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T+L Reports: California Czech Mates

As production designer, Maurice Sendak brings his gleefully raffish spirit to a fresh rendition of Brundibár, Czech composer Hans Krása's 1938 children's opera, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre (www.berkeleyrep.org; Nov. 11––Dec. 28) before moving on to New Haven and New York. Tony Kushner wrote the English libretto for this musical fable, in which a brother and sister team up with talking animals and a chorus of children to outwit the title character, a malevolent organ grinder. The tuneful allegory of good and evil, set in the imaginary past of a make-believe Prague, has a dark history: it was staged at the Terezin concentration camp before its composer and most of its cast were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. Brundibár will be performed in tandem with Sendak and Kushner's adaptation of another Czech opera, Bohuslav Martinu's 1937 Comedy on the Bridge. —PETER WEBSTER

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