For Evelina Merová, one of "The Girls of Room 28", it was an an absolutely unexpected event in 2016 to be invitated to St. Petersburg, as guest of the prestigious Mikhailovsky Theatre and their production of Brundibár, the children opera by Hans Krása and Adolf Hoffmeister.
The opera was brought on stage by the young and renowned opera-director Mstislav Pentkovsky. His ambitious production in cooperation with a professional theatre and ensemble turned into an outstanding one.
Several performances of Pentkovsky's production preceded in the Volgograd Music Theater and in the Moscow Philharmonic society. Historical photographs, children’s drawings from Theresienstadt, archival film footage were part of the project. In September 2015 his production was invited to the Czech Republic.
Mstislav Pentkovsky, who speaks fluent English, would love to stage Brundibár on a professional stage in Germany or Europe.
It ould be a wonderful chance to realize a project with this Russian stage-director and bring young people from different countries together. His production reveals an intensive research and passionate dealing with the topic of the Holocaust and the opera itself. This is why it turned into a highly professional, well elaborated and captivating production.
For his Brundibár project Pentkovsky was nominated for the State Prize for perfomances for children and young people in Russia.
In May 2016 Evelina Merová was invited to St. Petersburg to give testimony of her experiences.The Mikhailovsky Theatre produced a documentary with her which was shown before the performances of Brundibár in the Mikhailovsky Theatre.
Those who know Evelina's life-story will understand, that it was a very special event for Evelina, and surely also for the audience of the Brundibár-performances.
In September 1945, after terrible experiences in Auschwitz-Birkenau and working-camps, Evelina, who was born in Prague, had begun a new life in Leningrad, as an adoptive child of Dr. Mer and his wife. Leningrad/St. Petersburg became her new home, and Russian her second language. Evelina had lost all her family in the Holocaust.
So Evelina Merová is probably the only person who can tell in perfect Russian about Brundibár in the Theresienstadt Ghetto and about her experiences during the NS-occupation of her homeland, the Czech Republic, and her home-town Prague.
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