Long Yu leads the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, soprano Zhang Meigui, and mezzo-soprano Zhu Huiling in a rehearsal of “Émigré,” an oratorio about Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany for Shanghai. Photo by Qilai Shen for the New York Times.

In Monday’s (11/27) New York Times, Keith Bradsher and Javier C. Hernández write, “The emigration of thousands of Central European and Eastern European Jews to China in the late 1930s and early 1940s—and their survival of the Holocaust—is one of World War II’s most dramatic but little-known chapters. In ‘Émigré,’ a 90-minute oratorio that premiered this month in Shanghai and will come to the New York Philharmonic in February 2024, the stories of these refugees and their attempts to build new lives in war-torn China are front and center. The piece, composed by Aaron Zigman, with lyrics by Mark Campbell and Brock Walsh, has been in the works for several years, a commission of the Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Long Yu. But it is opening at a delicate time, with tensions high between China and the United States and with the Israel-Hamas war spurring heated debates in the cultural sphere…. The creators of “Émigré,” which takes place during the Second Sino-Japanese War, said they hoped the piece would help underscore a shared sense of humanity in a time of renewed strife.’