The UBC Opera Ensemble, Guest Conductor David Agler and members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra present the Canadian Premiere of Mieczysław Weinberg’s opera 'The Passenger' to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Mieczysław Weinberg, born in Poland in 1919 to a Jewish family who all perished in concentration camps, was intimately familiar with the atrocities of war: an intimacy that is revealed in his skilled handling of the music in this opera. Passages vary from poignant to powerful, from touching to terrifying as Weinberg navigates the intense emotions inherent in this subject matter. From the songs sung by the inmates to the waltzes played on the ship, the music itself has a role to play in not only the plot, but the building of a musical environment that is sure to affect every member of the audience.
The Passenger is the first of seven operas by Weinberg, based on the real-life experience of Holocaust survivor Zofia Posmysz, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz during World War II. Posmysz’s book, The Passenger, forms the basis of the libretto by Alexander Medvedev.
The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
In the past decade, the opera (and Weinberg’s music as a whole) has enjoyed a surge in popularity, thanks to the increasingly relevant themes and the draw of the drama. The world premiere of the full-length opera took place at the Bregenzer Festspiele in 2010 thanks to the support of the festival, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Grand Theatre – Polish National Opera in Warsaw. In the following years, The Passenger was staged in Warsaw, London, New York, Chicago and Yekaterinburg.
This production marks the Canadian premiere of this piece, and UBC is proud to present a symposium surrounding Auschwitz and oppressive regimes to be held in conjunction with the production. There will be a total of four performances, running from 30 January to 2 February at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.
The Canadian premiere of The Passenger is organised in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the POLSKA MUSIC programme. Tickets can be purchased at www.ubcoperatickets.com or www.chancentre.com/tickets/.