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Defiant Requiem

Verdi’s "Messa da Requiem" at the Theresienstadt Ghetto

Concert Drama at the Konzerthaus Berlin, 4 March 2014

Musicians with choir on the stage, photo-installation

Aufführung des Defiant Requiem im St.-Veits-Dom in Prag, 2. Juni 2013
© Defiant Requiem Foundation, photo: Josef Rabara


4 March 2013, 8 pm


Konzerthaus Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt


15 - 42 euros (plus booking fee)

Advance Booking

Tel: +49 (0)30 20 309 2101

The concert drama "Defiant Requiem" is dedicated to the Czech conductor and pianist Rafael Schächter, who performed Verdi's Messa da Requiem with hundreds of prisoners in the Theresienstadt ghetto around 70 years ago.

For the people in the Theresienstadt ghetto, music was an element of self-assertion in a daily camp life shaped by humiliation, misery, illness, and death. Initially performed in secret, the concerts were later abused by the Nazis for propaganda purposes. Rafael Schächter and almost all members of the choir were murdered by the Nazis.

The American conductor Murry Sidlin remembers with the "Defiant Requiem" the people in Theresienstadt for whom the Requiem and work with Rafael Schächter became a means of internal resistance. In his production, he links Verdi’s Requiem with film footage and eyewitness accounts from members of the choir. Seventy years after the last concert in Theresienstadt, we would like to remember the people who contributed under the most extreme conditions to a diverse cultural life in the Theresienstadt ghetto.

The artists of the evening are:

Murry Sidlin (conductor), the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, the Young Ensemble Berlin Choir, and the Vocal Academy Berlin (director: Frank Markowitsch), Aga Mikolaj (soprano), Gerhild Romberger (mezzo soprano) , Steven Tharp (tenor) István Kovács (bass)
Iris Berben and Ulrich Matthes (speakers)

Sponsored by the German Capital Cultural Fund in Berlin (Hauptstadtkulturfonds), the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future", the "Gesellschaft der Freunde und Förderer der Stiftung Jüdisches Museum Berlin e.V." and the "Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin in the U.S.".

The Defiant Requiem program (in German) is available as a PDF download here.

The Jewish Museum Berlin and the Defiant Requiem Foundation thank everybody who support the "Defiant Requiem" performance and the Terezín theme week.

Key Focus on the Terezín Ghetto in the Program Surrounding the "Defiant Requiem":
31 January - 2 February 2014
Cultural Trip to Prague and Terezín
27 February 2014
"As if it were a Life". Reading from the "Tatsachenbericht" by Philipp Manes, 1942-1944. Reading with the actor Frank Riede, annotated by the editor Ben Barkow
1 March 2014
Film showing:
Zbyněk Brynych: "Transport aus dem Paradies" (Transport from paradise)
2 March 2014
Symposium: Art and Culture in the Terezín Ghetto
3 March 2014
»Defiant Requiem«
Documentary Film by Doug Shultz
27 February - 23 March 2014
Presentation: The Terezín Ghetto – Documents and Books from the Holdings of the Jewish Museum Berlin
Workshop with Contemporary Witness: Edgar Krasa
28 February - 4 May 2014
Exhibition: Bedřich Fritta. Drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto
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