OperaCNU presents world premiere of The Trial of God

by | Oct 21, 2021 | What’s Happening

Performances highlight Holocaust Reflections events

November 4–7, Ferguson Center for the Arts, Free

For the first time on an opera stage, OperaCNU will debut The Trial of God at Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts next month. Commissioned by CNU, the opera is based on the 1979 play by the late Elie Wiesel that offers audiences a way to make sense of the Holocaust.

The Trial of God will be paired with a production of Brundibár—a children’s opera. Both operas celebrate Jewish culture and spirit, while memorializing and honoring their experience during the Holocaust.

The Trial of God was inspired by events in Wiesel’s own life as a boy in Auschwitz. He asks, “Where is God in our suffering and pain?” The innkeeper Berish and his daughter Hanna are the only survivors of a pogrom in their 17th-century Ukrainian village and must cope with the destruction, rape, and torture they experienced.

The Trial of God will be performed by students in OperaCNU and TheaterCNU under the direction of Dr. John McGuire. J. Lynn Thompson will conduct. Dr. Jason Carney was the librettist and prominent film composer Andrew Scott Bell composed the music.

Brundibár is the story of a brother and sister banding together with the children of their village to triumph over an evil organ grinder. It will be performed by the Virginia Children’s Chorus under the direction of Carol Thomas Downing.

Tickets are free for the production, but must be reserved in advance and the shows are for mature audiences. The operas will highlight several weeks of events on campus—Reflections on the Holocaust. Other highlights include:

The Significance of Auschwitz at the Trible Library Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 27. This lecture and panel discussion is led by Dr. Richard Freund, the Bertram and Gladys Aaron Professor of Jewish Studies and Christopher Newport students who accompanied Freund in 2021 to Poland. Freund will also offer two pre-performance talks on the operas.

Time to Act! Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Movement: The Defense of Democracy and Resistance to Tyranny at the Trible Library on Tuesday, Nov. 2. This Christopher Newport German Seminar talk will be delivered by Sebastian Heindel-Gaiser of the Embassy of Germany. It will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Brian Puaca, professor of history and Franz-Josef Paulus, Lt. Col. (ret) Bundeswehr and moderated by Dr. Mario Mazzarella, professor of German emeritus.

For the complete schedule of events, go to https://cnu.edu/reflectionsevent/.

Sponsors of the events include United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula Endowment, Diamonstein Family Charitable Fund, Eugene and Betty Levin Family Philanthropic Fund, Barbara and Ralph Goldstein Charitable Fund, and United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula.