• Apr 12, 2022

Groundbreaking new opera tackles an important issue for our time


April 12, 2022

Contact: Mina Miller, Artistic Director; Steve Griggs, Administrator

(206) 365-7770



Groundbreaking new opera tackles an important issue for our time

Tres minutos – a story of identity, duty and belonging

SEATTLE, WA—On Sunday, May 15 at 5:30 pm, Music of Remembrance returns to Benaroya Hall for its final live concert of the season. The program, titled Tres minutos, features the world premiere of a compelling new opera of that title by composer Nicolas Benavides and librettist Marella Martin Koch.

Commissioned by MOR, Tres minutos explores the intimate human dimensions of an urgent issue for our time. It tells the story of Nila and Diego, a sister and brother who share family bonds, but not citizenship. Allowed a brief supervised reunion at the border that separates them, they wrestle with questions of identity, duty and belonging. The work is a timely reminder that beyond the arguments about immigration policy are actual people with real lives, deep emotions and complicated relationships. “Tres minutos comes at such an important time in our country,” remarks composer Nicolas Benavides, “a time when we have a refugee crisis and we have the choice to make it better or make it worse.” Starring soprano Vanessa Isiguen and baritone José Rubio in a production conceived and directed by Erich Parce and conducted by the composer.

The program includes chamber works by two composers who spoke out through their art in the darkest of times. Hans Krása, murdered in Auschwitz, is perhaps best known for his iconic children’s opera Brundibár that was performed 55 times by casts of young prisoners in the Terezín concentration camp. His Theme with Variations for string quartet was played by inmates in Terezin in a performance that was exploited by the Nazis for their infamous propaganda film “The Führer Gives a City to the Jews.” Géza Frid, in mortal danger as a stateless Jew in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, organized clandestine house concerts and was active in the underground as a forger of coupons and identity cards. Frid’s Podium Suite, featuring violinist Mikhail Shmidt and pianist Jessica Choe, is an explosion of fireworks -- dramatic, virtuosic and rhythmically intense.

MOR’s stellar instrumental ensemble, drawn from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, features clarinetist Laura DeLuca, violinists Mikhail Shmidt and Natasha Bazhanov, violist Susan Gulkis Assadi, cellist Walter Gray, double bassist Jonathan Green, and pianist Jessica Choe.

For more information: https://www.musicofremembrance.org/concert/concert-tres-minutos

About Music of Remembrance

Now in its 24th year, MOR remembers the Holocaust through music and honors the resilience of all people excluded or persecuted for their faith, nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. In addition to rediscovering and performing music from the Holocaust, MOR has commissioned and premiered more than 30 new works by some of today’s leading composers, drawing on the Holocaust’s lessons to address urgent questions for our own time.


Hans Krása

Theme with Variations (1936)

Mikhail Shmidt,violin (James & Sherry Raisbeck Artist Chair); Natasha Bazhanov, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi,viola; Walter Gray, cello

Géza Frid

Podium Suite, Op. 3 (1928)

Il Primo


Rubato con sordino



Mikhail Shmidt, violin Jessica Choe, piano

Tres minutos

Music by Nicolas Lell Benavides Libretto by Marella Martin Koch

World Premiere

Commissioned by Music of Remembrance

José Rubio, baritone

Vanessa Isiguen, soprano

Brendan Tuohey, tenor

Music of Remembrance Instrumental Ensemble

Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt,violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi,viola; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass; Jessica Choe, piano

Nicolas Lell Benavides, conductor

Erich Parce, director

Publication Date

Tue, 2022-04-12 12:00