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Media Release - 10th Feb, 2017
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For Immediate Release

10th Feb, 2017

Jewish children’s opera Brundibár offers message of hope and unity 75 years after concentration camp performances.
 
75 years ago, Hans Krása’s children’s opera Brundibár, a story of hope and adventure, premiered in a Prague orphanage.  Its second production occurred behind the walls of the Nazi concentration camp of Terezín, where thousands of Czech Jews were imprisoned between 1941-1945.
 
In March 2017, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company will present a new production of Brundibár for all ages, directed by the innovative and in-demand Toronto-based Joel Ivany, co-founder of the award-winning Against the Grain Theatre.
 
During the Second World War, the Nazis created a concentration camp in the Czech town of Terezín, which saw upwards of 155,000 people pass through its gates, many on their way to a sadder fate in extermination camps “to the East”.  Despite its grim purpose, Terezín was to become a place of hope and inspiration. Remarkably, the arts flourished as painters, musicians and actors were allowed to continue their work.  Symphony concerts, plays, and lectures were a regular occurrence, showing not only the resilience of those oppressed, but also the power of the arts to lift the human spirit in the darkest of times.  In 1942, composer Hans Krása was deported to Terezín, smuggling a score of his opera Brundibár into the camp in this suitcase.  The opera was performed over fifty times by the children of the camp.
 
Holocaust survivor John Freund, who is also serving as a consultant for the CCOC production, recalls sitting in the audience in Terezín as a child. “The greatest hit of all was the opera Brundibár. This is the story of a wicked organ grinder who did not allow two children to sing in the streets to raise money for their sick mother. This led to a victory of the children – united, the children could defeat even the wicked.  Both the music and the story touched everyone experiencing the opera.”
 
The production depicts the inmates of Terezín preparing for their performance of Brundibár.  To fill out the depth of this story, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company has partnered with Oscar-award winning filmmaker Malcolm Clarke.  Footage from his 2013 Academy Award-winning (Best Short Documentary) film, The Lady in No. 6: Music Saved My Life will introduce the audience to concert pianist and Terezín survivor Alice Herz-Sommer and her son Raphael, and their experience with Brundibár in the camp.  Selections from Canadian composer Robert Evans’ cantata For the Children, which sets poetry written by the children of Terezín, bring a Canadian perspective to this most remarkable tale.
 
CCOC Music Director Teri Dunn conducts a professional chamber orchestra with sets and costumes designed by Adriana Bogaard and lighting and projections designed by Cameron Davis.
 
The CCOC is grateful for the generous support of The Azrieli Foundation whose mission includes promoting Jewish heritage, memory and a vibrant Jewish future through artistry and creativity.  The CCOC is also once again happy to offer a number of free tickets to Syrian refugees through the Canada Council for the Arts’ “Arts and Culture Welcome Refugees” Initiative.
Director Joel Ivany works with members of the CCOC in rehearsal for Brundibár.  Photo: Trevor Godinho
Canadian Children's Opera Company
presents
Brundibár

Harbourfront Centre Theatre
231 Queens Quay W

School Previews: March 2 & 3 at 10am, March 2 at 1pm
Performances:  March 3 & 4 at 7pm; March 4 & 5 at 2pm
~55 minutes with no intermission

Tickets to public performance on sale through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office. 
$33 adult; $24 senior; $19 student

School groups $10/student through group sales

 

About the Canadian Children’s Opera Company

Currently in its 49th season, the CCOC consists of six choruses for ages 3 to 19 and is the only permanent children’s opera company in Canada. Led by newly appointed Artistic Director Dean Burry, Managing Director Ken Hall, and Music Director Teri Dunn, the company engages young people in the vibrant world of opera by offering intensive musical and dramatic training and numerous professional performing experiences. In addition to their own concerts and opera productions, members regularly perform with the Canadian Opera Company and other major professional organizations, record, and tour nationally and internationally.  

www.canadianchildrensopera.com

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For more information please contact:
Ken Hall
Managing Director
416-366-0467x223
ken@canadianchildrensopera.com
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