LOUISVILLE, Ky. – An Oct. 16 solo performance at the University of Louisville will dramatize the experience of a Holocaust survivor who prolonged her life by playing in a concentration camp orchestra.
“An Evening With Madame F” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Comstock Concert Hall, School of Music. The performance will be free and open to the public.
Musician Claudia Stevens will portray Fania Fenelon reflecting on her wartime struggles. Fenelon was a Jewish cabaret singer brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she and other women were ordered to form the musical group that entertained Nazi officers in the death camp. The musicians were moved to Bergen-Belsen camp later, and an English army freed Fenelon there near the war’s end.
Stevens’ one-woman show featuring vocal, piano and drum performances also probes Fenelon’s ethical dilemma of forestalling her death by entertaining her captors while fellow prisoners were killed. The Arthur Miller screenplay and 1980 television movie “Playing for Time” also dramatized Fenelon’s story.
Stevens is adjunct assistant professor of music at the College of William and Mary. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
Performance sponsors are the U of L women’s studies department, Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s office and the Jewish Community Center.