Heine: First They Burn Books

In 1831, Heinrich Heine, perhaps the greatest of all the German Romantic poets, left Germany for Paris, where he lived the rest of his life as a political exile. His works had been banned in his native country as a result of his radical and publicly aired political beliefs. His conversion to Christianity, which was seen by many of his intimates as a betrayal of his Jewish heritage, further exacerbated his isolation. Heine’s works were later banned by the Nazis and his grave in Montmartre was destroyed.

With a script based on Heine’s writings, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Wagner’s infamous essay Jewishness in Music, this theatrical concert examines censorship in Heine’s time and beyond, into the Nazi period. Works of the “degenerate” composers banned by the Nazis, as well as some of Schubert and Schumann’s extraordinary settings of Heine’s poems, create a concert experience infused with political drama.

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Written by Eve Wolf
Directed by Donald T. Sanders
Set & Costumes by Vanessa James
Lighting Design by Beverly Emmons

May 7 & 9, 2009

The Liederkranz Foundation
6 East 87th Street, NY, NY