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A Musical Tribute to Composer Charles Strouse

Spring Season 2005

"Having seen Ms. Pechstein's remarkable performance... we are proud and honored to have been part of such a moving and artistically superb enterprise. This production... is not only musically affecting and provocative. It also sheds a new light on the Diary..."
Bernhard von der Planitz, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, New York City

"Pechstein masterfully conveyed Anne's transformation from wide-eyed, ecstatic birthday girl to... somber young woman... Her portrayal of Frank was deeply affecting, revealing an understanding of Frank both as a young woman and as an extraordinary symbol... Anne Frank felt much shorter than its hour length, swiftly taking the audience through twenty-one scenes and nearly as many emotions."
Alicia Zuckerman, Opera News Online

"[B]y the time the hour had passed in which one brilliant young soprano with rare acting ability had dazzled the audience with a knockout performance, we came to realize that Anne Frank fit the demands of the mono opera almost perfectly... Mr. Frid's 21 scenes are right out of the diary and the words that he selected for the stage lift the subject far above the standard fare...The dialogue among the ensemble players seems ideally intimate, in fact, exactly right... Encompass's Director and founder, Nancy Rhodes, once again led a production into a rarified atmosphere of excellence."
Barry Cohen, New Music Connoisseur

"Frid uses the monologue form with great skill to extend those portraits both verbally and musically... [Frid] has taken a book with which we are almost too familiar and reimagined it in an unlikely way, with results that restore much of the power of the original work."
George Robinson, The Jewish Week

The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank Button BarPhotographsLibrettoCrewCast


Translation by Alla Gomon and James Briscoe



On Friday I awoke at six o’clock. And no wonder - my birthday, my birthday.
But never mind, that I must not get up so early, I had to keep quite still on my birthday until six forty five.
I couldn't bear any longer. So I went right into the dining room, then started to unwrap my presents. And you, my diary, I found you the first of all, that was my best gift on my birthday.
Father and mother got me such fine presents, bunches of presents.
So long now, I’m so happy that you are here with me!


Now it’s Sunday, it’s the twenty-first of June in the year nineteen forty-two.
Our whole class is frightened and trembling. Soon now, soon now the teachers’ meeting will be held.
Old Mister Kepler the old Math master has for a long time been annoyed with me, he has said that I chatter too much. But I told him that talking is a trait of women, a trait of women. Mama talks as much as I, as much as I or more and what can one do about it? You can’t deny your very nature. Old Mister Kepler just chuckled at my reasons, then he made such fun: "Quack-Quack, Mamselle Duckling!"
My class howled with laughter.


My father often stays at home now, often he stays at home now, my father may not go to work now. How sad not to live a full life and to be unwanted.
Today, as he and I went walking, Papa told me all the plans about the "Hiding Place".
He said it would not be a good life in such a place, where the world would be cut away far from us.
"We must escape the dreaded Fascist hand. That is why we must hide away, we must not wait and let them capture us."
Oh, how I do wish this day were so far away, so far away!


Today the eighth of July.
So many things have happened, it seems that the whole world turned over!
My Father opened up a notice from the Gestapo, and that means: Concentration Camp...
Mama went to see the Van Daans, to ask if now we should go to our hiding. To hide up in the attic of my father’s warehouse. The van Daans and we are seven, we will be seven there, we will be seven there....


Saturday the eleventh of July. Our "Hiding Place".
Papa, Mama and Margot just can’t get used to the sound of the tower, of the striking.
But I loved it from the start, so very pretty, especially at night.
Our secret Annex, is such an ideal hiding place. It’s no matter that it is damp and leans to one side, in all of Holland you won’t find a better hiding place from the storm.

It is the silence, when I get so very frightened, especially, especially at night. I think we shall never see the daylight. Never live to be free and get out of here, they will find us and shoot us.


I sit by the window and see the world go whirling by people scramble and disappear.
It is so strange to see how they run. How they hurry into darkness, hurry into nothingness, my window opens just enough to let me wonder. This quarter near us is poor working folk, the children so desperate.
Through the window there are many things to see: there are tulips, daffodils, raindrops...and all hiding under black umbrellas.


Friday now, it’s October sixteen.
Now in the news they call for diaries to be published after the war and novels, too. I wonder if it’s true, yes, I’ll write a novel of my own "My hiding place".
How silly such a title how very bad, they’ll think of some detective story, some Sherlock Holmes! When the war is done, when we are free, they won’t believe me if I write my story and if I describe how we were forced to live.

Now we are all so frightened. We’re told a worker in the warehouse beneath the attic suspects we are hiding here. Who knows, if we can trust such a person or not...

They won’t believe me, if I write my story and if I describe how we were forced to live.


The weight upon my heart presses always and pulls to a deep chasm.
A songbird am I with her song quiet, a songbird with no voice, how she struggles, struggles, struggles never free to sing, never free to leave her cage, never.
"Oh freedom, oh freedom I cry deep inside. I want to, to breathe, to laugh out"!
But I know it, I will never be free. I’m off to bed now, it’s all I can do to shorten the hours of silence and fear of silence.


When I think about my life, my life before Germans came to Holland, all was so ideal, all is so distant. Another Anne was living inside me.
Now peace is gone, peace is no more, no more. So careless such a lighthearted child so happy that Anne never will return.


Last night deep a sleep, I had such a dream, such a nightmare. I saw her there before me. My friend, my girlfriend Liess.
In silence and in tears exhausted, dressed in rags. Hope was gone, even in the darkness she appeared, emaciated, a skeleton.
Her eyes, her eyes so sad. They stared at me, they reproached me, it was as if she spoke to me:
"Anna, oh Anna, stay with me, don’t abandon me! Take me away out of this torment."

