“With crystal clarity in her sweet and innocent soprano voice, AVA PINE sings the poetic lyrics Krysia once wrote, words that often tell of her search for anything that can remind her of the world outside her horrendous surroundings. To her friend Zosha (Catherine Cook), she recalls, “Last night I heard a skylark song,” leading the two of them to sing longingly in a heart-touching duet of “a song of flight … a song of love … a song of freedom … not of cages.” . . .
Manfred Lewin, another teen who dies at the hands of Auschwitz murderers, reminds Krstyna that “a survivor is not a hero … a survivor is just a survivor.” With his eyes closed in painful recalling, MICHAEL MAYES voices Krystyna’s memories of him and what he and others like him suffered. He does so in a majestic baritone that rises from tortuous depths to a volume that startles and then backs off effortlessly, leaving in the air a memory now silenced no more.
What we saw and heard in a glimpse in Act One of MICHAEL MAYES as Manfred now becomes a tour de force performance in Act Two where he is the sole singer, bringing a range of vocals astounding to behold. He playfully flirts in lilted notes full of tease the aged Gad (and even mounts Gad’s bed with chest bare and hips pumping). But he also recalls in a powerful voice that strikes like a lightning bolt the screams of an eighteen-year-old’s death and of his own pain and terror being strung up on poles in “Der Singende Wald” (“the singing forest). When he finally utters in shaking voice how the horrors were “beyond comprehension,” that final word is sung with such a vibration of feelings to send shutters through the audience. . .
Finally, like the principals themselves who bring such proven talent to bear in these portrayals, JOSEPH MECHAVICH conducts with mastery an orchestra of six, each of whom plays beautifully, emotionally Jake Heggie’s poignant score. Each instrument has moments to speak its own truth and passion in recalling this important past; and together, they blend in a sound that sinks deep into one’s soul.” – Theater Eddys
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