The story of Brundibár, an evil, mustachioed organ-grinder, and a brother and sister's ultimate victory over him and his thieving ways, is so much more than just that. Written by Hans Krása and smuggled into Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic, Brundibár is a children's opera that was staged by kids in the camp more than 50 times. These forays into acting offered small bright spots in an otherwise bleak existence — many of these children were eventually shipped out to Auschwitz by the Nazis and then killed, just as the play's composer perished. Today, the opera lives on. The work serves as a story of hope and, for the adults anyway, a powerful reminder of not only all of the evil humankind is capable of, but also of our resiliency and our ability to try and make the most out of unspeakably terrible situations. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis presents Brundibár at 7 p.m. on Thursday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday (November 19 and 21) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road). Tickets to the production cost $12 to $18 at 314-516-4949 or www.touhill.org. And of special note: Ela Weissberger, one of the opera's original cast members, is scheduled to attend the performances.
Thu., Nov. 19; Sat., Nov. 21, 2009