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Concerts
The 76th Season of Concerts 2017–2018
New York Opera Society

September 24 at 3:30
West Building, West Garden Court

Letters from Ruth by Gisle Kverndokk and Aksel-Otto Bull
World premiere staged concert

Music by Gisle Kverndokk, libretto by Aksel-Otto Bull and Gisle Kverndokk, based on Ruth Maier’s Diary: A Young Jewish Girl’s Life under Nazism, edited by Jan Erik Vold. Commisioned by Musikkteaterforum, Norway

An exceptionally talented writer and painter who kept a diary her whole life, Ruth Maier was born in 1920 and grew up in Vienna, Austria. She immersed herself in the theater, literature, and fine arts. In 1939 Ruth fled to Norway to escape Nazi persecution and lived with a family in Lillestrøm, just outside Oslo. She learned to speak Norwegian fluently, and in 1941 she met the young, budding poet Gunvor Hofmo, who became her intimate friend and lover. They had a stormy relationship that lasted until Ruth was deported with Norwegian Jews in November 1942. Ruth was killed in the gas chamber of Auschwitz upon her arrival. Gunvor became one of Norway’s greatest poets, and kept Ruth’s diaries, which were discovered after Gunvor’s death in 1995. Ruth’s diaries were published in 2007 and edited by the Norwegian poet Jan Erik Vold. In this staged concert the New York Opera Society premieres selections from the new opera in advance of its world premiere.

Celebrating Edvard Munch: Color in Context

Alisa Jordheim, who portrays Ruth. Photo by Model Day Studios, Oslo

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