I always find it exciting to hear that new operas are being performed. Opera is NOT a dead art form. And, contrary to what most people believe there are still composers, who are indeed living, that are writing and creating new operas. Sometimes, there are operas that are rediscovered, operas that have never been performed and the people who wrote them have lone since passed. The Passenger by Mieczyslaw Weinberg is one such opera, which finally got it’s US Premiere at the Houston Grand Opera.
“Composer Dmitri Shostakovich called it a perfect masterpiece without ever having seen it performed. The Passenger, an opera about the Holocaust, was written nearly half a century ago, but was only given its first full performance just three years ago…The opera is based on a story by a Holocaust survivor, with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a composer who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps.” (via NPR.org) January 18th, The Passenger premiered in the US by the Houston Grand Opera House.
A brief synopsis of the Opera from Houston Grand Opera states, “The horrors of the Second World War, still raw today, were fresh in 1959 when Auschwitz survivor Zofia Posmysz wrote a play titled The Passenger from Cabin 45 for Polish radio. The play became the basis of the opera by Mieczyslaw Weinberg in 1967.
En route to a new post with her husband, a German diplomat, Lisa is unnerved by the sight of a woman-another passenger-who eerily resembles Martha, one of the inmates Lisa tormented when she was an SS overseer at Auschwitz.
The action of the drama takes us from the stylish gentility of a luxury liner’s deck to the squalor of a death camp where cruelty, despair, and unspeakable courage are evident in equal measure. This American premiere will be one of the most important musical events of the year. “(via houstongrandopera.org)
To learn more about his opera, please visit HoustonGrandOpera.org.
To read a review of the opera production, please click here.