Soprano Dana Marbach to make contact at Abu Gosh Festival

She will take part in the Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival, which takes place in the village of the same name on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

May 15, 2018 21:43
4 minute read.
Soprano Dana Marbach

Soprano Dana Marbach. (photo credit: ASSAF KLIGER)


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Soprano Dana Marbach recalls the moment she began to understand her purpose in singing.

“There was this wonderful pianist, Irina, at the Opera Studio where I studied and she once interrupted the lesson, turned to me and asked: ‘do you know what the most important thing in our life is? Contact.’ It’s all about contact,” says Marbach, one of the most internationally successful young Israeli vocalists.

“Since then, these are the words which lead me as a singer.

Because we are here to share, to stir emotions, to trigger listeners’ response,” says Marbach, who will be performing at the Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival (May 18-20).

The program highlights of the 53rd festival, which takes place in the village of the same name on the outskirts of Jerusalem, include Chichester Psalms by Bernstein and fragments from West Side Story, performed to celebrate his 100th birthday; music by Mendelssohn as well as spirituals; arias by J.S. Bach as well as famous Bachiana Brasileira No. 5, by Villa-Lobos; The Great Mass in C minor, by Mozart and more. Israel’s top vocalists and instrumentalists will be participating.

Marbach, who is currently based in Berlin and appears throughout Europe on opera and concert stages, with a variegated repertoire that ranges from Baroque to contemporary, says that she “has been singing for her entire life and it always came naturally.”

She first appeared in an Israeli Opera production at just 18 years old.

“Both singers who were cast for a minor role of the shepherd in Puccini’s Tosca got sick just one day before the premiere and Nomi Faran, the conductor of the Moran children’s choir, of which I was a member, gave the theater my name. I strongly believe in destiny, and later there were more occasions which pushed me forward.

My first opera audition took place when I was like 20 years old. This was a prominent Italian conductor Daniele Ferro – he listened to my performance and that was it.

But half a year later he contacted me from Palermo asking whether I would like to come and replace a singer with whom he was not that happy. Just imagine – a music academy student, I was on stage with such world-renowned singers as Jose Van Dam!” Marbach says that this engagement brought more flattering offers her way, which could have advanced her career but which more often than not she declined.

“I refused although I was really hungry to perform. I felt that I needed to learn the profession thoroughly, and I had quite a few examples in front of my eyes of people who paid a heavy price for their fast success. The vocal apparatus has to be developed at a natural pace, otherwise it could be ruined, while I wanted a long career. And it paid off.

“There were more occasions, all these last-moment engagements, but now I knew that they were honestly earned by my hard work. And I love these situations, because these are moments of self-realization, of ultimate concentration, of recruitment of all your resources, of your body, your heart and your mind, and then you feel this peace of mind and you know that this is exactly what you are, your true self.”

After graduating from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and Israeli Opera Studio, Marbach decided to try her luck in Europe, where she acquired a master’s degree in art song studies in Hamburg.

Marbach confides that she enjoys singing “whatever is written well,” but keeps a special place in her heart for Baroque music and lieder – art songs. “Baroque vocal fireworks are vocally challenging for a performer, yet their finesse is very attractive, while lieder, these two-minutelong, emotionally charged stories, are like mental food for me.”

Surprisingly or not, art photography is Dana Marbach’s other passion.

Her photos are intense and quite abstract. Color, light and texture rather than people and place are her central characters. Over the years, her photography has become more sophisticated and rich, the composition less obvious and more daring.

“Photography gives me both concentration and rest and quiet.

I somehow feel that it is similar to my singing and that they complete one another.”

May 19 at 6:00 p.m. in Abu Gosh, Marbach will sing solo parts in Faure’s Requiem and Schubert’s Missa and Salve Regina, by the same composer.

“I am fond of Faure’s piece from my childhood – it is both transparent and intense. While Schubert’s pieces include many ensembles, which for me is doing good things together with good people. Actually this is one of the reasons why I am in the profession.”

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