Anne is Anne Frank, the fifteen-year-old Jewish girl who died in Auschwitz after two years of hiding in an attic in Amsterdam. Zef is Zef Bunga, an Albanian boy her age, killed in a family feud that forced him to hide out at home for two years. Two youths, one real-life experience and another experience imagined in a possible reality, their earthly events separated in time and space but united by a single destiny: a life prematurely broken by the violence of adults. Meeting in an afterlife that reflects their eternal youth, and getting to know one another with the fun, levity and irreverence typical of their age, they share their stories and the new destiny that awaits them.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Dutch versatile musician Monique Krüs likes to connect and engage. Next to the more traditional soprano-repertoire she loves to sing contemporary music. Her colorful compositions encompass opera, music theatre, chamber music, lieder, works for choir, music for media. A large part of her work contains educational elements.
Monique Krüs studied psychology at the University of Utrecht, combining a preparatory year of classical guitar studies at the Conservatoire of Utrecht. At the same time she had her own jazztrio and wrote and produced the title song of the first movie of Oscar-winner Mike van Diem. Hereafter she auditioned for solo voice at the Utrecht Conservatoire, where she discovered her affection for opera and new music. She finished her studies with one year opera class at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. As a composer she is completely self-taught.
Interview: Monique Krüs
ABOUT THE SOLOISTS
Moving and lively opera music (...) Especially Anne’s theme on the viola is heartbreaking. De Volkskrant -
Dutch-Iranian soprano Lilian Farahani (1990) received her first singing lessons from Marjan Kuiper and won several awards at the Princess Christina Concours in 2007. She went on to study with Sasja Hunnego during her bachelor studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In 2012, she graduated cum laude with distinction “for the great talent as a singer and as a stage performer”. She continued her studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with vocal coach Sasja Hunnego. In June 2015, she graduated cum laude from the Dutch National Opera Academy (DNOA). Currently she is coached by Ira Siff and Hans Pieter Herman. She participated in master classes with Margreet Honig, Miranda van Kralingen, Dany Zonewa, Lynne Dawson, Dennis O’Neill and Raúl Giménez. In Anne & Zef she plays the role of Anne Frank.
Interview: Lilian Farahani
What I like about Anne & Zef especially with regard to (…) Anne Frank, is how with a certain simplicity you can still tell a very intense story.
Lilian Farahani, Anne
It’s great to be in this production and do an opera while I’m still studying just as I hope to do once I graduate.
Benjamin de Wilde, Zef
In order to compress it into a libretto, from an opera text, we had to throw out a lot, until we had about one-tenth of the original text left.
Monique Krüs, composer
Dutch baritone Benjamin de Wilde (1994) studied with bariton Pierre Mak and coach David Bollen at the conservatory of Amsterdam. He followed masterclasses with Udo Reinemann and Margreet Honig. His interest for classical music was developed when he performed the Matthaus Passion as a child. In Anne & Zef he plays the role of Zef Bunga.
Prior to his study he participated in several productions. In 2014 he sang the part of Morales in Carmen.
Interview: Benjamin de Wilde
Audio: Scene 11
In the production Anne & Zef we implemented an innovative format, Multimedia concert stories, collaborating with other art forms such as video and live technology.
During the performance digital animation is played in the background to help the young audience contextualize the story.