The sounds of Baroque
The Vocal Music Festival in Abu Ghosh abounds with topnotch local and international artists.
Yeela Avital Photo: Courtesy
For music lovers, a trip to serene Abu
Ghosh for the Vocal Music Festival is a genuine pleasure. There, in a village on
the outskirts of Jerusalem, the traditional festival takes place between May
25-27, with a roster of local and international artists offering a wide variety
Among the visiting artists, the Vokalquintett Berlin sounds
promising, while the virtuoso Tbilisi Ensemble is a must, considering Georgia’s
long tradition of male choruses.
Not long ago, Israeli soprano Yeela
Avital and harpsichordist Yizhar Karshon, her colleague from the Baroccada
orchestra, founded the Baroccada Singers vocal ensemble to perform the kind of
repertoire they both like: 17th-century madrigals by Monteverdi and
“These pieces are rarely performed in Israel and demand a lot
of work,” says Avital. “You need to find relevant vocalists and to create a very
specific sound. That takes time.
We’ve been working together for about
six months, and I am glad we are given the chance to present our ensemble at Abu
Ghosh. And although this time we are not performing Italian madrigals but rather
an entirely Bach program, it is still the same ensemble.”
that the program also includes rarely performed pieces: “For example, Bach’s
motets, written for eight voices, or his Cantata #4, which we will perform as a
vocal quartet. I love ensemble singing,” she says.
What is so special
about a Baroque repertoire? “There is a special charm about the Italian Baroque
repertoire, together with a strong sense of a new beginning. The composers of
that time were true revolutionaries because they wanted to give musical
expression to every word of the text. The combination of voices is amazing, and
it’s a sheer pleasure to be a part of it. As for the current concert’s program,
we choose it with the help of Hanna Zur, the artistic director of the festival.
I would say that these are the most touching and romantic pieces by
Among other participants in the Johann Sebastian Bach – Eternal
Beauty concert are sopranos Shimrit Tziporen and Ella Wilhelm, alto Avital Deri,
tenors Doron Florentin and Eliav Lavi, basses Yoel Sivan and Oded Reich, as well
as the Baroccada Orchestra with Yizhar Karshon at the harpsichord.
programs feature Bach’s Magnificat, performed by the Ra;anana Symphonette under
Stenly Sperber, together with choir and soloists; duets and arias by Tchaikovsky
and Rimsky-Korsakov; vocal pieces by Rachmaninov and Bolohov; as well as Russian
folk songs performed by Israeli Opera soloists Anastasia Kelavan and Svetlana
Sandler, accompanied by Lena Gershuni on the piano; Mozart’s Requiem, together
with short a cappella choir masterpieces “Ave Verum” by Saint-Saëns, “Ave Maris
Stella” by Grieg; and Mendelssohn’s “Ave Maria,” performed by soloists, the Tel
Aviv Chamber Choir and the Ra’anana Symphonette under Michael Shani..
Johann Sebastian Bach – Eternal Beauty concert takes place on May 26 at 11:30
a.m. at the Kiryat Ye’arim Church, which has excellent acoustics. For more
details and reservations for the festival, go to www.agfestival.co.il