The afternoon will feature a rare opportunity to experience The Dallas Opera Orchestra on stage as they perform Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor: “Babi Yar,” op. 113 by Dmitri Shostakovich.
A ravine outside the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, a chasm that no amount of tears can ever heal, became one of the most notorious “killing fields” on the eastern front of World War II: Babi Yar. It was here that a series of brutal massacres was carried out, that took the lives of an estimated 70 to 150 thousand people—most of them Jews.
Two decades after this infamous slaughter, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich turned his attention to the “loathsome” problem of anti-Semitism, inspired by Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s searing 1961 poem, “Babi Yar.” The controversial project, which skewered many aspects of Soviet life in addition to the horrors committed during the Nazi occupation, overcame every obstacle to premiere in Moscow in December 1962. Described as “a symphonic cantata” and “orchestral song cycle,” this highly original work is a symphony in both structure and in scope, and today is regarded as one of the composer’s most deeply personal works of art.
The afternoon will begin with a performance of Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, composed for the 1806 Viennese revival of his only opera, Fidelio, another work forged in the fires of suffering and oppression, yet, ultimately triumphant.