Ela Weissberger sings the victory song with the cast of CMF's production of Brundibar.

Brundibar is Wunderbar

Ela Weissberger sings the victory song with the cast of CMF’s production of Brundibar.

The Colorado Music Festival staged a production of “Brundibar” Thursday night at Chautauqua Auditorium that was both enjoyable and emotional as the cast was joined on stage for the encore by the last surviving cast member of the Holocaust-era children’s opera.   The performance was part of a series highlighting “lost” masters from pre-Holocaust Europe.  The second half of the bill began with a piece by Franz Schreker, a popular and talented German-Jewish composer whose music was banned in Germany in 1933.  He died from a stroke a few months later, and his work disappeared for decades.  Finally, the evening rounded out with selections from Prokofiev’s Cinderella.

Ela Weissberger was 13 when she first performed the role of the Cat in “Brundibar” in September, 1943 in the Theresenstadt concentration camp.  She participated in all 55 performances and watched as virtually all of the cast and crew, along with the director, composer and choreographer were transported to Auschwitz soon after the last performance.  Ela has devoted much of her later years to traveling the world to places that stage Brundibar to tell her story and that of her friends in Theresenstadt.

Brundibar” and the rest of the show will be performed again on Friday night, June 29th.

L-r: Ela Weissberger, Jane Stansfield and Stan Kreis.

Ms. Weissberger will share her life story on Friday, June 29th at Noon, during a “Lunch and Learn” event at Har HaShem, co-sponsored by ADL. The address is 3950 Baseline Road, Boulder CO 80303. Ela Weissberger and her good friend, sculptor and photographer Marlyn Cheshes will discuss “Art and the Holocaust.” Ms. Cheshes’ work has been shown at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, the Florida Holocaust Museum, the Mizel Museum of Art and many others.) A complimentary vegetarian lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Robert Farr: r.farr@harhashem.org.

The Cat with the Yellow Star: A Conversation with Ela Weissberger

As part of the Rediscovered Masters program, Ela will be reading from her book The Cat with the Yellow Star at the Boulder Public Library – Canyon Theater – on Friday, June 29, at 2:00 pm.

Young people ages 10 and up are invited to join Ela Weissberger and hear her remarkable story. Ms. Weissberger will read excerpts from her children’s book, The Cat with the Yellow Star, and share her life experiences.

CMF Music Director Michael Christie, CMF Development Director Julie Cohen and Ela Weissberger at pre-show CMF reception.

Click here for more about the Rediscovered Masters series.  BJN will publish more pictures and video on Sunday.

About David Fellows

I've been writing things since grammar school, and served as a writer, photographer and/or an editor on my junior high and high school newspapers; the Daily Trojan at USC (where I earned my journalism degree); the student newspaper at the Anderson School at UCLA (where I earned my MBA); and written and edited countless business documents and presentations in the ensuing twenty years. I've been involved Jewishly since my bris and in Boulder since 1995. I'm married to my Executive Director Cheryl, and we have two children, Lauren and Ethan.

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One comment

  1. The Schrecker piece was a well developed piece of music that takes a great mind to conjure up. That his music was lost for so long a time is indicative of the Nazi attempt to stamp out Jewish culture. That it was played last night is a testament to the Nazi failure to stamp it out. In the documentary about Leonard Bernstein, "Reaching for the Note," Bernstein in one scene castigates the Israel Philharmonic for not being adequately attentive to playing a Mahler piece (Mahler converted to Christianity from Judaism, but his work was not recognized by the Nazis). He exhorted them to take our guy, Mahler, back. I think he was saying that Israel (Jews) should defiantly play the music of those composers severed from their Jewish roots by anti-Semitism as though they were themselves being so severed. Thanks, Michael Christie for making this a central point of your work this CMF season.