Commissioned and developed by AOP, Lost Childhood will be performed in concert at Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda, MD on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM. In his profile of the opera for The Baltimore Sun, Fine Arts critic Tim Smith marks the development of the opera from its historical inspiration to is upcoming concert for the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass”), on November 9-10, 1938, when a series of violent anti-Jewish pogroms occurred throughout Germany and elsewhere.
“… The opera focuses on a Jewish psychiatrist who eluded death as a boy in Poland during the war, and a German colleague born into a family with Nazi sympathies.
“It deals with post-Holocaust revenge, silence and denial, feelings that survivors on both sides, Jews and Germans, felt,” Hamer said. “And it raises questions of forgiveness. It’s a moral topic that is still relevant.”
The opera has been a long time in the making. Azrael and Hamer started on it around 1996. Various workshops were held over the years to develop the piece, most prominently through the organization that commissioned it, American Opera Projects in New York, as well as at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv.
The opera is in two acts with music by Janice Hamer and a libretto by Mary Azrael, and taken from the memoir of the same name by Holocaust survivor Yehuda Nir and Nir’s conversations with Gottfried Wagner (Wagner’s great-grandson).