The Passenger – Houston Grand Opera

The “Passenger” is an opera that is beautifully presented by music and voice, and tells a story that needs to continually be told. The atrocities of World War II are slowly fading away and completely dismissed by some societies.

The set was well conceived, with the deck of an ocean liner constructed above the concentration camp, Auschwitz. The story takes place in the early 1960’s aboard the ocean liner carrying Walter, a German diplomat and his wife, Liese to Brazil where Walter will take a diplomatic post. Liese, who’s past includes being a SS guard in Auschwitz which is unknown to her husband, sees a woman, Marta, on the ship who was under Liese’s control in the concentration camp. She is not absolutely sure it is Marta. Marta and Liese interacted in the camp and Liese sent her to sure death because Liese refused her offer to see her fiancé, Tadeusz. Tadeusz is sent to his sure death and Marta is sent to what Liese thought would be her sure death. However. Marta survived.

Liese was distraught with whom she thought was Marta on the ship and told her husband about her past. He became incensed because he would be ruined because he had married a SS guard. His love for his wife overcame his fear of detection and as a team, they faced the possible consequences and went to a dance on the ship.
Marta was there and requested the dance orchestra to play a waltz that Taduesz , an accomplished violinist, had played for her in Auschwitz. It was the waltz Taduesz played for her instead of a waltz that had been requested by the camp commandant. The waltz confirmed Marta’s identity.

In the last scene, Marta who was not married and traveling single, sings of her memories of Taduesz and remembers all of the Jews who did not survive in the camp. She implores us to not forget all of those who suffered.

She is right. We should not forget.

The Passenger will be on from January 18-Feb 2, 2014 at the Wortham Center. Find out more at www.houstongrandopera.org/thepassenger

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