The Defiant Requiem
The Defiant Requiem

Apr 29, 2013

The Concert Performance of
Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín

The box office will open for group sales on January 28 at 10:00am for groups purchasing a minimum of 10 seats and no more than 50. Group tickets are on sale ONLY via Centercharge by calling 212-721-6500 or by visiting the Avery Fisher Hall box office at 64th Street and Columbus Avenue. The box office will open to the public for individual ticket purchases on February 4 at 10:00am. Individual tickets may be purchased by calling Centercharge, online or in person at the box office.


The Concert Performance of

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín


Co-Produced by The Defiant Requiem Foundation; UJA-Federation of New York and Selfhelp Community Services, Inc.


The signature concert of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, tells the story of the courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (Terezín) during World War II who performed the famous Verdi Requiem while experiencing the depths of human degradation. With only a smuggled score, they performed the famous oratorio sixteen times, including one performance before senior SS officials from Berlin and a Red Cross delegation in 1943. Conductor Rafael Schächter told the choir, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”


The concert was conceived and created by Foundation President, Maestro Murry Sidlin. The concert combines the magnificent music of Verdi with video testimony from survivors of the original Terezín chorus and footage from a Nazi propaganda film on Theresienstadt. The performance also includes actors who speak the words of imprisoned conductor Rafael Schächter and other prisoners.


This is not just another performance of the Verdi Requiem, but a tribute to the inspired leadership of Rafael Schächter who was forced to reconstitute the choir three times as members were transported to Auschwitz. The performances came to symbolize resistance and defiance and demonstrated the prisoners’ courage to confront the worst of mankind with the best of mankind. The performance is powerful, dramatic and inspirational, with a contemporary message of hope.


This concert was most recently performed in Jerusalem as part of the Israel Festival in May 2012. It has also been performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC in October 2010, in Terezín itself as the closing ceremony of the 2009 Conference on Holocaust Reparations, attended by 46 nations. It has been performed before an audience of 5000 in Budapest and will be performed at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague on June 6, 2013. The concert was performed at the Berkshire Music Festival on July 21, 2012 and with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on October 11, 2012.


The New York premiere performance of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín is co-sponsored by The Defiant Requiem Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York and Selfhelp Community Services Inc. We are grateful for the support of The Pershing Square Foundation; Shelley and Steven Einhorn; Patti Askwith Kenner; Mrs. Ilse Melamid and the Leo Model Foundation. Thanks to their generous support, all proceeds from sponsorships and ticket sales will directly benefit the UJA Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors. The honorary concert chairs are Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, The Honorable Madeleine Albright and Elie Wiesel. Concert co-chairs are William A. Ackman, Patti Askwith Kenner and Carol Levin. A pre-concert reception for sponsors will honor Ernest W. Michel. For additional information, please contact Louisa Hollman at lhollman@defiantrequiem.org or Jessica Chait at chaitj@ujafedny.org.