Forbidden Opera Concert

Reclaiming the lost music of the Second World War


 Forbidden Opera October 2018 at the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Forbidden Opera

As part of our Reclaimed Voices Series we will be taking our first look at the composers of opera that time has forgotten. After the Second World War, opera, like operetta, faced not only the daunting task of reinventing itself, but also that of reclaiming the music silenced by  The Third Reich.  The systemic uprooting and eradication of  Jewish composers, along with the Nazis’ branding of modernist music as “Degenerate,” were widely felt both before and after the War. Our concert is largely inspired  by Michael Haas’s book Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers banned by the Nazis.

Some Jewish composers, such as Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullman, Hans Krasa, Erwin Schulhoff, and Pavel Haas, would perish in the Holocaust. The more fortunate ones (Ernst Toch, Hans Gál, Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Arnold Schoenberg, Egon Wellesz and Erich Wolfgang Korngold) would ply their craft in their newly adopted homelands. For all of these composers, whether they survived the war or not, the post war years inflicted a further indignity; there was no one to champion their music after the war.

Forbidden Opera will feature the works of the opera composers Egon Wellesz, Hans Gal, Franz Schreker, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Kurt Weill, telling their story through four singers, a narrator, a chamber ensemble, and video projections.

Featuring Gerald Frantzen, Alison Kelly, William Roberts, Jenny Schuler, Anatoliy Torchinskiy, Agnieszka Likos and Patrycja Likos.