Brundibár Arts Festival: Events 2022


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SATURDAY, 22ND JANUARY 2022, 19:30.
Jesmond United Reform Church
Artists: Lubov Ulybysheva, Jessica Lee, Patrick Bolton, Daniel Grimwood, Yoshie Kawamura, Ulrike Anton, Jeremiah Stephenson, Alexandra Raikhlina

This concert will be dedicated to Sophie Scholl a German anti-Nazi activist, convicted of high treason after having been found to distribute anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich (where she was a student). As a result, she was executed by guillotine at the age of 21. White Rose was the name of the non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany that Sophie was part of. We feel it is important to celebrate the bravery of this young girl who stood up for what she believed and remains a symbol of how people can take a courageous action to resist, even the most brutal totalitarian regime. 

Sophie’s last words: “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”


Ursula Mamlok: Festive Sound fur Orgel
Rosy Wertheim: Violin Sonata in A flat Major
Ruth Schontal: “A Bird Flew over Jerusalem” for flute and piano
Rosy Wertheim:“Trois Chansons” for flute, clarinet and bassoon
Henriette Bosmans: Cello Sonata
SUNDAY, 23RD JANUARY 2022, 18:00.
Cobweb Orchestra Concert
Jesmond United Reform Church
Fanny Hansel (Mendelssohn): Overture in C Major
Rosy Wertheim: Divertimento for Chamber Orchestra
Sage Gateshead Hall 2
Krása Symphony für kleines Orchester (with background visuals by two visual artists)

"Brundibár" the Opera performance in collaboration with Opera North
Opera North Youth Company
Opera North Production.
Director – PJ Harris
Designer – Anna Yates
Artistic Director/Chorus Master – Nicholas Shaw
Lighting Designer – Emma Jones
Costume Assistant – Kate Egan
Choreographer – Jim Manganello
Stage Manager – TBC
Vocal Coach – Marie Claire Breen
Accompanist – Elizabeth Jones

The opera was originally written by Hans Krása (libretto by Adolf Hoffmeister) in 1938 as an entry for a children's opera competition sponsored by the Czechoslovak Ministry of Education. Before a winner could be announced, the country was occupied by Nazi Germany. However, rehearsals for the opera began in July 1939 at the Jewish-Zionist orphanage, Hagibor near Prague. Before he could hear the work performed, Krása was arrested and eventually deported to Theresienstadt (Terezin in Czech).

In July 1943, the score of Brundibár was smuggled into the camp by Rudi Freudenfeld. A new orchestral arrangement was written by Krása reflecting the instruments available in the camp: flute/piccolo, clarinet, trumpet, guitar, side drum and bass drum, piano, four violins, cello, double bass and accordion.

Altogether, the Terezin version of the opera was performed fifty-five times. The last performance, put on for the camp's inspection by the International Red Cross, was in September 1944. For this, the production was moved to the large Sokol Hall outside the camp. Stage Designer, František Zelenka was given everything he needed to improve the set and costumes. The final scene was captured for the Nazi propaganda film "Theresienstadt - eine Dokumentarfilm aus den jüdische Siedlungsgebiet".

Immediately after, the cast, musicians and composer were all transported to Auschwitz where they were murdered.

Our Festival was named after this iconic Opera in honour of all those who suffered and perished.

Newcastle University, Kings Hall
Artists: Katya Apekisheva, Jack Liebeck, Gemma Rosefield, Alexandra Raikhlina, Rosalind Ventris.

This concert will be dedicated to Alma Rose. Alma Rose was the niece of Gustav Mahler and a brilliantly talented violinist. After her arrest by the Gestapo, she ended up in Auschwitz where she became the conductor of the women’s orchestra who played for their captors to stay alive. She shaped the large number of starved and terrified girls into a brilliant orchestra using whatever talent they had in whatever instruments they could play on: Mozart played on accordions and mandolins, as well as violins and pianos, for example.

She was very demanding and pushed the musicians very hard, the group rehearsed eight hours on top of performing at the gate morning and evening. Alma believed that if they played well enough, they would be allowed to live. They were literally playing for their lives. So impressed were the camp masters by Alma's exacting standards that visiting Nazi leaders were given special performances by this remarkable ensemble whose fame spread through the hierarchy of the "new order".

By doing so Alma undoubtedly saved the lives of her players because if they played and played, they would not be sent to the gas chambers. Not one member is thought to have died under her baton. Alma herself did not survive the camp.

Lili Boulanger: Nocturne & Cortege for violin and piano
Nadia Boulanger: 3 pieces for cello and piano
Ursula Mamlok: “From my Garden” viola solo
Rosy Wertheim: String Quartet
Henriette Bosmans: Nuit Calme for cello and piano
Dora Pejačević: Piano Quintet
Natalie Klouda: Piano Quintet (Special Commission)

Leeds, Howard Assembly Rooms.
"Brundibár" the Opera performance in collaboration with Opera North

See above for details