Directed from the piano by Lada Valešová, tenor Nicky Spence and the Navarra Quartet perform Pavel Haas’s song cycle Fata Morgana Op. 6 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, streamed on Opera Holland Park’s YouTube and Facebook channels from 6pm on Wednesday 27 January.

The performance will be preceded by a reflection on remembrance from the acclaimed author, Howard Jacobson.

Born in Brno in 1889, Pavel Haas studied composition with Leoš Janáček and was one of the leading Czech composers of his generation. In Fata Morgana, a 1923 setting of love poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, the influence of Janáček can be heard alongside Haas’s distinctive voice.

In 1941 Haas was interned in the Terezin concentration camp, together with composers Gideon Klein, Hans Krasa and Viktor Ullmann. In October 1944 all four were deported to Auschwitz, where Haas, Ullmann and Krasa were killed on arrival. Klein was sent from Auschwitz to Fürstengrube, where he died in January 1945. The family tree of Bohemian and Moravian musical life was severed and the music of a generation of Czech composers slipped into obscurity.

The novelist and journalist Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester in 1942. He has published more than twenty volumes of fiction and non-fiction, alongside trenchant essays, columns and criticism. In his introduction to Opera Holland Park’s film for Holocaust Memorial Day, Jacobson reflects on memory, denial, truth and disinformation.

James Clutton, Chief Executive and Director of Opera at Opera Holland Park, says:

“I have long wanted the company to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in some way. I am grateful to Nicky Spence, the Navarra Quartet and Lada Valešová for creating this performance, and especially grateful to Howard Jacobson for writing words of unparalleled rigour and emotional power for our film.”

The film by Simon Wall will be premiered on Opera Holland Park’s Facebook and YouTube channels at 6pm on Wednesday 27 January 2021 and will then be available to watch on demand.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year in memory of the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. For more information visit https://www.hmd.org.uk/