The Passenger Reviews
The Passenger, November 2015
John Toth – Brighton Twp
Powerful, moving and thought provoking.
Debi Bernstein-Siegel – Bloomfield Hills
Extremely powerful work. I am so glad that this production was seen in Detroit. The set was amazing. It became its own character. The entire cast was amazing. Bravo to MOT for bringing this to our stage at the Opera House.
Robert Hamel – Brighton Twp
Too long. Felt like penance. Good voices. Interesting music. Needed to be a third less. Libretto need editing.
Ellen Labes – Bloomfield Hills
“The Passenger” was the most emotionally draining, powerful opera I’ve ever seen and one that should be seen by everyone! It handled the very difficult topic with honesty, grace and respect. The set was amazing, the acting superb and the voices magnificent. Bravo to MOT for offering this unforgettable work!
Bill Betz – Clinton Twp
The production was great, the sets, orchestra, singers, lighting, etc. The story was downright depressing, we did not enjoy it one bit. We kept looking for something good to happen but it never did. If it ever comes back we will give our tickets away.
Harriet Saperstein – Detroit
Superb production of a story we still need reminding about. Watching it was particularly relevant because of what had just happened in Paris, where once again, fanaticism and evil, directed against innocent people, has found a way to create fear and try to tear apart a society.
In terms of the experience of the performance itself, all I can say is “WOW”. Yes, it is tough to watch. Yes, it is very long (but I wouldn’t know what to cut). Yes, the music is superb and unremittingly powerful, the staging and the singing excellent. (The set is indeed a character – as mobile and as good as the performers themselves.) Yes, we will rarely have the opportunity to see – no, to experience- a powerful opera like this. Yes, be prepared to think about the story afterwards, and see and hear it in your thoughts and (hopefully) conversations with others. Yes, attend one of the three remaining performances. You may never get this opportunity again.
From the first drumbeats to the quiet saddened ending, the audience was enraptured. Not a cough, not a sound, but attention to what was coming from the stage and (at least for me) amazement at how the music -and the staging- reflected the characters and the actual experiences of the horror that was Auschwitz and the Hitlerian/Nazi era. I am glad to know the author of the original story (Zofia Posmysz) is still alive, has been able to see the opera, and knows that her story has been enlarged and expanded to help us “never forget’. I am sorry to know that the composer (Mieczyslaw Weinberg) died young, and never was able to see his work performed. His music is so powerful! He clearly would have contributed more to the world’s memorable and meaningful musical tradition if he had the opportunity to live a longer life. Thank you MOT for bringing the opera here. Hard as it was to watch, I strongly recommend that those who have any interest in music, opera, history, attend the three remaining performances.
Barbara Williams – Warren
Intense, even grueling–and rightfully so–musical and dramatic experience. Among the many standouts were the orchestra (which did not overwhelm the singers), the ensemble of women inmates and the star-crossed lovers portrayed by Adrienn Miksch and Marian Pop. I so appreciate MOT’s programming of contemporary and experimental works along with the classics. More, please!
Jim Wessel Walker – Ann Arbor
Very powerful and draining. The whole production was stunning. We are still discussing the plot. What a night!
Dr R James Gregg – E Bloomfield
Too depressing and too long
Didn’t enjoy it at all
Joseph Palazzolo – Ferndale
I loved the music…very dramatic and interesting. I love Weinberg’s orchestrations….The sets were amazing. The singing was great. It was way too long…particularly a couple scenes in the second act could have been excerpted. The production overall was very good.
Jennifer Barrymore – New Hudson
Phenomenal experience! I found the emotionally charged performances was able to express the true pain, suffering and doubt that was experienced during this tragedy in the best way I have ever observed.
Carole – Farmington Hills
While I thought the cast was excellent and did a powerful job on a difficult subject, the opera was very heavy and dark and difficult to watch. I also thought it was a bit too long. Very good set.
