An impressive look back

Over the years, we’ve had some of the greatest names in the performing arts world appearing at or sending work to the Israel Festival.

By HELEN KAYE
February 16, 2011 21:38
2 minute read.
The Israel Festival.

israel festival 58. (photo credit: PR)

Over the years, we’ve had some of the greatest names in the performing arts world appearing at or sending work to the Israel Festival: violinist Isaac Stern, cellist Pablo Casals, director Peter Brook, Dizzy Gillespie, Stephane Grapelli, the Kirov Ballet, the Leipzig Opera, Sankai Juko, who introduced Japanese butoh to an amazed audience – so many.

There have been our own, too, more and more over the years.

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William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet came in 1990 In 1991, the year of the Gulf War, we had the wacky Archaos circus and Russia’s famed Derevo theater (from whom we inherited Clipa’s Dmitri Tulpanov). Merce Cunningham came that year too, still dancing at over 70. Flautist James Galway came in 1992, and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Ricardo Muti, and the Red Army Choir. In 1993 we got Greek icon Mikis Theodorakis, guitarist Pat Metheny, as well as both the Vienna State Opera with The Magic Flute and Aida from Opera di Verona.

In 1994 we also hosted guitarist Julian Bream and theater artist Robert Wilson and his eerily lovely Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights.

Peter Brook brought The Man Who from his Bouffe du Nord Theater in 1995.

In 1998, Israel’s jubilee year, we celebrated our own great ones, such as playwright Nissim Aloni and singer/sonwriter Naomi Shemer. Soprano Kathleen Battle came that year, as did Holland’s famed Concertgebouwe orchestra.

In the first years of the new century, we’ve had such artists as dancer Akram Khan, the clown Familie Floez, the Spanish National Ballet, pianist Andras Schiff, the Bill T.Jones Dance Company, and ever increasingly our own cultural splendors.



We’ve had The Child Dreams by Hanoch Levin, Yehuda Poliker, the Batsheva and Kibbutz Dance Companies, the hopeful Arab/Jewish Romeo and Juliet, Ahinoam Nini (she’s back this year), Hanan Snir’s The Dybbuk (a tribute to Habima’s first production in the then Palestine), percussionist Hen Zembalista, the Clipa Theater, Dori Parnes and Poet in New York, Amit Drori’s Terminal, a tribute to Moshe Willensky and the list goes on.

The Israel Festival opens a window for Israelis on the world’s cultural treasures and shows our best and most attractive face to the world.


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