They are both excellent pieces, well performed; if you're interested in Czech opera or music related to the Holocaust - Brundibar was famously performed many times at the Terezín concentration camp - I would encourage you to go see them.
However, there is a big warning that must be attached to the production:
AMPLIFICATION IN USE. Really bad amplification.
It was so distracting that I might well have walked out, but I had taken a friend as thanks for a great favor, and of course I did want to see the pieces.
I find the use of amplification almost completely incomprehensible:
- The Roda Theater seats all of 600.
- The theater is new, well-designed, and has good acoustics.
- The orchestra was amplified even though it's under the stage and consists of maybe a dozen instruments.
- All of the singers were amplified.
I understand amplifying children, if it's done carefully. It's hard to argue, for example, with the decision of the San Francisco Opera to put a microphone on the 8-year-old who sang Amore in L'incoronazione di Poppea in 1998 - but that was in the 3200 seat War Memorial Opera House, not the 600-seat Roda. But I don't want to go to the theater and hear the orchestra coming from speakers to my left and the soprano coming from a speaker over my head. I want to hear the orchestra coming from the pit and the singers' voices coming from the stage. I spoke to some friends the next day and they all felt the same. So, I'm sending a letter about this to Tony Taccone, in hopes that maybe Berkeley Rep will listen.