Terry – Grosse Pointe
I saw The Passenger at the Lyric Opera of Chicago earlier this year. MOT used the same massive set and production. The major role of Liese was sung by Daveda Karanas in both performances. She was excellent in Chicago, but even better in Detroit. The Passenger is powerful and disturbing. I think that MOT’s performance last night was superior to the one I saw in Chicago. Part of that had to do with the smaller size of our theatre which meant that one was close to the stage and could really see the protagonists and empathize with their struggle for existence and dignity in Auschwitz. David DiChiera is to be congratulated for assembling a superb ensemble cast. There were no weak links and each singer made a strong impression when they had the spotlight. Even known singers like the excellent Angela Theis were virtually unrecognizable, so thoroughly had they immersed themselves in their roles. The excellent wigs and makeup certainly helped. Marta was portrayed by Adrienn Miksch. Her solo was a vocal highlight; beautiful and moving. The huge orchestra conducted by Detroit favorite, Steven Mercurioo, never overwhelmed the singers. Had composer Weinberg lived to see his opera performed he probably would have made some judicious cuts to tighten up its pace . While not an opera that people will want to see often, Detroiters interested in engrossing theatre should take advatage of this opportunity. The Passenger is thought provoking, engrossing and MOT’s production should not be missed. It’s overwhelming.
Hank – Dearborn
Mary – Auburn Hills
I loved the music and how it so accurately reflected the story and the stage action. Adrienn Miksch as Marta is a marvel. How she is able to sing that role so often is amazing. She is wonderful.
Jaroslaw Golembiowski – Chicago
Thank you MOT for staging this magnificent opera. It is always good to learn more about our history. Each generation explorers this tragic events through their own perspective. In order to understand this opera I recommend to watch La Passagerra (Pasazerka) by Andrzej Munk and Kornblumenblau (1988) by Leszek Wosiewicz. For only English-speaking audience I recommend to explore The Walls Speaks Project. The audience must be prepared for this difficult and uneasy theme.
Bringing contemporary operas and music to theaters and concert halls will definitely revive these noble institutions and let the contemporary composers to see their creative output before they die.
Cecilia Johnson – Toledo
I was extremely moved and rightfully shaken by MOT’s riveting production of this important opera. Everything about the production was of top quality. The performers – both on stage and in the pit, were outstanding. The set was a work of genius. The music and the libretto served so well the grim reminder of evil that persists in our world. I applaud a company willing to take the risk of bringing forth such a challenging work. The length of the opera seemed appropriate in that it deeply involved us in the endless agony of those held prisoner at Auschwitz and at other Nazi death camps. I was saddened at the end to be left without a ray of hope. It is, I recognize, our job to create a world of hope and justice from such depths of despair. Hopelessness cannot be the final word. We were sent out from this performance knowing that WE are called every day to create light from such darkness.
Adrian Cho – Grosse Pointe Woods
I had some trepidation about this opera, as I worried that it would trivialize this unfathomable crime. But, I have to say, this was one of the most innovative, moving, and profound pieces of theater I’ve seen. I thought it did an amazing job of conveying the terror and hopelessness of the prisoners and the sadism of their captors. The score was subtle and evocative. The set, central to the story in a way that few are, was simply amazing. In my estimation, The Passenger showed what an opera can be. One of the very best we’ve seen since we started subscribing several years ago.
April C. – Novi
The story was moving. The set amazing. But the voices weren’t great and it was too long. Furthermore I typically go to an opera to hear emotion put to music. I would love for this opera to include more duets and especially arias. Honestly this could have been a stage play and would be better as such. I would also put more dialogue to this and cut it in half. And get rid of the dudes who sing in the random box to the side. Also was there something wrong with the acoustics on Saturday or was it just me? I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.
Bud Liebler – Bloomfield Hills
Bravo to Wayne and David and MOT for bringing “The Passenger” to Detroit. I agree it might have been shortened, especially the second act, but it was well worth seeing and a poignant reminder in the wake of Paris and Beirut of the evil that exists and has always existed in the world. Interesting to see the story told from the overseer’s myopic point of view. Set was absolutely fabulous and important to the story. Compelling, thought provoking theater.
