The Opera North Youth Company is proud to present Brundibár as part of the Brundibár Arts Festival 2022.

An opera written for children by Jewish composer Hans Krása in 1938, with lyrics by Adolf Hoffmeister, it tells the story of two children whose plan to help their sick mother pits them against an evil organ-grinder.

For schools interested in bringing students to the performance, there will also be a schools’ matinee taking place at 2pm on 7 February at the Howard Assembly Room.

Price
From £3*
Venues
  • Sage Gateshead
  • Howard Assembly Room

Running time
Approximately 40 minutes. At Sage Gateshead, the first half will feature Hans Krása’s Tanec and Passacaglia & Fuge.

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

Face coverings and proof of a negative lateral flow test or NHS COVID Pass are currently required during your visit to the Howard Assembly Room. See our full COVID-19 guidance »

Historical background

Brundibár  received its premiere in German-occupied Prague and was performed in secret by children at a Jewish Orphanage. In August 1942, Hans Krása was deported to Terezín concentration camp, followed by many of the adults and children with whom he had worked. In July 1943, the score of Brundibár  was smuggled into camp.

Krása re-orchestrated it and the premiere of the Terezín version took place in the hall of the Magdeburg barracks. Realising the propagandistic potential of this enormously popular artistic endeavour, the Nazis arranged a special new staging of Brundibár for a propaganda film, and the same production was performed for the inspection of Terezín by the International Red Cross in September 1944.

This would be the last of the fifty-five performances in the Terezín ghetto. Two weeks later, transportation of artists to Auschwitz and other destinations East began, silencing the most popular theatrical production in Terezín.

Poster for Brundibár at Theresienstadt, April 1944

Media

Story

Aninka and Pepíček have a sick mother.  The doctor has prescribed milk for her health and the children go to seek it in the town marketplace. When they get there, the milkman tells them that they need money for the milk, but they don’t have any…  Suddenly the children spot the organ-grinder Brundibár, playing on the street corner.

Seeing his success, they decide to busk as well, much to the annoyance of the townsfolk and Brundibár who chase them away.  Three animals – a sparrow, cat and dog – come to their aid, and together they recruit the other children of the neighbourhood.  The next day, their plan goes ahead: the animals and children drown out Brundibár.

The townsfolk are very moved and give Aninka and Pepíček money.  But Brundibár sneaks in and steals their takings.  All the children and the animals give chase and manage to recover the money.  The opera concludes with a victory march sung about defeating the evil organ-grinder.

 

Creative Team

CONDUCTOR

Nicholas Shaw

DIRECTOR

PJ Harris

DESIGNER

Anna Yates

CHOREOGRAPHER

Jim Manganello

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Emma Jones

COSTUME ASSISTANT

Kate Egan

ACCOMPANIST

Elizabeth Jones

ACCORDIONIST

Miloš Milivojević

Cast

Pepíček Hazel Read
Aninka Scarlett Banks
Brundibár Samuel Mills

Ice Cream seller Maddy Barker
Baker Will Johnson
Milk seller Macy Ann Jagger
Police Officer Joseph Mason

Birds
Blossom Palmer
Fizz Palmer

Windows
Emily Richmond
Akele Obiang
Freya Hunter
Lars Hunter
Beth Smith
Rosie Madeley

Cats
Hattie Cobb
Kat Trowsdale

Townspeople
Jasmine Ball
Ruby Martin
Mary Taylor
Abbie McHale

Dogs
Amy Watt
Harriet Clark

School children and furniture played by members of the cast

 

The show will be accompanied by players from the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Acknowledgements

The Opera North Youth Company is supported by the Emerald Foundation, The Liz and Terry Bramall FoundationWhitaker Charitable Trust, Derek Hill Foundation, The Arts Society Leeds.

Arts scholarships are kindly supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

With special thanks to The Percy Hedley 1990 Trust for supporting the production.

Brundibár Arts Festival is supported by The Barbour Foundation, The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The Rossiter family, The Tolchinsky family, Newcastle City Council, Community Foundation, The Foyle Foundation.

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