(photo credit: NATHANIEL S. BUTLER)
NEW YORK – As fans of the Brooklyn Nets gathered at the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn on Wednesday night to watch the basketball team’s final game of the season against the Toronto Raptors, they heard the voice of Israeli singer Lianne Aharony.
Aharony, an opera singer born and raised in Jerusalem, is believed to be the first Israeli to ever sing the national anthem at the start of an NBA game.
“It was amazing, an incredible experience,” she told The Jerusalem Post
at the game, after her performance. “It’s huge and it’s a big honor to be in a place like this and be part of what’s happening here.”
Aharony moved to New York four years ago and has been performing in various events, including ones organized by the Israeli Consulate. She has previously performed as a vocal soloist across Israel with the Israel Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras, as well as in concert halls in Japan, Portugal, Russia, Italy, Turkey and the United States.
Aharony has been auditioning for several operatic productions in New York and has just been accepted into the Tri Cities Opera program in upstate Binghamton, New York.
As she sung the last high notes of the Star-Spangled Banner on Wednesday, the Israeli singer received much applause from the audience, who cheered for her as she said goodbye.
Many of the Jewish fans in the audience approached her to congratulate her.
Even though she sang the national anthems of the United States and Canada, Aharony told the Post she felt she was also representing Israel.
“I believe that arts and culture have a huge place in Israel’s public relations,” she said. “When you see an Israeli artist, from any background, on a stage, it is the best way to show the beautiful side of our country.”
“I absolutely see myself as an ambassador,” she continued.
Aharony also explained she had to do a lot of preparatory work before the performance.
“I had to think about where I come from and about the meaning of the words, which is complex,” she told the Post. “It’s a bit like going to a good friend’s birthday and honoring them. I had a great time honoring our friends.”