Eric Winter – Grosse Pointe
“The Passenger” is one of the most moving productions ever staged by MOT. Congratulations on an outstanding achievement!
Spencer – Bloomfield
A terrific presentation and a great story. Kudos to Wayne Brown and David DiChiera for bringing this production to Detroit. We are now a leader in the arts.
Cantor Gail Karp – Temple Emanuel of Davenport, IA
Kudos to Michigan Opera Theatre for presenting this dynamic and awe-inspiring work of art! It is a “must-see” production that I will never forget; an outstanding production in every way… My gratitude goes out to the Opera Staff and Board of Directors for bringing this challenging and timely work to Southeast Michigan. What a privilege and honor it was to experience it.
Violet Dalla Vecchia – Allen Park
As a volunteer usher and “light walker” for this production, I was privileged to stand on the stage and move about the set while it was being assembled, and the lighting engineered, for 3 afternoons before the dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening. I attended the dress rehearsal, and experienced gut-wrenching emotions throughout the two acts. A reminder to those attending an opera for the first time … most operas are between 3 and 5 acts, and may last anywhere from 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours. As instant gratification seems to be the norm today, and attention spans are the length of time between television commercials, is it any wonder that some patrons found the opera too long. World War II was too long, also. I taught history, have seen the movies “Life is Beautiful,” “Schindler’s List,” and “The Boy in Striped Pajamas,” and costumed “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I would not shorten one minute of “The Passenger,” as it was time well spent in remembering inhumanities and atrocities, and to talk with other patrons about forgetting and forgiving, and the lessons learned and quickly forgotten when the next unspeakable action occurs. Read a synopsis before attending, and then try to listen more than you read the English translations, and observe the movements on that incredible set, the costumes, props, makeup, wigs, and yes the chorus singing from atop the barracks, the orchestra itself … all combine to create a truly unforgettable experience. Bravo!
CorinneO – Bingham Farms
It was a privilege to see The Passenger. Thank you to Dr. D and the MOT for giving us this opportunity. It is not to be missed.
Dan – Rochester Hills
The Passenger is a grim struggle of victims at the Auswitz concentration camp in their psychological and spiritual battle against their sadistic, amoral tormentors. The telling of this story is quite dark and graphic. The art of the opera almost seems secondary to the opera’s message but it is highly effective – orchestra, score, sets, libretto and nuanced, talented portrayals all work together to explicate the meaning of this work. This opera is an homage to the victims of rabid Nazism, their suffering and their stories. It is high art that stimulates reflection and deeper feelings about what this catastrophe was about. The Passenger is as heavy as serious work can get and it is unique and deeply effective.
DS Barnes – Sterling Heights
From start to finish we did not like this opera.
The set was the only interesting thing on the stage.
We’ve been season ticket holders more than 25 years and this is the first time I’ve wanted to walk out. I should have done, as I left with a migraine.
Keith Otis Edwards – Dearborn
Let’s face it. Most opera plots are somewhat dumb: good ol’ nineteenth-century melodrama, and I’ve often noted that there are only three basic plots in all of grand opera, each serving only as the vehicle for beautiful music.
The Passenger is the complete opposite. The story, based on an experience of author Zofia Posmusz, is highly plausible, and so is the depiction of life in the death camps. There are, however, no great melodies — I doubt if the highlight, the Act II aria “May the golden autumn come in peace . . .” will ever be performed separately — and the music serves much the same function as music does in movie soundtracks.
Indeed, even the very style of the music is similar to a soundtrack. That’s not to belittle it, because soundtracks can be very effective. Think of how essential Bernard Herrmann’s dissonant minor-seconds are to the shower scene in “Psycho.” Here, in addition to many minor seconds and other dissonances, composer Weinberg employs every instrument in the arsenal to create effects (e.g., a giant mute stuck in the tuba) designed to instill the feeling of human suffering in listeners, but three and one-half hours of this onslaught induces listener fatigue.
