Musical Drama Explores Life of Women During Holocaust
Internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and actor Claudia Stevens is coming to Alma College to perform the critically acclaimed story of an elderly concentration camp musician who performed in the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
Stevens presents “An Evening with Madame F,” a musical drama about Holocaust survivor Fanja Fenelson, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4 in the Dunning Memorial Chapel. Admission is free and open to the public.
The performance explores how music can help people survive and what it was like for women during the Holocaust.
“Seeing this live performance by such an accomplished musician is both eye opening and transformative,” says Joanne Gilbert, professor of communication, who was instrumental in booking Stevens at Alma College.
Stevens, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, explores the expression of women who survived the Holocaust, says Gilbert.
“She also affords insight of the survival strategies of those who did not perish, focusing on music as one of those strategies,” says Gilbert.
Some of the music in Stevens’ performance is directly borrowed from pieces by victims at Auschwitz. She also examines how to ethically express the Holocaust itself as a subject of art.
“This performance is very important because most people don’t have enough information about the Holocaust,” says Gilbert. “The audience will learn not only about this genocide, but about the resilience of the human spirit.”
Stevens’ performance is critically acclaimed by Holocaust survivor and Noble Prize winner Roald Hoffman, who describes it as “powerful… wonderful, both as art and in its pathos.”
Cathy Lewis of National Public Radio describes the performance as “one of the most profound theater moments in recent times.”
Stevens has performed at colleges and universities across the nation and has been booked at leading venues in New York, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C.
Steven’s recently brought “An Evening with Madame F” to Rangoon, Burma at the request of the American diplomatic community there in response to pressing human rights issues.
This event is sponsored by the Alma College Women’s Issues Advisory Board, the Women’s Studies Program, and the departments of History, Modern Languages and Music.
Posted: Sun, October 18th, 2009 at 9:28AM