Peter and the Wolf 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Israel Festival
Peter and the Wolf:
The True Story
The Revolution Orchestra
The Happy End of the Israel Festival’s classical music events was Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, performed by the Israeli Revolution Orchestra, conducted by Roy Oppenheim.
It was a play of interchanged identities. First, Prokofiev’s well-known classic version was presented authentically, with a hilarious animation film to illustrate the story. The orchestra was synchronized with the film to perfection.
Then the story was retold upside down. Peter became the bad boy, and the Wolf appeared as a friendly, playful animal, harmless and wishing to be on good terms with everybody. The witty music, in convincing Prokofievian style, was composed by Rafi Kadishson. The energetic, excellently trained orchestra not only played, but also sang, yelled and acted, and that’s what was revolutionary about it. The chicken-devouring children in the audience were admonished not to blame the wolf for swallowing a duck.
Meticulously polished as the performance was, it did not take itself too seriously. It was good-humored amusement, approaching the festival’s end with a smile.The Israel FestivalVerdi: La TraviataSultan’s PoolJune 7
For presenting La Traviata
, in a costumed concert performance at Jerusalem’s Sultan’s Pool, the Israeli Opera, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, conductor Yishai Steckler and the Israel Festival did their best under far-from-ideal conditions.
The audience, far from the stage, was assisted by amplification and
enlarged screen projections. If it was intended to have the audience
accept this performance as a miniature consolation prize for those who
missed the Israeli Opera’s mega-event of Nabucco
at Masada, it was a
modest success. The Old City walls were a fair compensation for the
mountain, and Traviata
was even more popular than Nabucco
, though it
substitutes social sentimentality for patriotic sentiments.
In the absence of staging, the singers’ amateurish attempts at acting supplied some unintentional comicality of its own.
As Violetta, supposed to be gentle, loving and pneumonic, Mirela
Gradinaru’s soprano was so assertive, strained, shrill and unsteady on
the high notes that it was difficult to understand Alfredo’s love for
it. Scott Piper’s radiant lyric tenor as Alfredo was intense, rich in
subtle nuances of dynamics and expression, and represented a credible
Steckler proved to be a competent opera conductor. He held the
for-him-unfamiliar Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra firmly in his grip, and
inspired it to dramatic and finely coordinated expression.