© Rita Draper Frazão

Inner Tour is a blog about People, Arts and Traveling by Rita Draper Frazão.
If you want to use my work, presented here, please send me a message.

terça-feira, 8 de julho de 2014


Last day of the show, full house at Tivoli BBVA theater, and I was excited to see Brundibar Children's Opera.

I was going to draw live the play and wanted to make sure I was spontaneous enough; so I didn't check anything of the story before so that the drawings could be less influenced by previous information.

In the first moments, a documentary about the original cast of kids who participated in Brundibar (bumblebee in Czech slang) was shown. Its story is beautiful and the context is shocking. 

This opera was written by Hans Krása and the libretto done by Adolf Hoffmeister in 1938. It is also worth it to know a bit more about these two authors.

Hans Krása devoted his life to music and composition. Born in Prague, it seemed like he was just in the right spot to do so but his Jewish roots and anti-fascist ideas took him to Auschwitz where he was murdered on 1944, during the Holocaust. He was not yet 45 years old. Brundibar was his last work before he forcibly went to Auschwitz.

Adolf Hoffmeister managed to escape the Nazis, although he was is this role of fugitive almost all his life, first escaping from the Nazis, secondly escaping from the Russians when in 1968 they occupied Czechoslovakia. He lived in several countries and did many things in life, among them, he was an amazing fine artist. Check out some of his visual work here. He died with 71 years old in the 70's.

Brundibar premiered in 1942 in a Jewish orphanage in Prague for kids who had lost their parents during the war. Almost the whole original cast had been sent afterwords to Teresien Stadt, a place in the actual Czech Republic, nowadays called Teresín. Despite the harshness of the situation, the opera was a favorite and was performed there 55 times.

Brundibar is full of metaphors towards the Hitlerian regime (being Brundibar = Hitler) and it is still performed by many kids around the world nowadays. Who knows if its actuality doesn't suit for an Economical world crisis metaphor too.

The story is about two poor siblings who need milk to save their ill mother. In order to raise money, they start singing in the marketplace, but the local organ grinder, Brundibar doesn't like it a bit.

Meanwhile, thanks to a cat, a sparrow, a dog and the children of the school, they are able to finally send Brundibar away.

About 200 kids (students from the Lisbon Music National Conservatory) participated in this opera. I imagine rehearsing kids is a demanding task, but 200?! They were all outstanding, and touched me to the point I cried. (Alice and Benjamin I was so proud of you).

Bravo Bruno Cochat, Ruben Santos (Staging) and Teresa Cordeiro (Choir direction).

The orchestra also played an important role and I wanted to include some element of it on my drawing (the orchestra was directed by Francisco Sequeira). I chose the top of the double bass to represent the live music played, since in the middle of the dark of the orchestra pit, it was the only instrument I could see.

Thank you Uau and Helena Mascarenhas for your trust and enthusiasm with my work.

The most beautiful thing is when people are understood and can communicate happily; and all of you certainly did that.

Long Live Freedom :)

4 comentários:

  1. Excelente reportagem! Obrigada pela sua partilha tão devidamente comentada e documentada! Grata!
    Ass. Odete Almeida (tb mãe de uma miúdas participantes no espectáculo).

    1. Muito obrigada pelo seu comentário entusiasta! Apenas um esclarecimento: não sou mãe de nenhuma das crianças participantes :)

  2. Obrigada pelo artigo Rita! Gostei mesmo e só agora encontrei a sua mensagem com este link...não percebo como. As ilustrações são maravilhosas, tal e qual como me lembro das personagens em palco. Foi um trabalho grandioso para nós e ficámos muito orgulhosos de todos os alunos que participaram. Obrigada!

    1. Olá Teco, obrigada pela sua mensagem! De nada, foi um prazer ver este espetáculo e fazer estes desenhos!