The Halifax Theatre for young people presents the Brunidbar production at Sir James Dunn (Dalhousie). The shows will be between May 16-19, 2019.
Halifax Theatre for Young People (HTYP) present the children’s opera Brundibár from May 16-19 at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in Halifax, with school shows at 9 and 11:00 a.m. on May 16 and 10:30 on the 17. Other performances are Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 regular and $10 for students through Ticket Halifax (https://www.tickethalifax.com/events/94107401/brundibr-a-childrens-opera).
Brundibár is an opera written for children by Hans Krása with lyrics by Adolf Hoffmeister, composed in Prague in 1938. The opera received its premiere in German-occupied Prague at the Jewish Orphanage before the mass deportations of Jews to the Theresienstadt concentration camp began in 1942. There, Krása reconstructed the music for the available instruments from a smuggled in copy of the score, and it was performed 55 times in the camp, including a production for the Red Cross, who were duped by the Nazis into believing Theresienstadt was a model institution where prisoners were well treated. In reality, all of the children, the composer, director and musicians were sent to Auschwitz for extermination following the final performance. Of the 15,000 children interned in Theresienstadt, only just over 100 survived the war.
The opera tells the story of children who sing in the marketplace to raise money for their sick mother, but are chased away by the organ player, Brundibár. With the help of animal and bird friends, as well as other children, they defeat Brundibár and continue to sing. All watching understood that Brundibár represented Hitler and were uplifted, even momentarily, by the fact that good could triumph over evil.
Despite the background of its creation, the opera itself is light-hearted and provides a great opportunity to introduce children and youth to the topic of the Holocaust and racial discrimination, and the need to work together to defeat oppression.
The opera was revived in 1992 with a production in the U.K. and has been increasingly performed worldwide since that time. A picture book with illustrations by Maurice Sendak was released in 2003. For images of the propaganda film created by the Nazis, including fragments of a Brundibár production, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st4INYATIqc.
The Halifax production is directed by HTYP’s Artistic Director Tessa Mendel, with musical direction by Eszter Horvath, and features professional musicians including Scott Macmillan and members of Symphony Nova Scotia, children from the local community and professional set and lighting designers. The production includes an educational component, guest speakers and a photography exhibit. A committee of local supporters has been working behind the scenes for several years to bring the production to Halifax audiences.
Halifax Theatre for Young People’s (HTYP) mandate is to create meaningful, engaging theatre experiences for young people and their families. The only full-time company in HRM dedicated to serving the needs of young people, HTYP is a non-profit society created ten years ago by Tessa Mendel and Christopher Heide. Ongoing activities include a mainstage production and smaller touring shows, with an annual play development program, allowing playwrights the chance to develop innovative local plays for young audiences.
Please contact HTYP directly for school bookings. For more information please visit halifaxtheatreforyoungpeople.com.