a new bow.
Lakes Chamber Music
"The older bows are best
Festival, where Pauline
for older compositions, and
Martin, artistic director of
more modern bows are
Chamber Soloists Detroit,
stronger for the contempo-
was very impressed.
rary repertoire explained
"I thought he was a fabu-
Zorman, who plays a 1745
lous young talent, and it's
Pietro Guarneri violin from
Itamar Zorman
exciting to present emerging
a private collection.
artists:' she said.
Zorman was born in 1985 in Tel Aviv,
Zorman has acquired top prizes in
where his family still lives. New York is
international competitions, including
Zorman's home base now, although he
a silver medal at the prestigious 2011
returns to Israel two or three times a year
International Tchaikovsky Competition
to visit with his father, Moshe, a classical
in Russia. He won both the 2010
composer; his mother, Astrith Baltsan, a
International Violin Competition of
pianist who has toured the U.S.; and his

I

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