Students from the Seabury School will present the children’s opera, “Brundibar,” with previews Feb. 5–7 at Knutzen Family Theatre. “Brundibar” (“Bumblebee”) was composed in 1938 by Hans Krasa. The first performance of Brundibar was given by a boy’s orphanage in Prague. Original cast member Dasha Lawin from L.A. is scheduled to speak.
More than 50 performances of the opera were given to at Terezin, a large German concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Terezin was a transfer point, where a certain amount of cultural activity was permitted. The camp was used as a “showplace” to give the illusion to visitors that Hitler was promoting a benevolent society.
Before Krasa was executed in Auschwitz, he trained hundreds of children to sing in the opera. Each part had to be learned by many children since no one knew who would live long enough to sing in the next performance. On the surface, the opera is a simple child’s story. However, the careful listener will soon understand the allegorical society of life in the concentration camps.
Seabury is a small school for gifted children located in NE Tacoma. The entire cast of Brundibar is composed of students from Seabury Lower and Middle Schools. The Tacoma Opera has provided production consultants in the arenas of musical direction, stage direction and set design. The Knutzen Family Theatre opened in Federal Way in 1998.
The Knutzen Family Theatre is located at 3200 Dash Point Road in Federal Way. The preview performances are Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. The ticket cost is $7.50 for Feb. 6 and $5 for the other performances. Call the Seabury office at 253-835-2020.