Arts & Culture

This children’s opera was performed in a concentration camp. See it at this free show

The Kearney Middle School seventh grade chorus will perform “Brundibár.”
The Kearney Middle School seventh grade chorus will perform “Brundibár.” Kearney Middle School

The William Jewell College Opera Workshop and the Kearney Middle School seventh grade chorus will honor the memory of Holocaust victims with a special performance of “Brundibár,” a children’s opera performed in the Terezin concentration camp. Jim Murray will conduct with Eryn Bates Kemp at the piano.

“Brundibár” was composed by the Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása to a libretto by Adolf Hoffmeister. The fairy tale opera was first performed in 1941 by the children in a Jewish orphanage in Prague.

Almost all of the children involved in that first performance were sent in 1943 to the Terezin concentration camp, where they joined Krása, who was sent to the camp earlier. Reunited, cast and composer recreated “Brundibár” for a performance at the camp that year.

In 1944, Terezín concentration camp officials made sure that that the Red Cross, who were inspecting the camp’s living conditions, saw only positive things during their visit. As part of the Potemkin tour, the Nazis had the children put on “Brundibár” to the delight of the Red Cross. Later that year, the Nazis filmed the performance for a propaganda film.

Immediately after the film was made, all participants were put on cattle trucks and sent to Auschwitz, where most were sent to gas chambers as soon as they arrived.

In spite of its tragic context, “Brundibár” is a joyful work in which two poor, fatherless children, with the help of a sparrow, cat and dog, defeat an evil organ grinder. It’s not hard to imagine the residents of Terezin finding great comfort in an opera that celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

6:30 p.m. May 2. Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods Campus Center, 2601 NE Barry Road. Free. For more about the William Jewell College music department, visit www.jewell.edu/programs/music.

KC Chamber Orchestra’s spring show

Ward Holmquist will guest conduct the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra for a spring concert on May 4 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

In addition to a Rossini overture and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, tenor Josh Lovell will join the orchestra for a selection of arias by Donizetti and Mozart. Also on the program is a work called “Virtuosities” by Dorothy Chang.

8 p.m. May 4. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 11 E. 40th St. $10-$30. 816-235-6222 or www.kcchamberorchestra.org.

Overland Park Orchestra on Tchaikovsky

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Symphony performance 7:30 pm with Shah (Shokhrukh) Sadikov conducting Saturday 9 Feb 2019, here with his second piece, third in the program, “Pictures at an Exhibtion” by Modest Mussorgsky. Photo, copyright 2019 Mike Strong with full usage permissions to Shah and the Symphony. MIKE STRONG Overland Park Orchestra

Shah Sadikov will conclude his first season as conductor of the Overland Park Orchestra by leading the ensemble in Tchaikovsky’s powerful Symphony No. 4 on May 5 at Knox Presbyterian Church.

In Europe, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth is sometimes known as the “Fatum,” or “Fate” symphony. In a letter to his patroness, Tchaikovsky wrote that the opening fanfare represented “the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness .... There is nothing to be done but to submit to it and lament in vain.”

3 p.m. May 5. Knox Presbyterian Church, 9595 W. 95th St., Overland Park. Free. For more about the Overland Park Orchestra, visit www.oporchestra.org.

Musica Sacra presents Mozart’s Requiem

Timothy McDonald will lead the Musica Sacra Orchestra and Chorus in one of Mozart’s most iconic works, the Requiem in D minor. McDonald says that the Requiem “is sort of like the ‘Holy Grail’ of sacred choral-orchestral repertory. It’s always been one of my favorite pieces to perform, and we have a great slate of soloists.”

Those soloists are soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson, mezzo-soprano Logan Contreras, tenor David Adams and baritone Raymond Feener. The program also will include Mozart’s Eastertide motet “Regina Coeli” and two of his Epistle Sonatas, works for brass and organ that are rarely performed.

7 pm. April 28. Arrupe Hall Auditorium, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road. $12-$22. 816-235-6222 or https://tinyurl.com/yymzwz3j.

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