Amsterdam Diary and Munich Rose on our stage!


It has been 10 years since The Diary of Anne Frank came back onstage after its first production, whereas Weiße Rose will be shown in Moscow for the first time. For once they be performed within one evening, moreother as a part of one performance. Stage director Hans-Joachim Frey chares his thoughts abour performance idea, importance of reference to the war theme and his personal attitude to these compositions the day before the premiere:

– Second World War became a terrible tragedy for the whole of humanity disregarding nationality, culture and religion. And today it is important to go through that lesson again so to avoid its repetition. There is something unique about performance taking place on the eve of 9th May. These days when we celebrate victory anniversary, the theme of war is especially relevant.

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Conductor Philipp Chizhevsky and director Hans-Joachim Frey. Photo by Pavel Rychkov

I have been bearing the idea to stage opera The Diary of Anne Frank and Weiße Rose for a long time already. I see much in common among these stories. They are not anti-fascists operas; they are bringing up such important topic as genocide. The persecution of the Jews - main theme of The Diary of Anne Frank. Opera is with an open ending; however, we know that its author, teenage girl, will die in a concentration camp. At the first sight, characters of Weiße Rose - Hans and Sophie Scholl, members of German clandestine group, belong to another world. Nevertheless, right the night before the execution they are not only reflecting on death, but they are also remembering the cruelty towards Jews, they are talking about concentration camps and about darkness and horrors of war in general.

I know opera’s authors very well. I am personally acquainted with Grigory Frid and Udo Zimmermann, as well as with librettist of the Weiße Rose Wolfgang Willaschek. I was deeply impressed at the premiere of this opera in Hamburg. I was a twenty-year-old student at the time and felt as if I was not just a mere viewer but almost as the participant of events: the director was my teacher, and my wife sang there. Since that time, this “work” has been chasing me.

We can say that it is the world premiere that will take place at the Chamber Stage. These operas will be performed for the first time within one evening. But the main thing, they will compose into a single performance, and their characters - Anne, Hans and Sophie - will be present onstage throughout the whole time. It is important for me that the viewer will relate to the opera as to the whole, as to one story. Its first part is narrated on behalf of Anne Frank, second - Hans and Sophie Scholl. Of course, The Diary of Anne Frank will still be a mono-opera, but in this particular case, it is necessary for me to expand the genre frames and to introduce new characters to the performance. In my productions, I always try to think cinematographically. I see a lot of interlinks, metaphorical parallels, many interconnected moments in these stories.

This performance will be some sort of symbol of belief in the human being who never loses hope, no matter how utopian this belief will be.

Music language of Weiße Rose is deliberately contemporary, however I don’t consider Zimmermann’ s music to be complex. It grabs the viewer with its contrasts: from tears, acute emotions and experiences to detachment and even romanticism...This music in particular among the tragedy of the situation leaves the place to hope. I do not show the moment of execution. Heroes retreat into the “eternal light”. Ending is left open.

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Vasily Gafner (Hans Scholl), Alexandra Nanoshkina (Anne Frank), Irina Khruleva (Sophie Scholl).
Photo by Pavel Rychkov

About performance

Leading artists of Boris Pokrovsky Chamber Stage are in the main roles.

Premiere series of performances will take place 6 - 8 May.