Of course, some (me) would observe that all operas are too long, but despite this, I think that The Passenger is the finest serious music drama I’ve ever seen, perhaps even better than Britten’s Peter Grimes.
I can’t resist a word about the staging. Forget about gaudily-painted plywood sets and paper mâché castles, set designer Johan Engles has created an actual narrow gauge rail yard on stage, the carriages of which have functioning flanged truck wheels (faithfully resembling those of European railways) and braking systems. Nothing looks “symbolic” or stagey. The constant pall of smoke coming from the ovens began to cause coughing in the front rows of the audience.
In short, this is a serious presentation about the most serious topic of our time. It is not mere entertainment. The message of the opera is certainly not forgiveness, but what then is it? Hope? Or revenge?
Lauren – Canton
Hauntingly beautiful. I was captivated by the very first notes . Could not help but reflect on the inhumanity that is occurring today. The music was fantastic.. Bravo to the orchestra. The voices….no words for the talent that was displayed. We discussed the opera the entire car ride home.
Tom Seubert – Roseville
An excellent production! The set design really set the mood. The signing and acting were spot on. But the best part of this Opera is how it delicately handled the whole subject of genocide and the ability to enact revenge because of it.
Bob Borcherding – Okemos
This was a spectacular performance, some incredible voices, notably those of Katya and Marta, the staging and set were well done.
The opera itself has moments of brilliance, the musical tricks used to evoke emotion worked well. There are vast moments of tedium, however, especially in the second act, when the female prisoners bond on Marta’s birthday.
At times the opera felt preachy, evidenced by the idle men who watched above the prisoners, whom I suspect were meant to represent the do-nothing clergy, yet the entire country of Poland did virtually nothing, so if one starts down that path, where does it end?
The variety of languages sung was impressive, dancing between German, English, Polish, Russian, and French.
I am glad I saw this, but I will not see it again, if there had been a break in the second act, I would have left for the boredom, which I believe could have been reduced through some creativity in presenting the production, though I can understand MOT’s being true to the original in this early production. It is a shame it was not presented in the composer’s lifetime, so that he could have refined it after performance.
Steven – Saint Johns
This is our second time seeing this opera. My sister and I saw it in Chicago at the Lyric Opera. I am so glad I got to see it again. This type of 20th Century music is difficult to process on only one hearing and there is so much going on in this show you tend to miss things the first time. I thought this production was incredible. Certainly on par with Chicago, if not better. This is an emotionally wrenching story about a horrific time in human history and, on this second hearing/seeing, I am even more impressed at the composers ability to tell this story. The whole production was amazing! I really liked everything about it. The singing was phenomenal, the orchestra was incredible, sets, lighting, costumes, all of it was amazing. Thank you for bringing this show to Detroit!!
William Schmidt – Troy
Outstanding! I enjoyed every moment, from start to finish. Anyone who appreciates good theatre and great music will enjoy The Passenger.
Donna Wessel Walker – Ann Arbor
The most powerful experience of opera I have ever had in 40 years of opera-going. Bravo to Dr. D, the cast and orchestra, the designers and crew, for bringing this magnificent opera to Detroit. I did not expect to like it, but I loved it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Will Elwood – Alexandria, VA
A powerful, challenging production. The highly-innovative and functional set was the best and most visibly mechanically complicated set I have ever seen and cleverly supported the multiple scene shifts required by the Opera’s flash back format. Some pruning would help. With an on-time 7:30 p.m. start to look your watch after the first intermission and see it is 9:30 p.m. with a second act of FIVE scenes and an epilog to go requires some fortitude to stay with it. Even with that length, the Opera ends a bit unsatisfyingly with an epilog coming on the heels of a flashback, denying the plat a firm conclusion or resolution.
