Lost Childhood
Composer: Janice Hamer
Composer Bio: Janice Hamer (composer) graduated from Harvard and received her Ph.D. at the City University of New York; her main composition teachers were Earl Kim and Thea Musgrave. She lived for some years in England, where her music was performed on BBC radio and in London concert halls. Now residing in Philadelphia, she has taught at Haverford, Bryn Mawr and the Curtis Institute, and currently at Swarthmore. Her awards and fellowships include the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, grants from the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, Meet the Composer, American Music Center and ASCAP, and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Recent performing groups and/or commissions include Orchestra 2001, Dale Warland Singers, BBC Singers, Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, DC, Bowling Green (OH) Festival, I Cantori, Double Image (UK), Pittsburgh Trio, Philadelphia Concerto Soloists, Apple Hill Chamber Players, Tacoma (WA) Symphony, University of Wisconsin Choir, Kharkov (Ukraine) Philharmonic, the US Holocaust Museum ensemble, and Syracuse's Society for New Music. (courtesy of American Opera Projects)
Librettist: Mary Azrael
Librettist Bio: Mary Azrael (librettist) is the author of three books of poems -- Victorians, Riddles for a Naked Sailor, and Black Windows, created for the Smith College Rare Book Collection. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Harpers, Chelsea, Harpers, Poet Lore, Poetry Daily, and many other journals. She is the founding co-editor of Passager Books and co-edits Passager, a national literary journal with a focus on older writers. She was a Maryland State Arts Council Poet in the Schools, and has taught writing at the Peabody Conservatory, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Western Maryland College. She teaches poetry writing in the Odyssey program at Johns Hopkins University. Azrael collaborated with composer Janice Hamer on the libretto of an award-winning choral work, "On Paper Bridges," based on a Yiddish legend. Her poem "Loving the Aliens" was set to music and performed by composer Chris Mandra for The Synesthesia Project at the American Visionary Art Museum. Her "Three Riddles" (Boosey and Hawkes) were set for children's chorus by Betty Bertaux. She created a sound poem for "Themorus," a kinetic sculpture by Kevin Labadie. (courtesy of American Opera Projects)
Other Artistic Personnel: Gottfried Wagner, Director
Premiere Date: July 29, 2007
Producing Company: American Opera Projects, Inc.
Description: Lost Childhood is based on Dr. Yehuda Nir's memoir of his childhood in hiding from the Nazis in Poland during World War II, and on conversations with Dr. Gottfried Wagner, great grandson of Richard Wagner. When Nir's father was arrested in 1941, Yehuda (Julek) was eleven years old. He, his mother, and his teenaged sister Lala were forced to enter the brutal game of survival as the Jewish family moved from place to place disguised as Polish Catholics. In the opera, Julek's memory of his "lost childhood" emerges from a conversation he has fifty years later with Manfred Geyer, a German born after World War II, the son of a prominent family of Nazi sympathizers. Manfred and the adult Julek (Judah Gruenfeld) are psychiatrists, colleagues at a professional conference. For the first time, Manfred urges Judah to confide in him about his experiences as a Jew during the war. For fifty years, Judah has kept silent about this period of his life, and he is reluctant to talk about it, especially with a German. Full of bravado and self-mockery, he gives a brief picture of his family at the start of the war. Gradually, however, Manfred's questioning opens the floodgates, and Judah's memories come rushing back, carrying him deeper and deeper into his past. Over a period of several days, the two men confront each other and wrestle in private with their own painful memories. A powerful bond develops between them as they face the past and their complex, unexpected feelings about each other. The characters of Judah and Manfred, though fictitious, were inspired by the friendship of Dr. Nir and Dr. Gottfried Wagner, a passionate proponent of post-Holocaust dialogue between victims and Nazi perpetrators and their children.
Reviews: Jerusalem Post
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: 3
Chorus: Chorus
Musical Style: Tonal
Contact: Charles Jarden, American Opera Projects, Inc.
Address: 138 South Oxford Street
E-mail Address: info@operaprojects.org
Phone: 718-398-4024
Schedule of Performances Listings
Lost Childhood (Hamer)
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - American Opera Projects
Lost Childhood (Hamer)
Monday, April 10, 2000 - American Opera Projects
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

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