A public performance of the children’s opera Brundibàr, Thursday at the Windsor Jewish Community Centre, will raise funds to send this local production to the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The story of children overcoming a bully was first performed at a Jewish orphanage in occupied Prague during the Second World War. It was later reprised many times at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, when the original cast of children found themselves there as inmates. After a final performance for visiting officials from the Red Cross in 1944, the entire cast was shipped to Auschwitz, where they perished.
The local production, featuring 19 members of the Music Moves Kids children’s choir, is performing before school groups this week. Several UWindsor alumni are attached to the project, including director Tracey Atin (MA 1988, BMus 1990) and music conductor and Music Moves Kids founder, Erin Armstrong (BMus 2007).
“Brundibàr is a wonderful way to introduce children to opera. It has a great story, beautiful and accessible music and is both meaningful and entertaining,” says Atin. “That would be enough to make it a worthwhile endeavour, but in addition, the historical context of the opera offers a way into the difficult, heartbreaking, and essential study of the Holocaust.”
The April 7 staging will add a second act, with Atin and Armstrong—both sopranos—singing works from I Never Saw Another Butterfly, accompanied by pianist Joanna Shultz (BMT 2011) and clarinetist Trevor Pittman, who teaches in the School of Creative Arts.
The curtain will rise at 7:30 p.m. at 1641 Ouellette Avenue. Admission is $20, $10 for students.