Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

Lost Childhood: Two Generations - The making of an opera
Washington DCJCC

with Janice Hamer, composer and Mary Azrael, poet and librettist

Sunday, November 14 at 4:30 pm
$10 General Public/$5 Discounted Member Price*

Lost Childhood is a full-length opera set in Poland during World War II, and fifty years later in New York. It tells the story of Julek, a Jewish child who survived the Holocaust, and the adult he became.  The story unfolds through flashbacks and a dialogue between the adult Julek/Judah and Manfred, a younger German born after the war into a  prominent family of Nazi sympathizers. Silent for many decades about his “lost childhood”, Judah relives and tells his story at Manfred’s urging, and the two men grapple with powerful memories and emotions for the first time.
The characters of Judah and Manfred were inspired by psychiatrist Yehuda Nir, author of The Lost Childhood, a memoir, and Gottfried Wagner, human rights spokesperson and great grandson of Richard Wagner.

Commissioned by American Opera Projects, Lost Childhood has had workshop performances in New York, at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, and in Israel, at the International Vocal Arts Institute.
The creation of the opera will be the subject of Azrael's and Hamer's talk, accompanied by monotypes created by Miriam Mörsel Nathan for the opera.

Janice Hamer (composer) studied at Harvard and received her Ph.D. at the City University of New York; her major teachers were Earl Kim and Thea Musgrave.  She lived for several years in England, where her music was performed on BBC radio and in London concert halls, and currently resides in Philadelphia, where she has taught at Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges, and at the Curtis Institute. She is the recipient of numerous compositional awards and fellowships, including a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard, grants from the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, Meet the Composer, American Music Center and ASCAP, and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  She is a recent winner of two competitions--the Dale Warland Singers New Choral Music Competition and the Miriam Gideon Award from the International Alliance of Women in Music. Recent  groups performing and/or commissioning her music include Philadelphia's Orchestra 2001, the Dale Warland Singers, BBC Singers, Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, DC,  Bowling Green (OH) Festival, I Cantori di New York, Double Image (UK), Pittsburgh Trio, Philadelphia Concerto Soloists, Apple Hill Chamber Players, University of Wisconsin Concert Choir, the Kharkov (Ukraine) Philharmonic, and the US Holocaust Museum resident ensemble. Her opera-in-progress, Lost Childhood, based on a Holocaust memoir, is being developed and commissioned by American Opera Projects, in collaboration with Mary Azrael, librettist, and Gottfried Wagner (great-grandson of Richard Wagner), dramaturge.  Producers of workshop performances have included the New York City Opera,  the US Holocaust Museum, and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, under the direction of Joan Dornemann of the Metropolitan Opera.

Mary Azrael (librettist) is the author of three books of poems -- Victorians, Riddles for a Naked Sailor, and Black Windows. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Harpers, Chelsea, Poet Lore and elsewhere. She is a founding co-editor of Passager Books and co-edits Passager, a national literary journal with a focus on older writers. She was a Maryland State Arts Council Poet in the Schools, and has taught writing at Peabody Conservatory, Maryland Institute College of Art, McDaniel College and Johns Hopkins University’s Odyssey program. Prior to Lost Childhood, Azrael collaborated with composer Janice Hamer on the libretto of a choral work, On Paper Bridges, based on a Yiddish legend, which won the New Music Award from the Dale Warland Singers. Other collaborations include a poem  set to music and performed by composer Chris Mandra for The Synesthesia Project at the American Visionary Art Museum; "Three Riddles" (Boosey and Hawkes) poems set for children's chorus by Betty Bertaux; and a sound poem for "Themorus," a kinetic sculpture by Kevin Labadie.

*Price does not include a 25-cent service fee which is assessed at checkout. There are a limited number of free tickets for those who cannot otherwise afford to attend.

Time: 4:30 PM
1529 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

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