The drama examines the moral dilemma of those who played music to survive the Holocaust.
PORTLAND – Claudia Stevens, a nationally known pianist-singer-actor will perform “Madame F,” an examination of the life and death experience of music performance in concentration camps, Sunday April 25 at Temple Beth El.

The performance is free and open to the public in honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.

“An Evening with Madame F” is a musical drama created by Claudia Stevens for her own performance. Adopting the persona of an elderly concentration camp musician who performed at Auschwitz, Stevens uses music actually played and sung by women inmates, as well as firsthand accounts to depict the struggle and moral dilemma of those who survived by prostituting their art.

The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Stevens also meditates on the issue of treating the Holocaust as the subject for artistic expression.

One of the most honored Holocaust-related performances before the public, “An Evening with Madame F” has been presented in more than 100 communities and at universities, including Cornell, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Brown, Michigan, Emory and at the LBJ Library of the University of Texas. Produced for television by PBS affiliate WCVE, it was also broadcast over “Voice of America.” Stevens was commissioned to create this work by the Richmond, Va., Jewish Federation.

A native of California, Stevens holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a master’s degree in musicology from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in musicial arts from Boston University. She has held academic, conducting and performing arts positions at Williams College, the University of Richmond and the College of William and Mary.

As a pianist and composer she was presented in concert at Carnegie Recital Hall, was the featured artist on several “Performance Today on NPR” broadcasts, and has recorded for and published compositions in “Perspectives of New Music.”

Stevens has performed more than 30 world premieres, including works by Shulamit Ran, Samuel Adler, Vivian Fine, Virgil Thomson and David Diamond. She is a recognized scholar of Robert Schumann, as well as 20th century American music.

In recent years, Stevens has created a unique, rich and varied body of works, several produced by Public Television and National Public Radio and in current publication, which she performs at major venues nationwide.

The April 25 performance will begin at 1 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

For tickets or more information, contact the Jewish Community Alliance at 772-1959.


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