OYO is proud to announce our featured 2017 production will be Brundibár, a children’s opera composed in 1938 by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krasa. In 1942 it was performed once by the children of the Jewish orphanage in Prague but by 1943, Krasa and the residents of the orphanage had been transported to Theresienstadt concentration camp. While in the camp, Krasa revised his children’s opera, tailoring it for the children and thirteen adult instrumentalists in the camp who performed it, fifty-five times in all. Theresienstadt was Hitler’s “model camp”, the squalor of its conditions hidden from visitors by false facades. In 1944, a special performance of Brundibár was staged for International Red Cross inspectors to convince them that life in Hitler’s concentration camps was not brutal. Later that year, Brundibár was performed for the Nazi propaganda film “Hitler Gives the Jews a City” perpetuating a repulsive and regrettably successful hoax upon the world. Immediately after the filming was finished, all the participants, children and adults alike, were sent to Auschwitz where most were gassed upon arrival. Fewer than twenty of the many children who had participated in Brundibár survived the war. After the death of Krasa and the liberation of the camp, the opera fell out of sight, but not forever.