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Mr Bamberger says 'I had a vague impression that there might be a choral piece set to the poems by children who had been interred at the Terezin deportation camp, I Never Saw Another Butterfly. Instead of a choral work, however, the search engine turned up a song cycle of the same name by the American composer Lori Laitman.'

Switching to e-mail, Mr Bamberger wrote to her. Ms Laitman, whose specialty is slightly untraditional art song, promptly sent him the score of Butterfly as well as others of her songs, some that also had a connection to the holocaust. The more Mr Bamberger listened, the more he liked her music, and then inspiration struck. By using most of the songs from the two cycles, plus a few of those other individual unconnected songs, and rearranging the order in which they would be presented, he came up with the framework for a narrative.

Lori Laitman
Lori Laitman

It's a fairly common story among survivors of the holocaust -- they are unable to talk about it, except perhaps briefly, at times, with other survivors. Families are frequently entirely unaware of the survivor's experiences. In many cases, however, healing is not possible until the stories are shared. It is this premise that Mr Bamberger used in creating this new one-act opera.

Megan Tillmann
Megan Tillmann

There are four characters in all. The Survivor (baritone Sanford Sylvan) is a man who once had a wife and two daughters. His wife (mezzo-soprano Fenlon Lamb) and older daughter (soprano Megan Tillmann) have both perished, leaving the man with his younger daughter. At first withdrawn, he is finally able to come to terms with his loss, and can share memories of his deceased wife and daughter with his remaining child (who is silent in this opera).

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Copyright © 8 June 2004 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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