West Side Story 88 248.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Israeli Opera Tel Aviv-Yafo will celebrate its upcoming 25th season (as well as Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary) with a program that features seven operas and a musical. The major attraction is undoubtedly a larger than life Weekend in the Desert production, which is scheduled for June 2010 and includes Nabucco, by Verdi, conducted by Daniel Oren and starring Paata Burchuladze, and a concert by legendary singer Jessie Norman, presented, along with other programs, at the foot of Masada.
On the whole, the season is, as usual, a mixture of original local productions and existing operatic shows brought from the abroad. The Child Dreams - an opera by Israeli composer Gil Shohat, based on Hanoch Levin's play - will have its world premiere in January 2010. The opera will be directed by the artistic director of the Cameri Theater, Omri Nitzan, with sets and costumes designed by Gottfried Helnwein - who is familiar to local opera buffs for his amazing Der Rosenkavalier a few years ago.
The Stanislavsky Opera Theater from Moscow will have its Israeli debut with Betrothal in a Monastery, a comic opera by Sergei Prokofiev that has never been presented here. Among the popular pieces scheduled for next year are Faust, by Charles Gounod, with Paata Burchuladze, conducted by the young and rising Israeli maestro Omer Wellber; a new production of The Barber of Seville by Rossini, with Chen Reiss as Rosina. The legendary American tenor Niel Shicoff will sing in Halevy's La Juive - a story of anti-Semitism in medieval Germany - and Daniel Oren will conduct. Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, directed by Polish Mariusz Trelinski - one of the most intriguing directors of our time (who debuted in Israeli opera with his visually stunning Madama Butterfly) - will close the 2009-2010 opera season.
An additional attraction is Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, which will run in September 2009 with participation of stars from London and New York, conducted by Donald Chan.
Last but not least - with an understanding of the fact that this country lacks an age-old operatic tradition - the Israeli Opera is doing its best to nurture a new generation of opera goers. Despite financial difficulties, it plans to continue its various educational programs, including the unique Opera with the Community project, where a team of young artists lands in a remote community and stages an adapted version of a popular operatic piece in a full cooperation with the local forces.