New Company Stages Canadian Premieres of Jake Heggie Holocaust Operas in Partnership with North America’s Largest Conservative Jewish Congregation
Another Sunrise and Farewell, Auschwitz to be staged by
the Electric Bond Opera Ensemble at Beth Tzedec
TORONTO – The Electric Bond Opera Ensemble, an exciting, new Toronto-based company presents Jake Heggie’s Another Sunrise & Farewell, Auschwitz, two one-act operas of survival.
The works will be staged by Aaron Willis (Soulpepper, Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon & Co-Artistic Director of Convergence Theatre), in new productions designed by Jennifer
Goodman, at Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto. Michael Shannon (Tapestry Opera,
Canadian Opera Company), will lead an ensemble of five acclaimed, Toronto-based
instrumentalists from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, including Mark Skazinetsky, Eric Braley, Igor Gefter and Michael Chiarello. The cast will feature rising and established Toronto-based singers, soprano Sara Schabas, mezzo-soprano Georgia Burashko and baritone Sean Watson.
With a libretto by Gene Scheer (Moby Dick, Three Decembers, Grammy-nominee), the two one-act operas centre around Krystyna Zywulska, the Polish dissident, writer and
Auschwitz-survivor. Born Jewish with the name Sonia Landau, she took on the name and
identity Krystyna Zywulska in 1943 under interrogation by the Gestapo, reclaiming her Jewish heritage much later in life. The works explore her memories of survival in the camps, brought to life through musical allusions and vibrant settings of the poetry she wrote in Auschwitz that kept her alive.
“Memory is a very tricky thing,” composer Jake Heggie said in an interview with the Jewish News (Northern California). “Trying to define dramatic, emotional moments in our life with words is very difficult, which is why songs and opera are the best way to explore, because they give it emotional context.”
Jake Heggie’s music has been acclaimed for both its complexity and its accessibility, touching audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with the genre. Music director Michael Shannon notes, “This achingly beautiful score transports us into the mind of someone haunted by memories so traumatic, they defy description. The music features Heggie’s trademark lyricism along with integrating many different styles, including nods to Chopin, which invite us all to remember along with her.”
The operas will be performed in Beth Tzedec Congregation’s Herman Hall, transformed into a playing space that will take us back into Krystyna’s memories of her life in the camp, brought to life by designer Jennifer Goodman.
“The presentation is in line with Beth Tzedec’s commitment to creating innovative ways of engaging with important topics that are relevant to the community,” Yacov Fruchter, Beth Tzedec’s director of community building and spiritual engagement, describes. “I am excited to be working with an incredible team of young talent who are experimenting so bravely and beautifully with how to present the complexity of the Holocaust through their art form.”
The Canadian premiere performances will take place on February 10, 2018 at 8pm and February 11, 2018 at 2pm, at Beth Tzedec Congregation (1700 Bathurst St., Toronto).
For more information or for tickets, please visit: www.anothersunrise.ca or call 416-781-3511.
ABOUT Electric Bond Opera Ensemble
Toronto’s Electric Bond Opera Ensemble aims to present classical and operatic works that tell untold stories, reminding audiences and performers of the “electric bond of being” (Thomas Huxley) by which we are united. The group is founded by Toronto-based soprano Sara Schabas, who recently organized three fundraising recitals to bring Syrian refugees to Canada, and has performed and worked with musical charities Songs by Heart (Chicago), Sharing Notes (Chicago), and at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto. Another Sunrise / Farewell, Auschwitz comprises the group’s first fully staged production.
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