Brundibar and Vedem
The Indianapolis Opera is planning a project for April 2020 in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of Holocaust Remembrance Day, and we’d like to open up some educational opportunities to students in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas. As part of our mainstage series, we are producing a children’s opera called Brundibar, in which members of the Indianapolis Children’s Chorus will perform alongside our Resident Artists. This opera was written in Prague right around the beginning of World War II, and was taken to the Terezin/Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, a propaganda camp where visiting dignitaries would be shown how “wonderfully” the Nazis were treating the Jews. It was performed 55 times by children in the camp during the war.
While it has no Holocaust-themed storyline, the circumstances surrounding its inception and performance are unique and essential to understanding our history, particularly in regards to anti-Semitism. Many important conversations, lessons, and lectures will surround this performance, and we will facilitate those as well. We are partnering with the Jewish Community Center and the Indianapolis Arts Council to host the art exhibit Vedem Underground that tells the story of the boys in this camp who ran an underground newspaper while in Terezin. The exhibit will be shown at the JCC from January – February, 2020 and at the Indianapolis Artsgarden from March – mid April, 2020.
We are planning educational performances of this opera as part of the Any Given Child initiative and would like to know of your interest in having students attend a free performance as a field trip. We recommend the field trip for students in grades 5-9, as that is when this topic is covered at school. The details surrounding the education performances are still being finalized, but plans are to host a performance at Beth-El Zedeck Synagogue on Sunday, April 19, and at the Toby Theatre in Newfields (Museum of Art) on either Wednesday, April 22 or Thursday, April 23, 2020.
In addition to the field trip option, we have a curriculum guide that we are happy to distribute, and we have also connected with the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis to help provide additional educational resources and programming, if that would be of interest. We are aware of the newly passed Senate Bill 132 that mandates “enhanced study of the Holocaust” and all of these programming options can help fill that requirement.