Two Remain

Regional Premiere

A short opera in two acts based on the stories of two Holocaust survivors: Krystyna Zywulska and Gad Beck.

Two Remain

Memories of Auschwitz


Her Jewish identity hidden, Krystyna Zywulska was a political prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In secret, she composed lyrics to inspire fellow prisoners, even as she carried out her harrowing job in the Effektenkammer, cataloguing the personal effects of thousands of women and children before they were murdered in the gas chambers next door. Many years after the war, a journalist asks Krystyana to share her stories, hoping to record them on a tape player. Haunted and helped by the ghosts of her past—Zosia, Edka, Mariola and her younger self, Krysia—she struggles to find the words. 

Gad Beck’s first true love was the poet Manfred Lewin, who was 19 when he and his entire family were murdered in Auschwitz. In the many years since the war, Gad has tried his best to forget what happened, but he keeps the book of Manfred’s original poems close by. As an old man, he is visited by Manfred’s ghost one night. As Manfred implores Gad to remember and celebrate their love, the painful truth of their stories and fates emerges. It is estimated that more than 100,000 men and women were imprisoned for homosexuality during the Holocaust; it is not known how many thousands were murdered. Even after the war was over, the German law prohibiting homosexuality, Paragraph 175, remained in effect until 1969. 


Based, in part, on the true stories of two Holocaust survivors: the Polish dissident Krystyna Zywulska (1914-1993) and the gay German Jew, Gad Beck (1923-2012). Source material for the libretto includes documents and journals in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Zywulska’s I Survived Auschwitz (1946), as well as various interviews, including several collected from the film Paragraph 175, directed by Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman.
(Copyright Reflexive Image, Inc. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.)

This opera was commissioned by Music of Remembrance (Mina Miller, founder and artistic director) and made possible by a generous award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Music of Remembrance Commissioning Circle. First Performance: May 22, 2016 at Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaryoa Hall, Seattle, WA.

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Performing Artists & Creative Team

Team not found
Performance Location

The Martin Foundry
212 Eureka Street
Central City, CO 80427
(View Map)

Please review our 2022 Festival health and safety guidelines »

Please note: Due to unforeseen production logistical needs, the performance location has been moved from St. James United Methodist Church back to the Martin Foundry. We apologize for this additional change.

2022 Festival

Regional Premiere


Jake Heggie


Gene Scheer 

Sung In


Run Time

TBD (Approx. 1 hr 45 min)