Bonhoeffer
Composer: Ann K. Gebuhr
Librettist: Robert S. Hatten
Other Artistic Personnel: Robert Linder, Conductor; Sharyn Pirtle, Stage Director; Billie Hagemeier, Musical Director; Blakely Bering, Set and Costume Designer; Shawn Kaufmann, Lighting Designer; John Yarrington, Chorus Director; Cory Ferguson, Stage Manager
Original Cast: Douglas Yates (Dietrich); Dalma Boronkai (Maria); Russ Clark (Eberhard); Joshua Wilson (Hans); Noelle Ferrada/Rachel Castillo (Christel); Lauren Thompson (Paula); Matthew Parker (Karl); Craig Davis (Guard)
Premiere Date: May 19, 2000
Producing Company: Houston Baptist University Opera
Description: The opera enacts the passion and faith of the Lutheran Pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler. The libretto focuses on his struggle as a pacifist and Christian to justify violent action against Hitler and the state. Bonhoeffer's character is revealed through the prism of his relationships with his fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer, his friend and student Eberhard Bethge, and his co-conspirator and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi. After a prologue in prison, dream sequences recreate intensely formative personal experiences preceding Bonhoeffer's arrest by the Gestapo (he was serving as an intelligence agent for the Abwehr and involved in Operation Seven, a mission that helped fourteen Jews escape to Switzerland). Reality scenes in the second act recount Bonhoeffer's confrontation between his faith and his patriotism amid pressures placed on his personal relationships through suffering, torture, and interrogation in prison. The opera concludes with a portrayal of his final pastoral act just before being hanged at the direct order of Hitler for his role in the assassination conspiracy.
Character List (Major): Bonhoeffer(dram bar), Maria(s), Eberhard(t), Hans(bar), Interrogator/Figure(t)
Comments: A concert performance of excerpts received the Creative Artist Award in Music Composition given by the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County for 1995-1996. A concert performance of half of the music combined with a reading of the entire libretto was presented at Penn State University in October 1999, with the Penn Centre Chamber Orchestra, as part of an international conference on Bonhoeffer and the question of violence as a response to perceived evil.
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 2
Orchestration: str orch with solo fl, ob, tpt, pf, 2 perc
Musical Style: Accessible style with enormous range; fluent transitions from expressionistic atonality and brutal rhythmic violence to serene consonances
Contact: Ann K. Gebuhr
E-mail Address: agebuhr@hbu.edu
Phone: 713-774-2777
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