Press Release

Cantemus to Present Annelies, Choral Work Based on Anne Frank’s Diary


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(Dec. 6, 2023) — On January 20 and 21, the 34 members of the Cantemus Chamber Chorus will present “Annelies,” the only major choral-orchestral work based on excerpts from the internationally bestselling book “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.” British composer James Whitbourn completed the work in 2005, having worked for three years with librettist Melanie Challenger to distill two years of diary entries.

Cantemus Artistic Director Jason Iannuzzi: “This work of haunting beauty evokes the harrowing story of Anne and her family hiding from the Nazis during the Second World War, in a ‘secret annex’ in Amsterdam. Why this work, and why now? Cantemus’ objective is, of course, to entertain its audiences, but we also want to present works of social relevance. I proposed this work last spring. At the time, we could not foresee just how relevant its theme would be today.”

“Annelies,” which was Anne’s full first name, is based on the teenager’s own words, written between 1942 and 1944. Otto Frank, the only member of the family who survived the camps, dedicated his life to bringing his daughter’s diary to the world's attention. It was published in Europe in 1947 and first appeared in English in 1952. A born writer, in the spring of 1944, just months before her capture, Anne wrote “I want to go on living even after my death!”

The voice of Anne will be sung by Lynn Eustis, soprano, who is Chair of Voice and Associate Professor of Voice at Boston University. She was the title soloist at the work’s U.S. premiere in 2007. Jeffrey Mead, who is Cantemus’ accompanist, is featured on piano. Elizabeth Whitfield on violin; Jane Sheena on cello; and Stephen Bates on clarinet complete the chamber quartet.

Jeffrey Mead
Jeffrey Mead
Elizabeth Whitfield
Elizabeth WhitfieldJane Sheena
Jane SheenaStephen Bates
Stephen Bates

The 14 movements of “Annelies” include “The Capture Foretold,” “Devastation of the Outside World” and “The Capture and the Concentration Camp.” That last movement, which Anne did not write about, is based on contemporary news reports. Their chilling drama is balanced by lyrical melodies with more reflective words of love, compassion and even humor, including “Courage,” “The Passing of Time” and “Anne's Meditation.”

Artistic Director Iannuzzi: “At times haunting, frightening, humorous and hopeful, ‘Annelies’ goes straight to the heart, and Anne’s hope in the face of her circumstances is inspiring.”

As Anne wrote in the diary: “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”

Cantemus’ performances in late January coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. On Saturday, January 20, they will perform at St. Paul’s Church in Newburyport at 7:30pm. On January 21, at the Congregation Shirat Hayam synagogue in Swampscott, at 4pm.

For more information about the program and to purchase tickets, visit Tickets may be also be purchased at the door.

Cantemus gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and from the Local Cultural Councils of Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and Rowley. Cantemus is a member of Chorus America;; and the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in Boston and the surrounding area.

Cantemus members come from across the North Shore and New Hampshire: Amesbury: Gary Lubarsky. Beverly: Paul Kelly, Karen Kepler, Richard Salandrea, Marjorie Short, Braden Willenbrock*. Bradford: Mern Ebinger. Danvers: Carrie Evanchik. Durham, NH: Sydney van Asselt. Essex: Betsy Vicksell. Georgetown: Patty Clark. Gloucester: Roger Garberg. Hamilton: Pamela Morris, Andrea Welty Peachey. Haverhill: Doug Guy. Ipswich: Elizabeth Krafchuk, Anne Maguire, Stephen Miles, Chris Reif. Lexington: Izzy Baron*, Deniz Dokmecioglu*, Artistic Director Jason Iannuzzi. Manchester: Isabella Bates, Kate Lawrence, Caroline Royer, Byron Winn. Melrose: Accompanist Jeffrey Mead. Newburyport: Richard Blumenscheid, Claire Cayot, Ann Harter. Rockport: Brittany Betts. Roslindale: Deborah Lemont. Wenham: Jeremy Satchell. West Newbury: Jamie Cabot, Melissa Lugo, Susan Nash. * Cantemus Choral Interns from Beverly High School and Lexington High School

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