Richmond Hill Ont

Article excerpt

In partnership with the Holocaust Education Centre and the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto, Opera York staged And The Rat Laughed, by composer Ella Milch-Sheriff, based on the novel by Israeli writer Nava Semel, a child of Holocaust survivors. The opera, believed to be the first Hebrew opera in North America, received three performances during Holocaust Education Week Nov. 5-8.

The story takes place over three time g periods, beginning in 2099, when "paralysis of emotions is balanced by storytellers Z [deftly sung by baritone Andrew Tees and soprano Melanie Gall] embedded with memory chips." The story then moves on to 1999 when a grandchild (Angela Burns), working on a school assignment, asks her grandmother (sympathetically portrayed by mezzo Adriana Albu) about the family's past. The grandmother recounts the horror she lived through as a young girl (memorably acted by Einat Aronstein), when she hid from the Nazis on a farm. Totally alone, her only companion was a rat she befriended. A local Catholic priest, sung by baritone Dion Mazerolle in a powerful performance, eventually saves her. …