K. James – Center Line
Ponderous. While I agree that the set was impressive, and cannot take way from the quality of the vocal performances, I was not at all taken by the opera itself. I appreciate and have respect for the message re: the effects of the holocaust. However, I did not find the opera melodic, but more frequently jarring and discordant, with scenes lasting too long, and themes becoming a droning litany. I have never been more conscious of the discomfort of the seat I was sitting on, but found myself wishing for intermission soon so that I could move and stretch my legs. Usually, I don’t even think about where I am sitting when I am engaged in a performance. It occurred to me that perhaps the composer intended exactly that, the audience needs discomfort to empathize with the plight of people on whom so many atrocities were committed. “Penance”, as one other reviewer stated, is indeed, what this felt like, and the audience was being hit over the head with the message. Would have preferred there to have been something uplifting to be taken from this, as in Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, where the individual human spirit can conquer even the worst of inhumanity. As important as it is never to forget this dark and tragic time in our history, the delivery of this message was very heavy-handed and repetitive in this opera.
William Kupsky, M.D. – Grosse Pointe Park
The Passenger is a profoundly moving work by a great composer largely unknown to the west. The music grips you from the first notes to the quiet ending. The production is spectacular with superb performances by principals, chorus, and orchestra, masterfully conducted by Maestro Steven Mercurio. The subject matter could not be more timely. This opera should be seen by everyone. Bravos to MOT and to Dr. DiChiera for programming this masterpiece. Don’t miss it!
Don Briggs – LaSalle, Ontario
I am not generally fond of modern opera. I therefore went to the Passenger last evening expecting to hate it. Instead I found it one of the most riveting dramatic productions I can remember seeing. The set alone should receive an award, but every aspect of the production also deserves praise. Having attended MOT productions for many years, I would say that this has to be one of its greatest triumphs.
Susan Cameron – Ann Arbor
The performance was outstanding and very powerful. I found the music to be more lyrical than I expected. The orchestration fit the gravity of the subject. The female solos were particularly beautiful. The cast was consistently excellent, particularly the leads. The chorus’s soft, unison tone was very emotionally moving. It was an outstanding achievement for MOT.
Russ Ayers – Oak Park
It’s not an Italian opera, and it shouldn’t be. I kept thinking of Nathan and Edith while watching …. I felt it respectfully and honestly treated subject and people, depth of characters in the writing and acting, in fact, I thought there was unusually good and appropriate acting, very well done vocals of course, …. and an absolutely awesome set.
If you really need something negative, the only thing I can think is that it would have been nice to take away one little easy tune, one little love tune – Tadeusz’s theme for example – just one little easy tune like a red rose out of the midst of all the horror.
Ronald Magnuson – Warren
This may be the best production I have ever experienced at MOT. The solo singers, the chorus, the orchestra and the stage crew have all combined to produce a major, complicated and sublimely moving opera at the highest artistic level. Congratulations to everyone involved in this important project.
James Kristich – Harsens Island
I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. The orchestra and cores, exceptional as usual. The singing learned and competent. The staging great for our venue. The music more lyrical then I had anticipated. The libretto compelling.
That being said I went away with a less than completed feeling. I found it banal. Especially with such a important and compelling story to tell.
Wish I had an explanation. Maybe I was anticipating something a bit more surreal.
Beth Ann – Royal Oak
The Passenger was simply stunning. I wasn’t looking forward to a modern opera about the Holocaust, but I trust Dr. DiChiera, so risked it. What a payoff. The music is haunting, powerful stuff. And the voices! The narrative draws its power from the strength of the relationships between the women in the camp. Truly remarkable.
Brian Murphy – Rochester Hills
Utterly overwhelming–one of the greatest experiences we ‘ve (I speak for myself and mate) ever had at an opera. The music! What a discovery! And the production was as amazing as they come. A powerful statement about one the greatest (in the sense of most important) 20th century experiences.
