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A Child of Our Time

Every year for the past 3 years, Opera Siam has joined forces with the Israeli, German, and often other embassies such as the Czech embassy to do an event to help memorialize the Holocaust and to educate young people in the region about the past. In particular, we put on the first Asian performance of the opera Brundibár, originally performed by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp, and we twice brought the opera The Diary of Anne Frank into the repertoire.

In the year 1938, a young Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan visited the German Embassy in Paris. He shot an official named Ernst vom Rath. After an inflammatory speech by Joseph Goebbels, the incident set off a night of pogroms, persecution, and flames which killed over 90,000 people and caused 30,000 Jews to be arrested and sent to concentration camps.

2018 is the 80th year since Kristallnacht, the horrifying night that is considered to mark the beginning of the Holocaust. Because of this, we plan a major event, a performance of Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, which tells of the events that led to Kristallnacht, but does so in a universal language, speaking directly to people of all cultures. It is an emotional, dramatic and moving work. Its drama is punctuated by five African American spirituals: songs like Steal Away to Jesus, Go Down Moses and Deep River provide moments of contemplation and intercultural reference.

This is a moving and powerful work. The Siam Philharmonic, international soloists, and the Siam Orpheus Choir will join forces under the baton of Somtow Sucharitkul. The Israeli Embassy will provide am exhibit about the Holocaust. This is a chance not only to be moved, but to help teach our young people not to repeat the mistakes of the past.