An Oratorio
Director: Michael Beyer
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
Length: 90 min.
© 2024, A production of Deutsche Grammophon, BFMI and The WNET Group
in collaboration with New York Philharmonic
Émigré draws attention to events that brought Jewish and Chinese refugees together in Shanghai in the years preceding and during World War II. In 1938 two brothers from Germany, barely out of their teens, aboard a ship in Trieste, Italy. Their destination: Shanghai, where they will join other European Jews fleeing persecution by the Nazi regime. They depart reluctantly, leaving behind family, but seeing a beacon of hope in their journey to a far-off place. So begins Émigré, an oratorio that sets a dramatic tale against a lesser-known fact of 20th-century history – that, for a time, one of the largest populations of Jews outside of Europe could be found in Shanghai, China.
Otto cherishes his heritage, while Josef seeks a new path, and falls in love with Lina, a Chinese woman recovering from the loss of her mother in the Nanjing Massacre. From there flows Émigré, a semi-staged oratorio that tells a sweeping tale of love and loss, set to music by film and concert composer Aaron Zigman. Text by Rebecca Winzenried.

An international cast joins the NY Phil for the US Premiere of Aaron Zigman & Mark Campbell’s Émigré, a new oratorio that traces the story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai to escape the Holocaust. Long Yu conducts this semi-staged production at the David Geffen Hall’s Wu Tsai Theater at Lincoln Center.

Aaron Zigman
Émigré, An Oratorio

Marc Campbell, lyrics
Brock Walsh, additional lyrics

NY Phil
New York Philharmonic Chorus

Long Yu, conductor
Mary Birnbaum, director

Matthew White, tenor
Arnold Livingston Geis, tenor
Huiling Zhu, mezzo-soprano
Meigui Zhang, soprano
Shenyang, bass-baritone
Diana Newman, soprano
Andrew Dwan, bass-baritone