The Diary of Anne Frank
Libretto by composer
Literary basis of the libretto – the genuine text of the diary of Anne Frank, translated from Dutch into Russian by Rita Rait-Kovaleva
Weiße Rose (White Rose)
Libretto by Wolfgang Willaschek
Performance combines two one-act operas The Diary of Anne Frank of Grigory Frid (1969) and Weiße Rose of Udo Zimmermann (1986). Each of them is authentic, tragic and piercing story of the wartime, and its main characters who are really young people.
The Diary of Anne Frank is the story about a teenage girl who had to hide in a secret hideout with her family. It was located in one of the houses - in the center of occupied by Germans Amsterdam. Diary describes events from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944. After Anne’s death, the diary was published (1947) and it became a very important testimony of Holocaust. When Grigory Frid saw “the document of a great power” in his hand, he did not edit it (first Russian edition was released in 1960). Music was created directly based on abridged text (it predefined the genre of composition - monoopera). In 1972, The Diary was performed at Moscow House of Composers as pianoforte adaptation (Nadezhda Yureneva was singing) of orchestra version at Kislovodsk in 1977. In Soviet Union, the performance of the opera on theatre stage was under silent prohibition for a very long time, and its stage version has seen the world for the first time in the USA. Then, there were big premieres abroad, including Israel and Netherlands. Long awaited Moscow premiere took place on Boris Pokrovsky Chamber Stage in 2010 in production of Ekaterina Vasilieva, and it became a part of theatre repertoire, which was nominated for award “Golden Mask”.
Composer Udo Zimmerman referred back to the plot of Weiße Rose twice (anti-fascist shadow organization had this name and it was organized by students and lecturers of Munich University in 1942). As a result, two operas were birthed under the same name. First, Weiße Rose (1967) was performed at the opera studio of Dresden Conservatory; yet the second one, “chamber” version has gained more popularity and was commissioned by Hamburg Opera in 1986.
“I can say that I have been writing opera about Weiße Rose for twenty years, however it was a completely different composition. First Weiße Rose is opera in after war style with all events portrayed onstage...Now I am only interested in two people - young man and a woman with bare hands without weapons who declared war against fascism” (Udo Zimmerman).
The action time is shrinking down to the event of one day, which is 22 February 1943. Brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl condemned to death because of leaflets distribution. They are left in the darkness of prison cell alone with their thoughts, fears, memories and perspectives. Opera lasts around one hour - that is how much time is left for their execution. The beginning of “action” is measured with the war dry chord strikes. “Do not keep silence, just do not keep silence” - feelings are exposed, horrible reality is unveiled in front of us with implacable ruthlessness. Advocating the principle of “The absolute truth”, the author with precision of documentarist highlighting subtle transitions and gradation of feelings of his characters. He is far from the idealization and does not strive to present them as martyrs.
“I care about inner world of the person who committed the deed. Why did they decide to go through it? Today’s young people are confronted with the problem of choice, search for their own place in life, attainment of moral conscience”. This is the question of personal responsibility of everyone in a complex modern world” (Udo Zimmerman, “Music academy”, edition 9, 1991).
World premiere happened at Hamburg State Opera on 27 February 1986. During a year, Weiße Rose was showed thirty times and soon it became one of the most performed operas of after wartime: at the turn of the centuries, its stage history accounted for more than 100 productions, and after ten years its numbers increased two times. Russia saw Weiße Rose in May 1988. Its premiere took place in a newly opened Leningrad Chamber Music Theatre (currently St. Petersburg Opera). It will be shown at the Bolshoi for the first time.
Famous European director Hans-Joachim Frey is working on this performance. He is connected to the Bolshoi through a long time collaboration. Being in high demand on Russian theatre scene, from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Ulan-Ude and Vladivostok, he is an artistic director of educational center “Sirius” in Sochi. This is his third work on Boris Pokrovsky Chamber Stage. From the earliest - Tsar and Carpenter by Lortzing and Ariadne auf Naxos by R. Strauss.
Artistic Director and Conductor Philipp Chizhevsky is an invited conductor at the Bolshoi from 2014. He debuted with opera bouffe La Périchole by Offenbach. Music of absolutely different epochs - from baroque to the newest opuses which are created nowadays - is in his area of professional interests. Maestro performs a lot with his ensemble Questa Musica that he founded. He is also collaborating with the leading Russian and foreign orchestras at the music theatre. The artistic alliance with the director Hans-Joachim Frey happened during the production of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte,ossia La scuola degli amanti (Buryat Opera and Ballet Theatre, 2014).