Eva and the Angel of Death
A Holocaust Remembrance Opera
UPDATE: Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our donors, we were able to surpass our initial fundraising goal of $5,000 with 11 days remaining in the campaign! Due to how the overwhelming outpouring of support exceeded our expectations, we have decided to create a new stretch goal of $8,000 to further fund production costs. If reached, this stretch goal would allow us to have a professional-grade studio recording session of the opera at the Butler School of Music's Bates Recital Hall, so that the opera can be accessible for global audiences and posterity, in addition to communities in Austin. The project team is blown away by the community's generosity for Eva and the Angel of Death; let's keep the momentum going to create the best possible artistic experience!
Who We Are
My name is Thomas B. Yee—music composer, doctoral candidate, and Assistant Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin's Butler School of Music. Together with my project team partners Jacob Schnitzer (conductor, producer), Aiden K. Feltkamp (librettist), J. Page Stephens (lead vocalist), Margaret Jumonville (stage director), and Jesse Easdon (projection designer), I would like to share with you our vision for Eva and the Angel of Death, a Holocaust Remembrance opera about the long-term impact of Eva Mozes Kor's experience after surviving Auschwitz. The opera will be premiered in April 2020 by the Austin-based chamber orchestra Density512 at amidst a series of public events including:
These events support my artistic mission and specialization as a composer is to embody in music the stories of unsung heroes and perspectives from the Holocaust. My aim is to create aesthetic experiences that promote themes of social justice and racial reconciliation, bridge cultural gaps between Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and portray the unique experiences of Holocaust survivors and allied bystanders in their raw emotional intensity through the power of musical storytelling. Holocaust remembrance art immerses audiences in experiences from the past and invites them to confront vital questions applied to their own context. Eva and the Angel of Death is my doctoral dissertation at UT Austin, and the culmination of my work thus far as an artist.
Listen to an Aria from Eva and the Angel of Death
The project team's organizational partners include:
Eva Mozes Kor — Holocaust Survivor and Educator
The opera presents the powerful story of Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who, along with her twin sister Miriam, was subjected to sadistic medical experiments by Dr. Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. Fifty years after her liberation, Kor returned to Auschwitz and, to the surprise of many, announced to the world that she personally forgave the Nazis for what had been done to her. In 1995, Eva founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a mission to prevent prejudice and hatred through education about the Holocaust. Until her death on July 4, 2019, Eva was an active public speaker, community leader, champion of human rights, Holocaust awareness educator, and forgiveness advocate.
Listen to Eva Mozes Kor's Story (BuzzFeedVideo)
As we become removed in time from the Holocaust, it becomes increasingly important to preserve and share the stories of those who survived its horrors. Revisiting history through public acts of remembrance allows the communities of today to draw vital parallels between past and present, provocatively inviting audiences to confront difficult questions from history applied to their own lives. Eva and the Angel of Death presents Eva Mozes Kor's remarkable story about the long-term impact of her experience as a victim of Dr. Josef Mengele's medical experimentation, promoting remembrance and understanding of the Holocaust so that the event—and its moral lessons—are never forgotten. Eva's story facilitates reflection and action on contemporary issues of utmost relevance, including the dangers of otherizing (especially concerning ethnicity and race), the long-term psychological impact of trauma, and the possibility of forgiveness as a catalyst for healing and restoration of unity in our polarized cultural climate.
We Need Your Help
Eva and the Angel of Death is a significant opportunity to build community in Austin, Texas around a public act of Holocaust remembrance during the weekend before Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. We will present Eva Mozes Kor's immersive story and vital message to 500+ attendees at the Austin Central Public Library, a vibrant cultural hub in the heart of downtown Austin. The project's total budget is $33,140, and we need to raise $5,000 or more before December 20th so that the performances can be free and open to the public, maximizing the impact of Eva's message.
Funding needs include:
- Hiring 21 orchestral musicians, 5 vocalists, 1 conductor, 1 stage director, 1 projection designer, and 1 rehearsal pianist for 2 performances and 1 recording session.
- Professional audio-visual documentation (2 performances)
- Professional studio recording session
- Production costs: costume design, set design, equipment rental and transportation
Will you partner with us by donating at any level to make the Eva and the Angel of Death opera a reality? All contributions are tax-deductible, and 100% of your donation will go directly towards project funding needs.