The Yellow Ticket

The Yellow Ticket is a multimedia event featuring a rare 1918 silent film and an original score by renowned klezmer violinist/vocalist/composer Alicia Svigals,  performed live along with Toronto's virtuoso new-music pianist Marilyn Lerner.  

Alicia Svigals is the world's foremost klezmer fiddler, a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics and a 2014 NEA MacDowell Fellow in composition.  “The Yellow Ticket,” a very early production of the German film company UFA-Pagu, was made at the end of World War I and on the eve of the Russian revolution.  It stars an adolescent Pola Negri, who would later become the legendary femme fatale of the silent era, and tells the story of a young Jewish woman from a Polish shtetl who is constrained by anti-Semitic restrictions to lead a double life in a brothel while attempting to study medicine in Tsarist Russia. The film includes precious footage of the former Jewish quarter of Warsaw and the people who  once lived there.

Alicia received a Foundation for Jewish Culture New Jewish Music commission for this project.  She was also commissioned by Music of Remembrance in Seattle to arrange the score for trio including Seattle Symphony clarinetist Laura DeLuca, and performs both versions on tour.

I believe this accompaniment to The Yellow Ticket is one of the most powerful I have heard. It evokes not only a sense of the contemporary context of the culture in which the film took place, but our awareness of what was done to it afterwards. The sound of piano, violin and the human voice evoke passion, energy and a profound sense of mourning, bridging the historical distance between us and this film as eloquently as does Pola Negri’s extraordinary face. ”

— Professor Tom Gunning, University of Chicago Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies



The Yellow Ticket 

The Ashokan Center 

Olivebridge, NY 

May 20, 2018  7:30 PM  


The Yellow Ticket 

National Sawdust 

Brooklyn, NY 

May 19, 2018  7 PM 


The Yellow Ticket 

With pianist Donald Sosin 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

March 27, 2018  


Le Giornate del Cinema Muto/Pordenone Silent Film Festival 

Pordenone, Italy 

October 1, 2017  


Wellesley College 

Jewett Art Center 

September 23, 2017, 3 PM 


University of Colorado at Boulder 

Gordon Gamm Theater, Dairy Arts Center 

September 15, 2017, 8 PM 


Vassar College, Villard Room 

September 10, 2017, 7 PM 


Emory University 

Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts 

September 7, 2017, 8 PM 


Michigan State University 

March 25, 2017, 7:30 PM 


San Francisco JCC 

January 19, 2017, 7 PM 


Stanford University, CA 

January 18, 2017, 7:30 PM 


Virginia Film Festival/ University of VA 

November 6, 2016 


Kinoteka, Warsaw, Poland 

September 8, 2016, 7pm 


Kino Kijow Centrum, Cracow, Poland 

September 5, 2016, 7pm 


White Stork Synagogue, Wroclaw, Poland  

September 3, 2016, 9pm  


Brandeis University, Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts 

April 14, 2016 


Brooklyn Heights Synagogue 

April 9, 2016  


Cornell University 

April7, 2016 


Grinnell College 

November 21, 2015  



University of Wisconsin, Madison 

November 6, 2015 


Detroit Institute of Art 

April 24, 2015 

With Seattle Symphony clarinetist Laura DeLuca! 


Irvington Town Hall  

Irvington, NY 

April 19, 2015  


Kenyon College, OH 

March 28, 2015 


Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia 

September 21, 2014 


Ashkenaz Festival, Toronto 

Harbourfront Centre Theatre 

August 31, 2014 


Detroit Institue of Art 

Presented by Cinetopia Film Festival 

With Seattle Symphony clarinetist Laura DeLuca! 

June 8, 2014 


Benaroya Hall, Seattle  

Commissioned and presented by Music of Remembrance    

Premiere of new version of the score for violin, clarinet and piano, with clarinetist Laura DeLuca of the Seattle Symphony. 

May 12, 2014 


Swarthmore College, PA 

Lang Concert Hall 

Panel discussion with the performers and Robert Weinberg (Swarthmore Dept of History), Laurie Bernstein (Rutgers Department of History) and Barbara Milewski (Swarthmore Department of Music) to follow. 

April 4, 2014  


National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 

March 1, 2014  


Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Scheuer Chapel, Cincinnati 

Mayerson JCC Jewish and Israeli Film Festival opening night gala  

February 8, 2014  


Chisuk Emuna Congregation, Harrisburg, PA 

November 17, 2013  



North Adams, MA 

November 16, 2013  


The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston  

Presented by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, the Houston Cinema Arts Society and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

November 7, 2013  


Composers and Klezmers: Alicia Svigals on Bartók, Bloch, and the Score to The Yellow Ticket 

Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston 

November 6, 2013  


University of Chicago, Logan Center for the Arts 

October 26, 2013  


The Gershman Y, Philadelphia 

Co-presented with the National Museum of American Jewish History 

May 9, 2013  


National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadephia 

Special event in conjunction with May 9 screening of the Yellow Ticket. 

Acoustic Conversations: Women in Music.  A panel discussion at the  with Alicia Svigals, Jeri Lynne Johnson, Founding Music Director of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, and Magdaliz Roura, Puerto Rican singer of folk and traditional music.  Moderated by Andrea Clearfield, award-winning composer. 

May 5, 2013  


New Center for Arts and Culture at Coolidge Corner Theater, Boston 

Co-presented by Boston Jewish Music Festival in collaboration with the Boston Jewish Film Festival.  Followed by a panel discussion with scholars from Brandeis and Harvard. 

April 29, 2013  


Southwest Michigan Jewish Film Festival, Kalamazoo 

April 21, 2013 


Coral Gables Art Cinema, Miami 

Presented by Next@19 in collaboration with the Miami International Film Festival 

March 3, 2013  



Chutzpah! The Lisa Nemetz International Showcase of Jewish Performing Arts at the Norman Rothstein Theatre 

February 17, 2013 


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York 

Walter Reade Theater 

The New York Jewish Film Festival, a collaboration between the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center 

January 10, 2013 


Washington DCJCC: Washington Jewish Music Festival and Washington Jewish Film Festival 

May 21, 2012