Levi frame

Primo Levi, born in Turin, Italy, in 1919, and trained as a chemist, was arrested during the Second World War as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His experience in the death camp and his subsequent travels through Eastern Europe were the subject of powerful memoirs, fiction and poetry. Levi died in Turin in April 1987.

Some of Levi's words are more powerful then anything ever expressed about the man-made Nazi atrocities. His memoirs of and refelections on those are light years above careerist, pornographic exploitations by many renowned, award-winning speakers or politicians.

As a composer and librettist, inspired by some of Levi's writings, his life and his death, it took me some years to finally begin a grand, seductive opera, to scratch an angel. The project has already aroused interest in some extraordinary performers and has the blessing of the Levi family.

New York City Opera will perform excerpts from to scratch an angel as part of their Showcasing American Composers series, May 15th 2001 at 4:00 PM. The full orchestra and soloists presentation will be in Westpark Church, Amsterdam Avenue corner of 86th Street in New York City. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, go here.

40 years after his imprisonment, in the spring of 1982, Primo Levi returned to Auschwitz ("in the role", as he put it, "of a tourist"). He accompanied a group of students and professors from Florence, as well as some other concentration camp survivors. A troupe from Sorgenti di Vita went along to document the visit. "Springs of Life" was a cultural television program of the Unione Comunita Israelitiche Italiane, offered bi-weekly by Radiotelevisione Italiana [RAI] on Sunday afternoons.

The Italian interviewer was not identified in the rare transcript that follows. An Italian school teacher, Mrs. Bianca Maria Pace, has recently informed me that it was Daniel Toaff, the son of E.Toaff, the Rabbi of Rome. The original airdate of this program was April 25, 1983. This English translation is by Mirto Stone. It is here designed over 22 web pages, amongst book covers and portraits as well as some of the many photographs I had taken during a visit to Torino in 1989.


photo: Jerry Bauer

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