DEAR ERICH: A JAZZ OPERA BY TED ROSENTHAL
This jazz opera tells the heartbreaking story of a family's dual fates: a son's journey and a new life in the New World, and the cruel demise of his family at the hands of the Nazis which he was powerless to stop.
Erich Rosenthal (AM’42, PhD’48), a retired professor, is old and ill. He spends his days mostly isolated, attended by his nurse, Carmelita. He drifts in and out of consciousness, having "conversations" with Herta, his dead mother. Before he dies, Erich needs to resolve if he did enough to try to save her and the family from the Nazis. Adding to his misery, he was never able to learn her final fate. Erich's adult children, Freddy and Hannah, knowing their father is ill, dutifully visit.
But the relationship among all three is strained and distant. Erich's survivor guilt and unwillingness to share himself and his history cause much of the family strife. Erich hints at his dilemma to his children. Freddy and Hannah remind him that they know nothing of the family he lost. Erich reluctantly agrees to share his past.
Flashback to Germany, 1938, Erich is ordered to leave his school because he is Jewish. Erich runs home, hurt and bewildered. Friedrich, his father, does not understand Erich's interest in academia and wants Erich to forget about school and join the family scrap metal business. But Erich tells Friedrich he has been accepted with a fellowship to the University of Chicago and that he will leave Germany.
Please use this link to learn more: May 3, 2019, Westchester Reform Temple - Dear Erich Excerpts and Talkback with Ted Rosenthal,