RS – West Bloomfield
Wonderful experience. Draining. Educational. Superb talent at every level – orchestra , singing , acting , sets However – too long. I am an inexperienced opera goer and would have as enthralled and less tired if it were 2 hours instead of 3.
Chris Hench – Livonia
The Passenger was probably the most powerful opera I have ever seen. While I love many operas, they so often have silly or almost non-existent plots. There is nothing wrong with that — these are vehicles for the music and voice. However, The Passenger has great music, voice AND a realistic plot that touched me deeply. The story of our inhumanity to each other and the way we can rationalize our role in that inhumanity was a strong message, especially in these times. The set was creative and unusual — almost a character itself. This is modern opera at its finest.
Tom Klaban – West Bloomfield
While the Passenger was thought provoking, the music was very dark and gloomy. My wife and I enjoy great music and vocals and the Passenger didn’t have either. The performers and musicians were wonderful, but the music was just too depressing. We believe that this piece is better suited for a different venue. At least from our perspective, we would recommend that for next season the selection includes operas with melodic music instead of what we would characterize as chanting in the production of the Passenger. We felt the same about last years production of under the bridge.
Diana – Mount Clemens
Powerful – yes! Great voices – yes! Incredible staging – yes! Riveting – yes!
I make it a custom to not research an opera and let it unfold as I watch it for the first time. Now that I have seen this amazing work I am ready to find and read the novel.
I’m glad the MOT has the fortitude to trust that its audience can handle subject matter of this nature.
elizabeth brickfield – Henderson
sandy stein – West Bloomfield
Way too long. Difficult to stay focused during the opera. Scenes seemed to drag.
Ann Katz – Bloomfield Hills
Incredible opera and an amazing set that will not be forgotten. Extremely powerful thought provoking and sad.
GeorgeW – Plymouth
I was highly impressed – great singing, great music (including the balance orchestra/singers) and an important story. The staging was very effective and the costuming and makeup excellent. After reading some reviews about the 2nd act being too long I sort of expected to become restless but I didn’t – the time zipped by. (my wife recovering from a knee replacement and experiencing some pain agree that it was too long, however). Best modern opera I have seen.
Pam – Waterford
Incredible, imaginative set. Overall a fine production. I hope that all who decided to participate in this event, at any level, first experienced a moral dilemma about such material being presented as “entertainment” and about earning money for their involvement.
Mary Jo – Dearborn
Just got back home and am still feeling affected by this amazing opera. So moving and so many beautiful voices. The settings and costumes were just right. I am also glad I heard the opera talk which gave us the background of the opera. Thank you David for bringing this masterpiece to Detroit AND the Detroit Opera House (where all the operas should be, in my opinion).
Ron DiLiddo – Rochester
The production was outstanding. The opera however is too long and needs to be edited to be shorter and less slow in areas.
The subject reminds us of the evil that has plagued the world many times. Seventy five years ago saw the end of the Nazi evil the world suffered. Now we face another evil in Islamic terrorists in many places exemplified by ISIS. We must fight that evil before it can cause the terrible suffering of the scope of the Nazi era.
Nadia Greenidge – Waterford
Very interesting and thought provoking. My father served in WWII and he would never talk about the horrors of that time. He was in the Royal Navy and knew directly about the Nazi presence and what happened to England and all of Europe. This opera was dark and deeply moving. At times your mind needed a break it was so real and touching. I cannot say it was the happy operas we get used to from Mozart, but it was important and a must see. Very much in touch with our current reality.
Beth and Howard Simon – Lyndhurst, Ohio
We drove in from Cleveland specifically to see this opera. It was certainly worth it! Wonderful singing and important message. I think this will become a classic in opera repertoire.
Linda Cohen – Franklin
Profound , intense, and an amazing set! Loved the take away…Don’t forget and don’t ever forgive them for what they did. The composer would be so proud of this production. You can’t really describe it. You had to experience it!
