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<<  -- 4 --  Kelly Ferjutz    ANNE FRANK'S BIRTHDAY

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Appropriately, Mr Bamberger will direct his creation, as he has directed more than a hundred and fifty other productions throughout his career. 'This will be a full production,' he said. 'Sylvan is on stage all the time. The time is the 1950s, and he's in costume with makeup. There is a set and lighting.' Actually, they've used the Lighting Designer from the other production for this purpose -- Izzy Einsidler.

Although all the verses used have been translated into English (if they weren't originally written in that language), there will also be projected supertitles. The Diary of Anne Frank is also sung in English, although the original libretto was in Russian.

Grigori Frid is both a musician and a visual artist, talents reflected in his two mono-dramas: The Diary of Anne Frank and The Letters of van Gogh. Mr Frid, who, at the age of eighty eight, still lives in Moscow first encountered Anne's diary in 1969, and almost immediately was inspired to write an opera, using excerpts to tell the story. He then had to struggle to see it produced, as the topic was not popular with the Soviet government. Finally, in 1977, he succeeded in having a full production, although there was one earlier performance, with only piano accompaniment. The chamber-sized orchestra uses nine instruments.

Dunja Pechstein
Dunja Pechstein

In 1978, he smuggled the score to America, and it has since been performed in many venues and many countries. For this occasion, an Ohio première, Cleveland Opera is importing the highly praised production of New York's Encompass New Opera Theatre. Dunja Pechstein will reprise her tour de force portrayal of the teenage Anne, beginning with the birthday when she receives the diary. The production will be directed by New Encompass' founding Artistic Director Nancy Rhodes and conducted by Sybille Werner.

Copyright © 8 June 2004 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA

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Performance dates for these two unusual one-act operas - The Diary of Anne Frank and Come to Me in Dreams - are Wednesday 9 June 2004 at 7.30pm; Friday 11 June and Saturday 12 June at 8pm and Sunday 13 June at 2pm.

For information or tickets, visit www.clevelandopera.org or call +1 (216) 575 0903.

Further information about Lori Laitman is available online at www.artsongs.com

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