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The Terezin Project: Children's Opera Brundibár

Recorded Sound | RG Number: RG-91.2303

THE TEREZIN PROJECT: Children's Opera BRUNDIBAR by Hans Krasa on Vermont Public Radio, April 1999.

Brundibár is a half-hour opera written to be performed by and for children. Composed by Hans Krasá in 1938, with lyrics by Adolf Hoffmeister (translated by Tony Kushner in 2003), as an entry for a children’s opera competition, it received its premiere in German-occupied Prague, performed by children at the Jewish orphanage in Belgicka Street. Brundibár had one additional performance before the mass transports of Bohemian and Moravian Jews to Terezin began in 1942. In July 1943, the score of Brundibár was smuggled into camp, where it was re-orchestrated by Krasa for the various instrumentalists who were resident in the camp at that time, and the premiere of the Terezin version took place on 23 September 1943 in the hall of the Magdeburg barracks. Realizing the propagandistic potential of this enormously popular artistic endeavour, the Nazis arranged a special new staging of Brundibár for the propaganda film Theresienstadt—eine Dokumentarfilm aus en judische Siedlungsgebiet (directed by Kurt Gerron), and the same production was performed for the inspection of Terezin by the International Red Cross in September 1944. This would be the last of the fifty-five performances in the Terezin Ghetto; two weeks later, transportation of artists began to Auschwitz and other destinations East, silencing this, the most popular theatrical production in Terezin. Brundibar has been performed in recent times with a cast of children and teenagers to educate children about the Holocaust — both through the opera’s message and its history.

Recorded:  1999 April
Radio broadcasts.
Record last modified: 2021-06-16 16:31:10
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