Thu. 14 December 2023 – 20:15
Winteravonden aan de Amstel presents:

Diary of Anne Frank

Mono opera by Grigori Frid

Some life stories last 80 or 90 years. Anne Frank's has been reduced to just 15 years. A teenage girl who had to hide in the heart of Amsterdam for two long years, only to die in a concentration camp when the war came to an end. Her story gave the tragedy of the Holocaust a human face - a face that has resonated around the world.

Anne Frank's Diary has been translated into 70 languages and adapted into numerous plays and fictional films. This memoir that touched the hearts of millions of people was given an extra dimension by the 20th-century Jewish composer Grigori Frid, who wrote the only opera based on the original text of Anne's diary.

Grigori Frid: "I read The Diary of Anne Frank for the first time in 1960 and was deeply moved. When I reread it later, I realized that I had come across something incredibly powerful, almost ready to be staged as an opera. My libretto remains true to the original diary. After working tirelessly on the text, I started composing the music. The result was a monodrama, which is actually Anne's monologue".

Unlike his heroine, Grigori Frid (1915-2012) lived a long life. His legacy includes, in addition to symphony and chamber music works, two mono operas, both with a "Dutch" theme: Letters van Gogh and The Diary of Anne Frank. The second was written by the Jewish composer from the diary of the Jewish girl during the years of stagnation under Brezhnev and state anti-Semitism in the USSR. As the composer himself recalled when writing The Diary in 1969, he had no hope that the opera would be performed in the Soviet Union, while in the late 1960s diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Israel were severed and Jews from the Soviet Union were repatriated on a large scale. The premiere (in a concert version with piano accompaniment) did not take place until 1972, at the Moscow House of Composers. However, the opera gained unusual popularity in the US, gained a permanent place in the repertoire of theaters and concert halls in Germany and was performed in Austria, Sweden, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Slovenia and also the Netherlands. At the turn of the century, the Operabase noted Grigori Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank as the world's most performed opera by a contemporary composer.

The composer did not change a word in the diary, but compressed it into twenty-one short episodes, grouped into four scenes. The music, which follows the spontaneous - almost "childlike" - text, conveys the heroine's emotional states, from joy to despair, her free spirit and moral strength and even her teenage humor. The diary also contains deep thoughts in the spirit of a novel about growing up, reflections on the first emerging romantic feelings and vivid, grotesque sketches "taken from life".

Anna Dudina (soprano)
Vera Okhotnikova (piano)
Mstislav Pentkowsky (director)

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