The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Is a fan of the Florida Grand Opera (FGO), and its admiration is apparent. The arts org is gifting $20,000 to the FGO, all to help support The Passenger, a powerful, historically relevant production that revolves around the Holocaust and its aftermath.
The award is the second major grant announcement of 2015, and one of 1,023 awards the NEA will make in this funding round, totaling $74.3 million nationwide.
The opera takes place post World War II, on an ocean liner. One of the passengers, a former guard at Auschwitz (unbeknownst to her husband) thinks she recognizes a fellow traveler as a captive from the camps. Written in a myriad of languages, it's sung in Russian, German, Polish, French, Yiddish, Greek, Czech, and English, making it accessible and relevant across different communities.
“The Passenger continues in FGO’s commitment to bring thought provoking repertoire to the South Florida Community," says Susan T. Danis, General Director & CEO of FGO. "This opera is truly unlike any other work on the FGO stage in decades. This powerful story is one that the families of many Miami residents have endured, with some Miami residents having actually lived it first-hand. Through this production and the community events surrounding it, we will be able to reach new audiences and create new avenues for engagement with this magnificent piece. It is our hope that this opera and its story connect deeply with Miami’s diverse community and create a lasting cultural impact.”
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Along with the production, which is scheduled for 2016, FGO is planning a whole host of community outreach programs to help Miamians connect to the production's themes.
These include Spoken and Sung, where UM graduate students and FGO Young Artists will perform scenes from the opera and the play on which the opera is based, The Passenger from Cabin 45; Community Conversations, a panel discussion about the horrors of the Holocaust; Pasa?erka, a film presentation of the 1963 film based on the aforementioned play; The Greatest Russian Composer You Have Never Heard of, Mieczys?aw Weinberg, a program designed to explore one of Russia's most prolific, and underrated composers; and That’s Easy for You to Say, an exploration of language in opera.
The Passenger is scheduled to run April 2-9, 2016, at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard.