Aurelia Thierée 370.
(photo credit: Richard Haughton)
The Israel Festival 2012 is out to prove the old adage that good things come in
small packages, that it’s quality, not quantity, that makes a
As always, it takes place in and around the Jerusalem Theater
as well as at other Jerusalem venues.
Certain performances will also play
at Holon and Modi’in, among others.
“Creativity is the ability to
reinterpret or reinvent an idea, and make it visible, accessible and relevant”
says Festival artistic director Moshe Kepten, adding that this year’s somewhat
downsized festival indicates a return to its roots.
“There are 31
events,” he said at Monday’s press conference introducing the festival, that
reflect the changing tastes of today’s audiences. String quartets are “out.”
Multi- or interdisciplinary is “in,” and this year’s offerings reflect that
While there are contributions from 12 countries, three are
special. Japan, the first nation in Asia to recognize Israel, celebrates 60
years of diplomatic relations while the Czech Republic and China weigh in with
20. To mark the anniversary each has sent some of its best to the
Praising the Israel Festival’s contribution to awareness of
Jerusalem as a destination for cultural tourism, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said
his administration has inaugurated a multi-year cultural and infrastructure
upgrade program which he invites to festival to exploit. “I challenge you to
challenge us,” he said.
The Festival’s opening show will
be a tribute to the late, very great Yossi Banai (1932-2006) at Safra
The Yamato drummers of Japan with Gamushara (reckless in
Japanese), and from China Nine Scrolls, a legend that traces the development of
From the Czech Republic The Forman Brothers – twin sons of famed
movie director Milos Forman – bring their Obludarium, a circus cabaret in a big
tent, to the Jerusalem Theater plaza.
Charlie Chaplin’s daughter Victoria
Thierre Chaplin directs her own daughter Aurelia Thierée in her surrealistic
non-verbal Murmures des Murs, the story of a woman seeking her place in the
Israel’s contribution is Moshe Kepten’s production of the Tony
Award (1998) winning musical Parade that tells the terrible story of Leo Frank,
tried, condemned and lynched in 1915 for a rape he didn’t commit. It’s a joint
Israel/UK and US production in English.Music
Two kinds of Baroque music
from the 17th and 18th centuries are on offer: Accentus Austria plays us all
kinds of lovely stuff, folk and classical, from the then-Austro-Hungarian
Empire, and from Columbia comes Musica Ficta, giving us the rare chance to hear
music by South American composers.
Eminent US /musicologist conductor
Murray Sidlin has a story to tell. In 1943 at Terezin, or Theresienstadt, the
Nazis’ show camp, the equally eminent conductor Raphael Schächter conducted
Verdi’s Requiem before an audience of SS and other assorted thugs.
can sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them,” he is reputed to have said.
Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin is Sidlin’s concert drama of that event in
narrative and film with Israeli solists and the Kuhn Choir from
Tango fans will be able to experience Tangueros Del Sur
from Argentina, our old friend Momix returns with its earth-friendly Botanica
and dance sensation from Japan Saburo Teshigawara and his company offer Mirror
Let’s not forget the kids. For them there’s the Flying
Karamazov Brothers – juggling Jewish brothers from New York, and The Bell Child,
a musical by Nava Semel and Ben Artzi.
For 10 years the budget has stood
at around NS 10 million and “that we make the festival a success is due to the
generous support we get from the various participating countries,” said Festival
CEO Yossi Talgan.
Ticket prices range from NIS 40 to NIS 200 with all
kinds of deals and discounts. They’ll be available online from April 24 and go
on sale generally after Pessah.