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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

One Hundred Voices To Sing The Story Of Anne Frank

Handel Society of Dartmouth College
Robert Duff conducts the Handel Society of Dartmouth College. They will perform a work based on "The Diary of Anne Frank."

One hundred voices in the Upper Valley will soon sing the harrowing tale of the teenager who went into hiding with her family during the Holocaust.  The Handel Society of Dartmouth College will perform Annelies, by James Whitbourn, on Nov. 18.

This oratorio based on The Diary of Anne Frank shines a light on a dark time. Yet, Conductor Robert Duff noted before a rehearsal, it also brings us inside the shining mind of a young girl immortalized by the strong emotions in her diary.

“The human condition that’s expressed from Annelies touches the souls of every person, and it’s a universal theme of hope and optimism and fear,” he said.

In rehearsal, the chorus, which includes Dartmouth College students as well as more senior members of the community, began working on a stirring piece that rises to a crescendo. “We will be people,” they sang, echoing the teenaged diarist’s hope for a day when Jews would not be stigmatized.

Whitbourn’s Oratorio features a soloist whose lyrics come mostly from Anne Frank’s diary. The chorus, Robert Duff says, plays many roles.

“Sometimes we find that it’s a reflection like a Greek chorus reflecting on the actions that have occurred. Sometimes we find that it’s actually members of the Third Reich being involved, and so the chorus has had to really understand who they are at what point in the work,” he explained.

The Nov. 18 performance will be the New Hampshire premiere of Annalies. The program also includes two choral works by Johannes Brahms.

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.
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