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Office of News and Information
212 Whitehead Hall / 3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2692
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

October 23, 1996
CONTACT: Leslie Rice

Performance at Hopkins to Remember Kristallnacht

Claudia Stevens' powerful one-woman musical drama, "An Evening With Madame F," will be performed at The Johns Hopkins University Sunday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Schafler Auditorium in the Bloomberg Center of the university's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. Admission is free. The performance is part of CultureFest '96: "The World within Our Reach," an annual festival of discussion, dance, demonstration and celebration of the many cultures that make up the Hopkins community. CultureFest '96 begins Nov. 7.

The performance takes place in observance of Kristallnacht, "The Night of the Broken Glass." The evening remembers Nov. 10, 1938, when at least 91 Jews were killed as rioters burned and destroyed Jewish synagogues, homes, and shops in Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht is especially significant because it marked a major turning point in the Nazi campaign against the Jews.

"An Evening with Madame F" is a powerful experience of music, song, and drama that depicts the experience of Fania Fenelon, an Auchwitz inmate forced to provide musical entertainment to the Nazis. Along with a group of other musician inmates, the main character performed show tunes and opera arias for concentration camp officials.

In her performance, Stevens conveys the awful struggle and ethical dilemma of the musicians. The show's musical score includes songs actually performed at Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. Along with the grim irony of cheerful show tunes and beautiful arias, the production also includes haunting songs of faith and reistance sung by the inmates. Ultimately, this is a story of spiritual survival through the act of expression.

"An Evening With Madame F" has had over 50 presentations in cities and college campuses nationwide, as well as production and broadcast by PBS Television. Stevens is also known to Baltimore audiences for her performance of "Playing Paradis," which received critical acclaim at the Baltimore Theater Project in 1994 and again in 1995.

Both of Stevens' parents were concentration camp survivors and following her performance, she will take questions from the audience about her parents' stories and how those experiences marked her and inspired her to create musical dramas about the Holocaust.

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