I cannot help her now, I cannot help...I pray to God to save her, to give her peace, save her; Oh dear God, support her, and bring her back to us!




Today I’ll describe a very common, very common squabble of Mrs. van Daan and her husband.
"Dearie" that is what she calls him, "I do not know why the English stopped the bombing?"
"Because the weather now is so bad, don’t you see that?"
"Oh, Dearie, no the sky was lovely yesterday!"
"Ah, please don’t say it, please don’t repeat the same old thing!"
"Why can’t a woman share her opinions just like men?"
"Stop it!"
"Why say ‘Stop it’?"
"Oh hell, just shut up! Idiot!"
"But now I know the Allies won’t come, they won’t come at all!"
"Stop it!"
"Why say ‘Stop it’? Why say ‘Stop it’?"
"Shut up your stupid blabber, your stupid pig snout! Someday I’ll make you sorry, sorry you were ever born! You God forsaken fool! I can’t stand this nonsense! You should rub your nose into your filth, rub it in rubbish."
The curtain falls on this drama.
I couldn’t keep from laughing, laughing. I was laughing so hard!
Peter and Mama could not hold it back.


Today the fourth of August nineteen hundred forty three.
A robber in the warehouse! Below us, just below us. The robber, who can it be, what can he want?
But what if he tells the Gestapo that he heard us, just to save himself?


One day Peter and I found a quiet place there in the attic we sat down together, on a box.
We were sitting very close, his hand found mine in the silence.
How lovely the trees coming out this year, sunlight calls us to come out a while, sky so blue, so blue, such crystal blue.
I long to go out and touch the world.


Late every night I lie awake and wonder, I wonder if he dreams of me. I think of his earnest glance, tender glance, when our eyes meet, and of our fear to speak the truth: Of love, future years, happiness, and then I think about not our sadness but of all the wonders, of lovely nature, of life in the world, in spite of evil and fear, this world is still beautiful.
And as for man he too is good at heart...
In life there’s no pleasure in life, there’s no beauty like greeting the morning and knowing that nature is begging for you to come sing, and feeling the sun and watching the moon, and loving each other, and caring for someone, and silently waiting.


We hear in the news the Russians are winning! At the Polish border they will come all the Allies.
They take many captives. And now all the Nazi boys know about defeat.
Tralala la la la la hooray for freedom! All we hidden ones are in a happy mood. Any moment now, we’ll hear something wonderful that the Allies are at hand.
In Moscow shouting, in London there’s laughter and in Washington they cheer like thunder, I do not know why they make such noise like thunder cries and shouts laughter. You could say they can’t express any other way after all the joy of all the world.


Knocking beneath us here. It’s quiet again. Again knocking.
Terror. They’re there walking Gestapo. In the warehouse beneath our hiding place...
We didn't dare to breathe, all you could hear was the frantic beating of seven hearts.
Steps, steps, they’re stopping at our stair, closer, closer, closer! They’re at the cupboard that hides our stair, oh, God!
Again they shake it, again..
Something’s falling down.
The steps, now they move away. We are burning with fever. And never since that very night such a danger, danger, as on this night.
The Gestapo stood right at the cupboard, but nothing did they find, nothing did they find.


Actually in youth all is far more lonely than old age. The young have passions ideals, the old are far more practical and they know what they must do in life. But as for youth when life is new.
It is hard to be so sure in times like these when we see all ideals collapse before us, when all about is falsehood, justice is forsaken, happiness gone!
Ideals and dreams shining expectations cannot be still in our hearts, and if hope comes to us, the horrible reality will destroy hope utterly...


It’s a wonder that up to now I still have hope and keep my spirit high. I see how now the world is becoming nothing but a desert.
Now the thunder of war is here, it threatens to find and destroy us it seems to me, that we exist in a patch of sky, blue sky, between the black, hateful storm clouds.
But it is coming nearer and nearer, it will absorb us in our desperate struggle, struggle for freedom How we shove and strangle each other.
We see how people down in the street struggle too, we see how hatred overcomes us all and now the dark surrounds us, blackens us and separates like a, a curtain.

The darkness ever pressing on us ever like a wall moving to us to crash us. And now all I can do is pray:
"Adonoi eluhenu, make our way open our path to freedom!"


Now the sun shines skies are clear and blue. One can’t even take in the beauty. Each morning I go to the roof to breathe deep the fresh air.

The roof has become my favorite place, I see before me canals like ribbons. Chestnuts bare of leaves and the sparkling diamonds of dew. I see seagulls soaring in the blue sky their wings seem like silver sails on the horizon.
I gaze out from my open roof top perch, from where I can see all of Amsterdam, a sea of roofs that stretch out all the way to the horizon.
So long as I have this sunlight, so long as I have the earth and all nature that exists for me, for me to love, I can never be sad!

Whenever you are put to trial, whenever you are lonely, unhappy go out and be unto yourself
where it’s peaceful, where you can be unhindered. Alone with nature alone with God,
at last now I know nature makes our life whole, suf’ring she can send away, pain is gone at nature’s hand.
And when I look up to heaven, then I can think that every cruelty someday must have an end, and once again peace and love shall reign on earth.
But ‘til that time we must keep our faith, our hopes and dreams.
We must hold to courage, tho’ the weak may fall, the strong endure to carry on. I am prepared to sacrifice my life for the future.

And if the Lord wills that I should survive, I shall give my self to serve the world.
For now I realize that courage and loving kindness must be dearer now than ever! Power, glory, that is as nothing. But a joyous heart will falter for a moment only, ever more hope will awaken and hope will remain your heart’s strength all your life.
So long as you can look up without fear to the heavens....

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