LSM Newswire

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Silenced Voices: Exhibition in Dresden


Silenced Voices: The expulsion of the ›Jews‹ and the ›politically unacceptable‹ from Dresden’s theatres from 1933 to 1945


Dresden, 20th April 2011.

An exhibition, Silenced Voices:The expulsion of the ›Jews‹ and the ›politically unacceptable from Dresden’s theatres from 1933 to 1945 will officially open on 15th May at 6 pm in the Semperoper Dresden. The project will be presented by Hannes Heer (historian and exhibition curator), Gerhart Baum (formerly Germany’s Minister of the Interior and current Chairman of the Board of Trustees for »Silenced Voices«), Dr. Ulrike Hessler (General Manager of the Semperoper Dresden) and Wilfried Schulz (General Manager of the Staatsschauspiel Dresden). There will be performances by the Dresden String Quartet, soloists from the Semperoper Dresden and the State Opera Chorus as well as company members of the Staatsschauspiel (State Theatre) Dresden. The psychiatrist and family therapist Helm Stierlin will give a speech to open the exhibition. The opera house will be open from 4.30 pm on this day for those wishing to view the exhibits.

The Semperoper Dresden and the Staatsschauspiel Dresden are co-presenters of the research project and exhibition, Silenced Voices, which aims to bring to light a previously neglected chapter in the history of the Third Reich – the "cleansing" of Germany’s opera houses and theatres by the removal of "Jewish" and "politically unacceptable" company members. This process led to the dismissal, exile or deportation of many thousands of artists, including such figures as Fritz Busch and Kurt Weill. The exhibition coincides with the Dresden premiere of Kurt Weill’s opera Street Scene in June 2011

Silenced Voices was initially conceived in 2006 on behalf of Hamburg’s Abendblatt newspaper and Hamburg State Opera. Following an examination of the history of various theatres in Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart and Darmstadt, next year’s subject will be the Bayreuth Festival.

One small and already completed section of the exhibition examines the fates of 44 prominent composers, conductors, administrators and soloists. The second section is a case study being researched and produced in Dresden to reconstruct the history of the Semperoper and the Schauspielhaus in the period under investigation. The biographies of those who suffered persecution will be presented, including soloists at the opera house as well as stage actors and actresses. Many previously nameless victims will be spotlighted, such as chorus and orchestra members, conductors and rehearsal pianists, dramaturges and stage assistants, administrative staff and craftsmen, stagehands and cleaning staff – in fact all those involved in operatic and theatrical performance, both behind and in front of the stage.

The Semperoper and the Staatschauspiel Dresden will co-present the exhibition »Silenced Voices« from 15th May 2011 until the end of the season, in the opera house and the state theatre. The exhibition project is presented on behalf of Saxon State Opera and the Staatschauspiel Dresden in cooperation with the gallery Raskolnikow e.V. and realised with the assistance of exhibit ausstellungsprojekt europäische identität. The authors of the exhibition are Hannes Heer, Jürgen Kesting and Peter Schmidt. As in previous instances Hannes Heer is responsible for writing the case study, and along with Jens Hommel is co-director of the project.


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