A tale of extremism, expedience and deceit, the work exposes the disintegration of the loves, lives and hopes of a family struggling to survive during the Holocaust. Sara, Hanna, Dieter, Magda and Hans return home from a party to find that having ‘danced too long in the moonlight’, evil stalks them from the darkness. The discovery that their adoptive parents have disappeared triggers a descent into a nightmare from which none will escape unchanged. A meticulously-researched series of individual real stories has been woven into a thrilling new opera for the 21st Century.
1 Act, 105 minutes duration
Premiere, June 2018 at Howard Assembly Room, Leeds and Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Conducted by Mark Heron, Directed by Stefan Janski. Singers from the RNCM, musicians from Psappha and RNCM
Request perusal score
Read the libretto
Sara (soprano) - the younger of the two sisters, just turned 18
Hannah (soprano) - older sister of Sara, has a baby girl, Inge
Magda/ Narrator (mezzo) - cousin of Sara, the only survivor
Esther (soprano) - ethereal voice
Dieter (tenor) - boyfriend of Sara in Berlin, later a Camp Guard
Hans/ Cobbler (baritone) - Fried of Sara, Hannah, Dieter and Magda in Belin. Cobbler in the camp, lapsed Rabbi/ Sonderkommando
Nazi Officer/ Dr Rudi/ Kapo (bass baritone) - Nazi Officer/ Kapo/ Camp Doctor
2(I,II = picc).0.2(I = Eb,II = bass).1(cfg) 2sax(S/A & A/T) 0.2.2.1 pf/cel 2P (no strings)
In all my extensive reading around the subject of the most terrible fate to fall upon a race of people in the twentieth century, I am increasingly convinced that the Holocaust was a failure; witness the extraordinary stories of bravery documented by survivors, many who went on to have happy and fulfilling lives, some of whom I have had the good fortune to talk to during my research. The message of hope at the end of this one act opera is symbolised by the metamorphosis of a word sung by the Nazi Kapo ‘Judenfrei’ (free of Jews) to the word sung by the rest of the cast ‘Jugendfreunde’ (childhood friendship).