Annie – Michigan
We left at intermission. This opera was too long, too mono-themed, and it was hard to keep the prison characters straight. I suspect if the composer had been able to see the finished work (in workshops, rehearsals), he would have seriously edited it.
That being said, the setting was moving (although our seats orchestra level under the mezzanine had an obstructed view) and the orchestra was beautiful. I am sure this is a very difficult piece to perform.
Would not, not, not recommend this to anyone.
R. Raider – West Bloomfield
Brilliantly done, timely too. Thank you David for bringing this to Detroit.
Pat – St. Clair Shores
The music, the singing, the set, all great, but it was to long.
Jennifer Yanover – West Bloomfield
What a provoking, amazing experience. I am still hearing the music and know that we are transformed somehow, and awakened. What a daring, intelligent choice of operas. Thank you for making this happen.
Jesse Venegas – Royal Oak
Very True to the “Tragic Opera” format. I enjoyed the show and thought it is something everyone should see. It would be very nice if there was a shorter, toned down version to bring Kids or Teenagers to. It is important for humanity to be reminded of the despicable things we do.
Glenda Price – Detroit
This was one of the most powerful performances that I have seen at the Opera House. The staging was incredible, the story compelling, and the music riveting. I congratulate the Opera House for stepping out to have new works on the stage.
Mercedes Anne McCarthy Jensen Michalski – Shelby Township
Yesterday’s performance marked the thirtieth anniversary of our parents’ deaths. I especially loved the moment when Marta reached up to give the guitarist in the Banda, Gerald Jensen, something red – a remembrance of Tadek’ s rose to her.
A rose is symbol of remembrance, love, and with love, ironically, forgiveness.
Gerald Jensen, our brother, performed with love and beauty.
Thanks so much,
Tim, Lori, Jack, Mercy, Carl and Tom Jensen
Mary Andrews – Farmington Hills
…..Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…………
So it was for the entire, lengthy, performance. The audience was absolutely mute, trying to digest the enormity of the tragedies of World War II. Does this opera succeed in reaching both the old and the young? It does.
And in a very special way, this opera is a woman’s opera as its story is effectively and powerfully told from within a diverse community of imprisoned women. I wonder if composer Weinberg could ever know how great an impact this device has still today?
Opera as social impact is important.
Mary Joyce – Clarkston
“The Passenger” was hard to watch – to see the Auschwitz prisoners go through so much pain and degradation and sorrow. And hard to reconcile how the captors could be so cruel and sadistic. As Marta says in the last scene, she (and we) will never forget you. The production was outstanding! The set and staging were amazing. The singing and the acting was also incredible. I thank David DiChiera and Wayne Brown, for bringing this production to the MOT. I may not want to see this opera again, as it is so painful to watch and so hard to face how man can act so inhumanely, but, I am so glad that I saw it.
Therese – Redford
A very difficult subject, and heavy to see. I love opera and find that when it stretches our understanding and experience, the art form has succeeded. I will never stop visiting the opera house to see the excellence that the Artistic Director provides for us. I am also very happy with the full experience of lighting, staging, chorus and especially orchestra. Kudos my art friends. But I will admit, the subject matter was jarring. tough. The casting was superb.
Ilene & Ronald Fruitman – West Bloomfield
The production was fabulous. Everything was done to perfection: the orchestra, the voices, the costumes, makeup and wigs. Special kudos for the unusal set. Our daughter-in-law, Francie Paull Fruitman, was part of the behind the scenes staff. Her wonderful descriptions of the production didn’t do justice to actually seeing and hearing it.
Hopefully, all the snow birds in Miami will go to the Miami Opera production of THE PASSENGER.
Diana – Canton
I read the synopsis before purchasing the tickets and did not expect anything different then the performance I saw. What I did not expect was being left unmoved or emotionally engaged. I’m very empathetic and feared the subject matter would be too much for me; ironically I was only made uncomfortable, more from the length of the production than the story line. Technically exquisite from set design to costuming to lighting, even the vocal performances, but overall emotionally barren. I was left with annoying questions questions because I never became “part of the story”: who were the men in suits? what was the significance of the red books? Why did one of the men in suits have a man-bun? Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to “get the message” but I was seriously disturbed by the “Never Forgive” theme, especially with the current world crisis.
