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Day 1: “Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music, Literature and Theater”

May 1, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm

“Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music, Literature and Theater” on May 1 – 5, 2016, in Madison, Wisconsin (the only United States location) as part of “Performing the Jewish Archive.”

The U.S. component of a major international research project, “Performing the Jewish Archive,” led by the University of Leeds, in England, has attracted significant funding to shine new light on forgotten works by Jewish artists. The University of Wisconsin–Madison and the City of Madison are uniquely situated as the sole hosts for the project’s performance events within the United States; one of the premier public research-intensive universities in the world, located in a community that lives and breathes diverse arts, while striving for social change.

After welcoming over 500 people to our one-day event in Madison last August, the full festival, “Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music, Literature and Theater” will be the first of four festivals around the world.  There will be five days of performing events from Sunday, May 1, through Thursday, May 5, 2016. Tickets for most events are $10 general admission, $5 students.  Please purchase tickets in advance through the WI Union Theater or for the Collage Concert Finale, Overture Center.  Local partners include the UW-Madison School of Music, Mosse-Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture, and the Arts Institute at UW-Madison; Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Madison Youth Choirs, and Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Schedule of events: Sunday, May 1

2:00 – 3:45 PM New Budapest Orpheum Society Cabaret
3:45 – 4:30 PM Reception
4:30 – 5:30 PM The Chronicle of Love and Death of the Flag-Bearer Christoph Rilke
7:30 – 9:00 PM Harlequin in the Ghetto
All events held in Frederic March Play Circle, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street

From Helsinki to Theresienstadt:  Jewish Cabaret Songs from Europe and Beyond will be performed by the New Budapest Orpheum Society, an Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Chicago, under the artistic direction of Philip V. Bohlman.  NBOS draws upon a wide range of repertories, many forgotten, others preserved in European archives, all poignantly bearing witness to the great tradition of Jewish cabaret.  They will perform works from their repertoire and works recently rediscovered by Performing the Jewish Archive researchers.  Join us for a reception following the performance. Julia Bentley, mezzo soprano; Philip V. Bohlman, artistic director; Stewart Figa, baritone; Danny Howard, percussion; Lordanka Kissiova, violin; Ilya Levinson, music director and piano; Mark Sonksen, double bass; Don Stille, accordion.

The Chronicle of Love and Death of the Flag-Bearer (Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke) by Christoph Rilke is a melodrama for speaker and piano, composed by Vikor Ullmann (1898-1944) in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. For his text, Ullmann chose the prose-poem by his fellow Czech, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), which circulated widely in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt/Terezín. The narrative of the melodrama follows a young man to war in Eastern Europe in the late seventeenth century, where he comes of age but perishes in one of the most profound love-death works in the twentieth century: an allegory in Ullmann’s setting for World War II, the Holocaust, and musical modernism. Ullmann’s final great work is virtually unknown, and it will be performed in the version reconstructed from the sketches Ullmann completed ten days before his deportation to Auschwitz in October 1944.  This will be performed by Philip and Christine Bohlman.  A talk back will follow this event.

Harlequin in the Ghetto, a new play based on a commedia dell’arte-inspired script written in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, will be performed by students from Louisiana State University. In the World War II Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt, a young prisoner, Zdenek Jelinek, wrote a play in the commedia dell’arte style about a question of urgent interest to them all:  would Harlequin, the lovable clown, escape the clutches of the Capitano?  Survivors vividly recalled this play for its poetry, its idealism, and for its humour.  The script, titled Comedy about a Trap, was thought lost until recently.  This performace is based on preserved fragments of the script, survivor testimony and research into the cultural life of the ghetto. The performance explores the political commitment of the young author, his prewar sources of inspiration, and a question for our own day: what are we to make of a comedy written during the Holocaust?  A talk back will follow this event.





Fredric March Play Circle
800 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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