OPERA NORTH SIEGFRIED: AnHOLOCAUST SURVIVOR’S REVIEW
Town Hall,nLeeds: 15th June 2013
Thisnwas a really enjoyable evening. Overall the performance was very good, thenvoices were good and the orchestra excellent (that is what we expect from OperanNorth). For me the brass section (especially the solo horn) were brilliant, thenWoodbird had a very pleasing, clear voice and I always enjoy the sound of thenharps. In Act I I found the voices to be not loud enough and the text on thenscreens difficult to read. This may all have been because I was sitting in almostnthe very back row of the balcony. Act II had more activity and was moreninteresting visually. Act III was a totally different experience. The singingnand music were great and what had been a fairy tale now brought in the romanticnelement and one could feel Siegfried’s overwhelming desire and the initiallyninhibited response from Brünnhilde, the characters ending the Act with both ofnthem yielding to their emotions.
To me the words are almost irrelevant. It is thenmusic that “soothes and/or excites the breast”. As with most operasnthe words are often not understood if sung in a different language. Although Inunderstand German I did not “hear” most of it. It is essential before hearingnan opera to read up the story and so be able to fit it to the music.
To me there is no anti-Semitism in Wagner’s music. Thenmusic is deep and emotional and often in a minor key, which possibly mirrorsnsome of my thoughts of the world in general, which consist of more tragedy thannjoy. It may also be a yearning for my childhood where Grimm’s fairy tales andnOscar Wilde’s were read to me by my mother. The dark and often loud music (thenranting of Hitler’s speeches that I heard on the radio as a child?) possiblynexpresses for me the terrible effects of the Holocaust and the destruction ofnmy family.
Trude Silmannwas born in 1929 in Bratislava as the youngest of three children within a largenJewish extended family. Her mother was one of the two million people of thenHolocaust who were not accounted for. She is a volunteer for the HolocaustnSurvivors Friendship Association whose aim is to work towards a more tolerantnsociety through research and teaching. Members visit schools and universitiesnto give living witness accounts of their experience as refugees, hiddennchildren and survivors of Nazi concentration and death camps:nwww.holocaustlearning.org