Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Atlanta Opera Partners with The Breman for Music of the Holocaust

“Despite the horrors of the Holocaust, there were islands of humanity in the midst of the greatest atrocities…” 
-Arthur Fagen, Atlanta Opera Music Director and son of Holocaust survivors

November 9th, 1938.  It’s been 75 years since Kristallnacht, a night of terror that heralded the Holocaust and saw the incarceration of over 30,000 Jews in concentration camps. 

A series of coordinated attacks across Germany and Austria, the term Kristallnacht or the “Night of Broken Glass” came about due to the broken glass that littered the streets after over 7,000 Jewish homes and businesses and 1,000 synagogues were destroyed.

Atlanta Opera Music Director Arthur Fagen, the son of Holocaust survivors Lewis and Rena Fagen (who were Schindlerjuden - Jews rescued from concentration camps by working in the factories of German industrialist Oskar Schindler), has spearheaded a partnership with the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum this season for the inaugural Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series, which begins this Saturday, November 9th with a performance commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht.
The concert includes Gideon Klein’s String Trio (1944) and Hans Krása’s Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio (1944), performed by musicians from The Atlanta Opera Orchestra.  The program also includes songs written in Jewish ghettos and concentration camps by composers Isle Weber, Adolf Strauss and Martin Roman and performed by Helene Schneiderman, a well-known mezzo-soprano who is also the daughter of Holocaust survivors. 

As the son of Holocaust survivors, I find it my duty to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive in order to prevent future tragedies of such magnitude,” says Fagen.  “The String Trio by Gideon Klein and the Passacaglia of Hans Krása were written in Thereseienstadt before the composers were deported to Auschwitz. In all probability, they were the last works written by these composers.  It’s important to remember that, despite the horrors of the Holocaust, there were islands of humanity in the midst of the greatest atrocities.”

Atlanta Opera Music Director Arthur Fagen

Join us November 9, 8 p.m. at the Breman for this enriching and meaningful evening.  A reception with the performers follows the concert. Tickets are $50 for Breman museum members and Atlanta Opera subscribers, $65 for non-members and are available here or at 678-222-3700.

Read more about the experience of Arthur Fagen’s parents, Lewis and Rena, with the Holocaust, Oskar Schindler, and their involvement in the making of the Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List here.


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