Hitting the high notes
With orchestras on summer break, music lovers can turn to the annual International Opera Workshop at the newly renovated Israeli Music Conservatory in Tel Aviv.
Opera coach Joann Dornemann with participant Photo: Ariel Besor
It’s been 26 years since the inimitable Joan Dornemann persuaded then-Tel Aviv
mayor Shlomo Lahat that what Israel needed was an international opera
Lahat, to his eternal credit, agreed enthusiastically. Since
then the International Opera Workshop has gone from strength to strength and is
eagerly awaited by its many fans.
This year is no exception. Some 80
Israeli and international aspiring young opera professionals come together from
July 2-26 for three intensive weeks of coaching, master classes, rehearsal and
performance under Dornemann, herself a vocal coach at New York’s Metropolitan
Opera, and her team of equally illustrious professionals.
world-renowned baritone Thomas Hampson (here as a guest of the Israel
Philharmonic) will be giving a master class, only one, at the Tel Aviv Museum on
Others giving master classes are pianist/vocal coaches Claude
Webster and Bradley Moore, diction coach Hemdi Kfir, director Lawrence Edelson
and not least that great lady and great mezzo-soprano Mignon Dunn. Dunn, now 81,
has been with IOW from the very first.
But IOW is also about performance,
whether recitals or complete operas, staged on a shoestring, but usually
fantastic none the less.
The performances start with a free concert at
Jaffa’s Gan Hapisga (July 14) and end with a gala at the Tel Aviv Opera House
(July 26). In between the concerts include Mozart operas (July 16), Bel Canto
(beautiful singing) and the 19th-century (July 18) and summer Opera at the Tzora
Winery (July 19), that’s become a tradition and includes dinner and wine
Dornemann chooses the operas with the singers’ voices in mind.
This year’s batch: Claude Debussy’s one-act The Prodigal Son (July 20), R.
Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (July 21 and 23), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (July 22
and 25) and Poulenc’s Carmelite Dialogues (July 24).
This year’s IOW will
be held at the newly completed Ted And Lynn Arison Israel Music Conservatory in