3 Unbeatable Reasons to Get Dramatic with the Israeli Opera
The Israeli Opera scene has come along way since its inception in 1923. It has maintained an internationally acclaimed standard and frequently delivers beautiful masterpieces by Puccini, Verdi, Offenbach and more. But why go see an opera in the first place? According to artistic director Michael Eisenstadt, opera combines everything you get from a concert, a bar or a dance interpretation — all in one glamorous hall, topped off with a strong, tragic story line and flamboyant costumes.We give you three unbeatable reasons to get your culture fix at Israeli Opera.
This spring, the stunning Nabucco production took center stage at The Israeli Opera to deliver Verdi’s only Jewish opera .The story follows the people of Zion, who struggle to keep their temple from the grips of the Babylonian emperor, Nabucco. As their temple falls, the fight for faith prevails. The orchestra is conducted by Daniel Oren and is a delightful treat for the ears.
‘Our audiences love their 19th century operas and they greatly appreciate us for that’, says Eisenstadt. In fact, audiences today have the same taste as audiences in the 19th century when it comes to drama, music and the overall ‘wow’ factor of an opera production.
The costumes take a majestic, biblical slant and the main female characters, sisters Fenena and Abigail, are accented by vibrant blue and red wigs. More importantly, watch out for the fiery wrath of Abigail which really comes alive on stage. Her sister, Fenena, becomes romantically involved with the man she loves , Ismaele, as jealous rage nearly drives her to obliterate Fenena along with the entire Jewish people.
The ultimate opera experience lies in the monumental Masada festival. ‘The Masada festival showed people that opera is an experience they couldn’t even imagine’, says Eisenstadt. The Israeli opera went far and beyond to attract audiences from Israel and all over the world to the holy grail of opera festivals. Imagine the historic mountain of Masada in the background of an opera Disneyland, built from ancient arcs, surrounding a stadium for 7500 spectators in the middle of the desert.
This year, the summer festival will feature Tosca and Carmina Burana in the month of June. The Israeli opera holds the ultimate objective of spreading their art and embracing new audiences.They initiate those who would feel alienated by what is perceived to be an elitist art form. ‘We have a huge educational outreach program for people who still [harbor] stigma about opera, that its’ boring and about fat women who sing”, explains Eisenstadt. They even went to Jerusalem’s mahane yehuda market to perform arias from LaBoheme. Six vocalists spread themselves across the market and started to sing in regular clothing, later joined by their comrades in costume. Don’t be surprised if you happen to enter a cheese shop and hear an aria from Carmen.
It all started when Mordechai Golinkin, a Russian immigrant, managed to raise funds for a few singers and musicians in 1923. ‘The first Traviata had an orchestra of 12 and a chorus of 7, but it was very exciting and it was with a Jewish soloist who immigrated to this part of the world’, explained Eisenstadt.
Fast forward into a newly born Israeli state as an exceptional young Soprano, named Edis de Philippe, came into view. De Philipe would go on to fund the Israeli National Opera until its closing in 1982. The Israeli Opera was revived in 1985, as Hannah Munitz, their general director, resurrected Israel’s first internationally reputed opera house and kept it up to a globally respected standard. For those who think of opera is an expensive endeavor, tickets can go on sale for more affordable prices than a Justin Timberlake concert.
By Kyla Blumenfeld
Kyla is currently studying communications and works in the tech arena . She quenches her thirst for culture, food and literature in the Culture Trip, and sees herself as a citizen of the world.
Originally published at theculturetrip.com.