Category: The Rosenbergs
The North American premiere of The Rosenbergs—produced by Boston University and Brandeis University, and presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) in 2018—has been selected for the second annual IOTF: The International Online Theatre Festival. The Festival performance of The Rosenbergs was filmed during the opera’s run at BPT, and is available for free online until May 15.
This tragic love story—set during the United States’ Communist witch-hunt of the 1950s—is based on the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed for atomic espionage. The Rosenbergs features a score by Joachim Holbek and a libretto by Rhea Leman. Dmitry Troyanovsky directed the production with musical direction by Cristi Catt. Christie Lee Gibson and Brian Church portray Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
A conversation with members of the creative team of The Rosenbergs will be held on May 10 at 2 p.m. EDT in the Festival’s “Zoom Room.” Details: https://thetheatretimes.com/
The Rosenbergs was generously supported by the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University, the Jewish Cultural Endowment at Boston University, the Brandeis Arts Council, the Boston University Center for the Humanities, and through an arts grant from the BU Arts Initiative—Office of the Provost.
Review from The Patriot Ledger
BOSTON - Opera comes in many sizes. On one end, there are the grand-stage, orchestra-in-the-pit, audience-in-Sunday-best operas. On the other, a few singers in a room, with a piano.
In between there’s chamber opera - a modest amount of instruments, a small cast of singers, simple sets. This version can be the most accessible, and the most rewarding. “The Rosenbergs (An Opera),” onstage now at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, proves it.
Russian conspiracies, once again, keep us awake at night as they did during the Cold War era. Sharp political divisions, media hysteria, fears about national security, paranoid theories, and a climate of free-floating anxiety all make for a perfect moment to revisit the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. How does the story of the Rosenbergs resonate with the current moment?
Early in the opera, defending social justice, equality, and a society without bigotry, Julius and Ethel sound like today’s progressive Millennials. The youthful left-wing couple bonds over their shared dream of escaping the poverty of the Lower East Side tenements and of building “a world that doesn’t thrive on hate.” Friendship, transparency, and cooperation between nations seem like an achievable goal. While sympathizing with the values of international Communism, Julius and Ethel, espouse an all American creed of optimism, hope, and the pursuit of self-fulfillment. “We’ll change the world… find something of our own,” sings Julius. Apparently Marxism and the American dream are not dissimilar in their utopian implications. More