Dear Erich — Jazz opera



Mahaiwe (14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230)

Members of the NYC Opera cast, accompanied by renowned jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal and his trio, perform Rosenthal’s jazz opera Dear Erich — a refugee story inspired by letters written in Germany between 1938 and 1941 by Herta Rosenthal to the composer’s father.

Erich, a Jewish academic, escapes Nazi Germany to the U.S. and a new life of studies, jazz, and love – while the deteriorating situation in Germany leads to his family’s cruel deaths at the hands of the Nazis. Frustrated and powerless to help them emigrate, Erich lives with deep survivor guilt which affects his relationships with his wife and children.

Dear Erich addresses these themes – walls and wars, refugees and immigrants, survivors and victims, the promise of a new world — and asks what is found when a survivor forms a new family, and what gets lost when the next generation is untethered from the past.

The opera’s scenes of immigration and refugees in crisis raise moral dilemmas that resound today, for the power of remembrance to honor the past, root the present and chart the future.

Rosenthal has performed worldwide as soloist, with his trio, and with many jazz greats, and composes music ranging from jazz tunes to orchestral works (two jazz piano concertos) and ballet scores.

The recipient of three NEA grants, Rosenthal has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and more. He has also been a featured soloist with major American orchestras including the Detroit Symphony. Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, he has released 15 albums as a leader, most recently Rhapsody in Gershwin.