***Advance ticket sales for both performances are now closed. There are tickets available at the door for both Saturday and Sunday (Adult: $30; student: $10). Thank you for your support!***
Gabriolans have a rare opportunity to see this extraordinary new opera at the Phoenix Auditorium.
Lulu, in collaboration with Gabriola Songs, is pleased to present I Have My Mother’s Eyes: A Holocaust Memoir Across Generations, an opera based on a Vancouver family’s holocaust memoir of the same title by Barbara Ruth Bluman. The concert will also feature a Traditional Japanese Musical Performance.
Composed & produced by Rita Ueda, with librettist Rodney Robertson, the opera features international cast and musicians:
Barbara Ebbeson, mezzo soprano (Canada): Zosia/Barbara/Danielle Bluman
Naomi Sato, shō (Netherlands, Japan): spirit of Yukiko Sugihara
Reison Kuroda, shakuhachi (Japan): spirit of Chiune Sugihara
Megumi Masaki, piano/narrator (Canada)
Miyama McQueen-Tokita, koto (Australia, Japan)
Marc Destrubé, violin (Canada)
Sungyong Lim, cello (Canada)
In 1940, Chiune Sugihara, Japan’s vice-consul in Lithuania, issued travel visas that saved the lives of an estimated 21,000 Jewish families desperate to escape Nazi persecution. His story of quiet heroism was documented by his wife, Yukiko in her poetry collection, Visas for Life. Their son and granddaughter, Hiroki and Madoka, have worked hard to keep the memory of their deeds alive.
Zosia Bluman and her husband, Natek, were rescued by Sugihara’s visas. Beating the odds, they arrived safely in Vancouver, where they lived long and productive lives, contributing greatly to the fabric of Canadian society. Their daughter, Barbara Ruth Bluman, wrote the memoir I Have My Mother’s Eyes to honour both the heroism of Sugihara’s defiance and her parents’ courage and tenacity. Granddaughter Danielle helped keep their memory alive by completing the family memoir upon her mother’s death from cancer.
The intergenerational bond between the Bluman and Sugihara families demonstrates the invisible links forged across time and space by Chiune and Yukiko Sugihara, whose legacy of compassion still reverberates strongly around the globe.
Rita Ueda: composer & producer
Rodney Robertson: librettist
Megumi Masaki: curator
Heather Pawsey: director
Jennifer Tham: conductor
Victoria Bell: art & lighting director
Allyson McGrane: production manager
George Bluman: story consultant
Thanks to: Madoka Sugihara
Duration: 75 minutes (no intermission)
Funders: Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Canadian Music Centre (BC)
Partner Organizations: Chutzpah! Festival (lead presenter), Powell Street Festival Society (co-presenter), Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Society (Collaborating Partner), Canadian Music Centre (BC), Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre