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THE UNDERWATER CABARET

THE DRAMA ONSTAGE AND BEHIND THE CURTAIN

PROJECT

DESCRIPTION

Curt Bloch hid from the Nazis in a crawl space in Enschede, Netherlands for more than two years. His protectors brought sustenance and clothing, as well as - at his request - newspapers, scissors, glue, and pens. With these, Bloch produced 95 issues of a satirical magazine called "The Underwater Cabaret."

 

Using collage, poetry, and song, Bloch ridiculed the Nazis and their collaborators, twisting their own propaganda against them. Amazingly, all 95 issues of the magazine survived his captivity.

Pending approval, this project would juxtapose the exuberantly defiant cabaret in Bloch's own words, with the drama unfolding "backstage" - the terror of being hunted, the boredom and isolation of being in hiding, an unrequited love with a fellow captive, and the explosion of vindication and joy at the war's end. 

Read the New York Times article about Bloch, his magazine, and an upcoming exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

VENUE, CASTING, & ORCHESTRATION

CURT  in hiding/the Cabaret's writer/composer  ………………………… Baritone

OLA  in hiding; Curt's love interest/leading lady ……………………….  Soprano

BRUNO  in hiding; Ola's boyfriend/ Cabaret MC…………………….. Tenor

BERTUS caretaker/Cabaret Stage Manager …………………………….  Bass

ALEIDA caretaker/Cabaret Director ............................................... Mezzo-soprano

Ensemble - SATB (minimum of eight singers), potential for dancers and/or supernumaries.


This opera features flexible orchestration options: piano, bass, and drums; a 6-piece Cabaret band; or a 13-piece chamber orchestra.  It can be adapted to traditional stages, intimate black boxes, dive bars,  multi-purpose public venues, private parlors, and other non-traditional spaces. Anticipated running time is between 70 - 110 minutes.

THE MUSIC

The opera will be lyrically robust and compositionally sophisticated with solo moments that will challenge young singers, while providing accomplished professionals the opportunity to lend the material their distinctive voices. Drawing from the composer's operatic and Jazz sensibilities, the writing features a rich harmonic palate, intricate contrapuntal dialogues, and a rhythmic fluidity that transitions seamlessly from recitativo to choral ensemble, to aria. 

THE COMPOSER

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Frank Pesci’s compositions have been performed across North America and Europe. He has written nearly 100 works for the concert stage, including forty choral works, eleven song cycles, nearly twenty chamber and concert scores, and five operas. He lives in Cologne, Germany.

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