(photo credit: Yossi Zwecker)
In the immortal words of Whitney Houston, “The children are our future.” This
summer, the Israeli Opera decided to adopt Houston’s ideology for the first
time. They realized, explained Chana Munitz, artistic director of the Tel
Aviv-based company, that the way to secure the future of opera in Israel is to
create young fans. “With this project, we are building the next generation of
opera lovers,” she declared, “and that means making operas for
The project took flight last week at the Tel Aviv Performing
Arts Center and will continue through the second week of August. Opera for All
Ages includes Alice in Wonderland, The Magic Flute and Cinderella.
Magic Flute and Cinderella are both productions that have previously
mounted in other theaters. Alice in Wonderland, however, is a world
created in Israel.
“It started like this: I walked into Chana Munitz’s
office and said I wanted to write an opera for children. She looked at
said three words: ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ From there I went straight to
said David Sebba. He wrote the music and the libretto for Alice and will
conductor for the entire engagement.
To make Alice extra-accessible for
the little ones, the directors of this opera thought to bring in an
element. As Hila Fahima sings the aria “Falling,” it appears as if her
descending into a deep animated well, projected on the enormous screen
at TAPAC. Costumes and lighting have also been especially designed to
the attention of even the most restless tot.
“There is animation, magic
and surprises throughout the entire opera,” said Sebba.
Of course, to
many, arias and underagers don’t sound like a harmonious match. Operas
generally reserved for adults with sound attention spans. However, Moshe
director of Alice, feels strongly that attending an opera can be an
experience for children. “Kids are much more able to handle things than
think. We have to give them a choice,” he said, “and let them decide
can and cannot sit through.”
Although Alice is the newest of the three
shows, the designers of the opera have put a lot of effort into making
The Magic Flute and Cinderella are equally unique and interesting.
designer Franklin Tavares crafted a host of extravagant costumes for The
Flute. His glamorous gowns and awe-inspiring accessories give Mozart’s
This initiative could not have been sustained by the opera
house alone, explained Munitz. Bank Hapoalim partnered with the opera to
this dream a reality. Shelly Amir, head of community relations for Bank
Hapoalim, expressed great excitement at the results of the endeavor.
life is part of our lives at the bank,” she said. “We aim to bring arts
education to the community and to promote young artists in Israel, like
artists,” she went on, pointing to Sebba and Kepten. “We have invited
clients from all our branches to bring their kids to the opera.”
price of these events surely exceeds what parents would allot for a day
movies. Tickets run from NIS 130 to 180 a seat.
Each show is
approximately one hour in length.
Opera for All Ages runs from July 15 to
August 17. For tickets, visit www.israel-opera.co.il or call (03)