Courtesy Photo

Nowhere was the legacy of music as a force of resistance clearer than in the various facilities that were used to detain and exterminate Jews during the Holocaust. Composer Hans Krása had completed Brundibar before he was captured and put to work in Theresienstadt, but it was in that Czech camp-ghetto that his anti-fascist allegory premiered. It tells the story of two children, a brother and sister, who contrive to overturn the authority of a bully organ grinder. In a dark twist of irony, this was one of the works chosen by the Nazis in 1944 to demonstrate to the International Red Cross that conditions in the camps were humane. Of the 15,000 children who passed through Theresienstadt, and from among whom the original performers of Brundibar were drawn, 90 percent were killed.

On Saturday, May 20, Opera Santa Barbara Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas will lead the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and the singers from the Santa Barbara and Ojai youth opera programs in a pair of performances of this 40-minute work at 2:30 and 5 p.m at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.). In the words of Protopapas, “There is no one better to convey the strength, hope, and courage of Brundibar’s message than our young singers and orchestra musicians.” For tickets and information, visit or call 963-0761.


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