Critic’s Choice

By David Fleshler

Photo: Lynn Lane/Houston Grand Opera

Photo: Lynn Lane/Houston Grand Opera

The biggest opera event of the season takes place Saturday night at the Arsht Center in Miami, with Florida Grand Opera‘s opening night performance of the Holocaust drama The Passenger.

Written by Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg, the work takes place aboard an ocean liner bound for Brazil, where a woman who had served as an SS officer thinks she recognizes a female passenger who is a former prisoner at Auschwitz. The opera takes place on a huge double-decker set, where the upper level portrays the glamorous world of the ocean liner and the lower one shows the barracks and railroad tracks of the concentration camp.

The work has generated intense interest among audiences and critics in performances in New York, Chicago and other cities, not only for the power of the music and plot, but for its revival after decades of suppression by authorities in the Soviet Union, where the composer lived after fleeing the Nazis.

David Pountney’s original 2010 production initiated the work’s revival, and the British director will direct his staging in Miami. The production stars mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas as the former SS officer Liese, soprano Adrienn Miksch as the camp inmate Marthe, and tenor David Danholt as Liese’s husband Walter, with Steven Mercurio conducting.

The Passenger opens 7 p.m. Saturday at the Arsht Center and runs through April 9.; 800-741-1010.

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Wed Mar 30, 2016
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