by composer Jake Heggie's and Librettist Gene Scheer
McIntyre Music Building
In Farewell, Auschwitz, Heggie and Scheer return to the incredible-but-true life of Polish Resistance member and poet Krystyna Zywulska. In Another Sunrise, their second commission for MOR, they explored the agonizing moral dilemmas that Krystyna Zywulska was forced to confront in her struggle to remain alive. Now, using Zywulska’s own words, they remind all of us that numbers and statistics—and categories like “survivor” and “victim”—cannot begin to capture human experience.
Farewell, Auschwitz puts music to actual poems Zywulska wrote in Auschwitz, and offers a kaleidoscopic view of existence in Auschwitz through the eyes of someone whose survival depended on making unimaginable choices. Zywulska concealed her Jewish identity, but was arrested as a member of the Polish resistance. She intended her poems to be kept secret, but they circulated around the camp and are said to have boosted the morale of many of its prisoners. Mezzo- soprano Julia Benzinger, who recently returned to Seattle from a residency at Deutsches Opera Berlin, makes her MOR debut in these programs. She will be joined by soprano Megan Chenovick and baritone Erich Parce.
The program also includes chamber music by David Beigelman and Gideon Klein. Both composers were imprisoned in ghettos and murdered in concentration camps. Klein’s striking Duo for violin and cello was begun before his deportation to Terezín in November 1941, and was left incomplete. David Beigelman’s stirring Dybbuk Dances, was composed in the Lodz Ghetto in 1941. Also on the program are selections from American composer Lori Laitman’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly, based on the verses of young prisoners in Terezín.
This concert is sponsored by the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department and the Center for Diversity and Social Justice