A Mozart mosaic

The new Jerusalem Opera presents the fantasy 'Masters and Servants,’ crafted from the composer’s popular pieces.

By MAXIM REIDER
November 29, 2012 11:51
2 minute read.
The Jerusalem Opera: Masters and Servants

Theatrical servants, masters 390. (photo credit: Elad Zegman)

 
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The Jerusalem Opera, a new initiative that had a successful gala concert at the Gerard Behar Center last March, presents its first fully staged production: Masters and Servants, a fantasy based on some of Mozart’s operas.

“Originally we planned to open our theater with Don Giovanni, but due to changes in the schedule of Denis Sedov – the internationally acclaimed bass singer who will perform the title role – the rehearsal period was too short, so we decided to push Figaro to April 2013.

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Also, the Meshushalaim Festival – a popular Jerusalem event – has decided to adopt us, so we created a new family-oriented production that suits its framework perfectly. It does not require any previous knowledge of Mozart’s music. It is rather short, and although it is sung in original languages – that is, in German and Italian – it has Hebrew subtitles running above the stage,” says Julia Pevzner, the artistic director of the new company. She staged the new play and also wrote the new piece, compiling fragments from Mozart’s popular operas Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte, La Finta Giardiniera, Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni.

“Mozart was the first freelance composer in the history of music,” explains Pevzner. “He left the position of court composer because his freedom was precious to him – and he paid for that decisive step. He absolutely did not want to be a servant, and that is where the title of the show, Masters and Servants, comes from.”

Speaking of the libretto, Pevzner says that singer/actor Adi Cesare – another Israeli singer with a solid international career – reads Beaumarchais’s comedy La Folle Journée ou Le Mariage de Figaro, then starts a romantic affair, which turns into his opera Cosi Fan Tutte and ends up with Don Giovanni.

“In this play, I partly used Mozart’s letters to his father and his friends, and the rest I just invented,” admits the multitalented Pevzner with a smile. She adds, “I did my best to make this piece user-friendly. I believe that if opera is well prepared and well performed, anybody can enjoy it, even if it is his or her first encounter with the genre. And yes, the speaking parts are in Hebrew.”

Among the performers are Lilia Gretsova, Olga Senderskaya, Claudia Roick, tenor Adi Cesare, and Italian baritone Gabriele Ribis, who will sing on opening night and then be replaced by Israeli Yair Polishook.

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Omer Arieli, the music director of the new opera company, will lead the orchestra, which consists mainly of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, with a few additional musicians.

Masters and Servants, a fantasy based on Mozart’s operas, will be performed at Gerard Behar Center in Jerusalem on December 6 at 8 p.m. and December 14 & 21 at 11:30 a.m. For reservations, call (02)-623-7000.

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