Sally Eilersen – Almont
The Passenger was amazing. I was so enthralled that when I looked at my watch at intermission I couldn’t believe that much time had passed. The story was mesmerizing. The voices were powerful. The orchestra was full and rich. The set and costumes were characters in their own right. I thought the white of the cruise created the perfect contrast with the dark, depressing browns and greys of the Camp. The individual stories and songs were soaring and heartbreaking at the same time. My only regret is that my husband and son were unable to attend with me.
John Murphy – Southfield
The opera was captivating. The subject was as relevent today as it was
during world war II and, I suspect will always be. We listen to another would be leader preach mean and, elude to inflicting mans inhumanity to man. As if it was some kind of final solution but, it’s not. We all need a reminder of just where that can lead use. The Passenger did that and, more. Just as the men in dark suits stood witness to those atrocities we are witness to the events of today. Let use do more than witness!
Bravo to The Passenger.
Frank Coppola – Macomb
I found the story powerful and moving, unfortunately, the music did not convey the same message. There were no moments where the music and arias moved me. I was so disappointed that I did something I had never done before & left halfway through the performance. I think that I will stick with Puccini & Verde.
Larry Chominski – Fair Haven
The Passenger was a profound experience! I would highly recommend it to everyone, but especially to Polish Americans and Jewish Americans whose knowledge of the atrocities of World War II is often inadequate or twisted. Yes, this is a Holocaust opera. But along with the Jewish victims of Auschwitz, it depicts symbolically the millions of others who lost their lives there too–Poles, Russians, French, etc. Yes, a Holocaust opera but with the lovers, Marta and Tadeusz–two Poles–evoking the strongest empathic feelings in the audience. (Recall how they were cheered!) I expected to hear historical blunders of this type: “Auschwitz was a Polish death camp” instead of “Auschwitz was a German Nazi death camp created by Hitler on the outskirts of Oswiecim, Poland.” I saw no distortions or imbalance. “The Passenger” also confronts evil beyond time and place. For example, the characters Walter and Liese showed how–not only many post-war Germans–but people, generally, rationalize their behavior to assuage their guilt. So much of “The Passenger” is sung in Polish (I’m fluent in the language) that at moments I found myself thinking: “This IS a Polish opera!” I will never forget this deeply moving experience!
Jack Cederquist – Ann Arbor
I was very glad to see The Passenger a second time. I also saw it at Lyric in Chicago. It certainly deserves performance and, sadly, is so relevant to today’s events. Adrienn Miksch’s performance as Marta is outstanding both vocally and emotionally. MOT and Dr. DiChiera deserve our gratitude in bringing The Passenger to southeastern Michigan.
Suzanne Klopfer – Clarkston
We had no idea what to expect.
My husband is from East Germany (escaped in 1951 at the age of 18). We both fought with the emotions throughout the opera. I as an American have never had these emotions of fear as expressed throughout this opera. There were so many levels expressed throughout that we are still trying to deal with.
The music said so much throughout the production. What we have looked for in the past are melodies and arias we cherish but his production took us to a new level of emotion an appreciation.
Thank you so very much for bringing this to MOT.
Ann – Harrison Township
I found the sets and the voices extraordinary. “The Passenger” is a powerful work. Although I am not a fan of atonal music, it (the music) was suited to the intensity of the theme in many ways. I did feel that the final aria should have stopped after “extinguish”
But kudos to David Di Chiera and MOT for bringing this production to Detroit.
Barb D – Farmington Hills
It was an intense and moving experience. I am not usually an opera fan but the music went very well with the theme. I am glad that I saw it.
I do think it moved very slowly in some places and was too long and repetitive. It needs some fine tuning and editing.