Opera Review: La Juive

The overtowering stage personality was Marina Poplavskaya in the title role, a soprano of uncommon beauty who cannot fail to make one fall in love.

April 15, 2010 04:29
1 minute read.
opera kids 88

opera kids 88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


La Juive
By Fromental Halevy
The Israeli Opera
April 13

Halevy’s La Juive compels one to resist the temptation of regarding this opera as a reflection of 19th century European anti-Semitism, mainly because its plot significantly resembles Verdi’s slightly later Il Trovatore. That opera’s victim, likewise revealed as the count’s supposedly dead brother at the very moment of his execution, is a Gypsy. Not the hatred of Jews, then, but the hate of the “Other” - a part of that era’s spiritual climate in Europe – is the common denominator of the two works.

The Israeli Opera’s production was an excellent performance of a not-so-excellent opera. The plot’s absurdity, the music’s frequently commonplace sound effects, and the work’s superfluous length were largely forgotten thanks to David Pountney and Robert Israel’s imaginative, unconventional direction and sets, and Renato Zanella’s entertaining – though excessive – choreography. Moreover, the presentation mercifully spared the spectators the gruesome details of the execution.

This performance’s most outstanding element was the singers. The overtowering stage personality was Marina Poplavskaya in the title role. A soprano of uncommon beauty who could not fail to make Leopold – and not only him – fall in love with her; lovely, enchanting softness in the highest registers, coupled with forceful expression and intensity in the dramatic passages, made hers a captivating leading role.

Neil Shicoff’s dramatic tenor made for a strongly expressive Eleazar.  His final, genuinely moving aria, in particular, was one of the performance’s highlights.

An authoritative, bigoted, but toward the end also profoundly human and tragic Cardinal Brogni was made alive by Roberto Scandiuzzo’s dark, sonorous bass.

Soprano Annick Massis, in the role of Eudoxia, displayed effortlessly virtuosic breakneck coloraturas.

Robert McPherson’s lyric tenor, as Leopold, represented a credible, persuasive lover, though in voice and character not quite worthy of his beloved Rachel.

Conducted by Daniel Oren, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion impressively conveyed the work’s constantly changing emotional climate and forcefully accented dramatic effects.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys