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Defiant Requiem

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

4 March 2014

Concert Drama at the Konzerthaus Berlin

Musicians and choir on the stage and photo-installation

Performance of the Defiant Requiem at the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague, 2 June 2013
© Defiant Requiem Foundation, photo: Josef Rabara

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:


4 March 2014, 8 pm


Konzerthaus Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt


15 - 42 euros (plus booking fee)

Advance Booking

Tel: +49 (0)30 20 309 2101

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 Culture Fund (Hauptstadtkulturfond) and the "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future" Foundation.

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

The Jewish Museum Berlin has an extensive program on offer surrounding the Defiant Requiem and the focal topic of the Terezín Ghetto. Please find information on these events here.

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