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Bodhi Tree Concerts to present San Diego premiere of Holocaust children's opera Brundibár

Bodhi Tree Concerts presents the San Diego premiere of Hans Krása’s Holocaust children’s opera Brundibár - to benefit Jewish Family Service’s Serving Older Holocaust Survivors (S.O.S.) Program.

Saturday, June 11, 2016 – 7:00pm

Irwin Jacobs Qualcomm Hall

5775 Morehouse Drive, San Diego (on the Qualcomm Campus)

Bodhi Tree Concerts, a San Diego pioneer of arts organizations partnering with and donating to charities, now in its fifth year of philanthropy through the arts, will present one of the most extraordinary and touching operatic events ever staged on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Brundibár was first performed in 1944 by the children of the Nazi concentration camp in Terezín, Czechoslovakia. Representing the San Diego premiere, the concert will feature the youth orchestra from La Jolla Country Day School prepared by Joan Diener and young singers from the Warren Walker and Language Academy Schools, conducted by Michael Morgan. In addition, there will be an opening narration by Holocaust survivor Edith Eger.

Tickets are $20 (students & military $10) and may be purchased online at bodhitreeconcerts.org

History of Brundibár When the Nazis came to power in the 1930s, Jews from Germany and surrounding countries, sensing the impending danger, began sending their children to Prague as a means of ensuring their protection. The orphanages in Prague quickly exceeded capacity, as hundreds of children would arrive each month. The successful Czech composer Hans Krása wrote Brundibár for children to perform as a means of entertaining and occupying the thousands of children in Prague's orphanage system. Performances were planned, but things were halted when the Nazis took Prague and began to send the city's Jews to concentration camps in the surrounding areas. Krása, the teachers from the orphanages, along with thousands of Eastern Europe's children were sent to the Terezín concentration. As a means of crowd control within the camp, the Nazis allowed the Jews to engage in varied social activities: concerts, plays, and lectures.

A few members of the Terezín music community began teaching the children music as a means to lift their spirits and build a sense of community. This coincided with the discovery of a copy of the score of Brundibár which had been smuggled into the camp. This wonderful tale of good triumphing over evil was and is perfect for children and adult audiences alike. A production was mounted, and was an enormous success - so much so, that it was repeated fifty-four more times over the next three years.

One might wonder why the Nazis allowed this piece to be performed. The evil organ grinder, Brundibár, who bore a strong resemblance to Hitler, was defeated by the masses of children working together. So why was the opera permitted? As it is written in Czech, the Nazis did not spend the time to translate the text; and they assumed the last thing an opera sung entirely by children would be was subversive. That's exactly what it was, though. It lifted the hopes of all that watched it and sang in it. It was the picture of hope: the all-child cast working together on stage singing about the value of teamwork and love, and their ability to vanquish even the mightiest evil. Due to its popularity, a segment of the opera was used in the Nazi propaganda film The Führer Gives a City to the Jews. Ironically, the Nazis selected the final triumphant chorus to show in the film.

One hundred percent of the profits from this concert will be donated to Jewish Family Service’s Serving Older Holocaust Survivors Program (S.O.S.). Jewish Family Service is a client-based, impact-driven organization working to build a stronger, healthier, more resilient San Diego. Holocaust survivors are a very important group in their community, and JFS is dedicated to making them feel connected and cherished by the San Diego community. A large number of survivors struggle to live with limited finances and no family in the area. JFS's Geriatric Care Specialists provide care management services, advocacy, translation services, assistance with claims forms, medical escort, homemaker services and emergency funding to low-income Holocaust survivors. Clients receive assistance with paying for home-care and emergency needs through funding from the Claims Conference, the Change a Life Foundation, and donations.


About Bodhi Tree Concerts

Bodhi Tree Concerts performs random acts of kindness by presenting music events, donating 100 percent of its profits to charitable causes. The group hires exclusively local artists, to inspire community engagement, philanthropy, and enlightenment through music.This concert marks the opening concert of Bodhi Tree Concerts’ fifth season. The organization has already presented 20 concerts and donated thousands of dollars to 20 charitable organizations including Mama’s Kitchen, Voices for Children, Erase Poverty, and Foundation for Women, just to name a few. Bodhi Tree Concerts won a coveted San Diego Bravo Award in 2013, a Best of Fringe Award in 2014, a Best of 2014 and 2015 from SanDiegoStory.com, and most recently a Critics Choice Award in 2015 for their SD Premiere of Tears of the Knife.

For more information and press tickets please contact Diana DuMelle, (917) 596-9359, or BodhiTreeConcerts@gmail.com.

This is a propaganda photograph taken by the Nazi's of the original Brundibár cast in Terezín.

The La Jolla Country Day Orchestra

Edith Eger

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