Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin

Created and conducted by Maestro Murry Sidlin, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín features a full performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass. The performance includes actors, historic film footage from Terezín and interviews with original chorus members relating the full, impassioned story of how and why these Jewish prisoners, who faced death every day, chose to learn and perform the Verdi Requiem during their darkest hours.

The story of Terezín unfolds between each section of the Verdi score. The concert/drama explains through music, personal survivor testimony and narration why the performances in 1943 and 1944 provided a beacon of hope and survival for the prisoner choir and its audience.

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín has been performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Lincoln Center in New York City; in Jerusalem as part of the Israel Festival in May 2012; before an audience of 5,000 in Budapest in 2010; at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague; and in Terezín itself. The concert was performed in Berlin on March 4, 2014.

The Defiant Requiem Foundation, in partnership with Partisan
Pictures, produced Defiant Requiem, a moving and powerful feature-
length documentary film that has been broadcast on PBS and on BBC4 in the U.K. The film tells the inspirational story of how and why conductor Rafael Schächter recruited a chorus of 150 fellow prisoners and taught them the powerful and enormously demanding Verdi Requiem by rote. Narrated by actor Bebe Neuwirth, the film has received numerous awards nationwide and received two Emmy Nominations in 2014.

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