Veteran Israeli theater and opera director Micha Loewensohn dies at 65

With his lined, pouched face and a mournful bloodhound air that his optimism belied, Loewensohn moved unflappably through a life punctuated by achievement on stage and screen.

By HELEN KAYE
March 21, 2017 19:58
1 minute read.
ISRAELI THEATER and opera director Micha Loewensohn

ISRAELI THEATER and opera director Micha Loewensohn. (photo credit: GADI DAGON)

 
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A pillar has crumbled. There’s suddenly a huge hole in the fabric of Israeli culture.

65-year-old theater and opera director Micha Loewensohn died suddenly in his sleep during the night of March 20. He had been working at the Cameri on his and Avner ben Amos’ adaptation of David Grossman’s A Horse Goes into a Bar.

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With his lined, pouched face and a mournful bloodhound air that his optimism belied, Loewensohn moved unflappably through a life punctuated by achievement on stage and screen. He directed some 50 productions on all of Israel’s stages as well for cinema and TV. From 1994 to 2001 he was the artistic director of the Israel Festival. From 2009 – 14 he ran the Bet Zvi drama school. Whatever he did was always with intelligence, total commitment and without fanfare.

Born the eldest of four brothers in Jerusalem, Micha – nobody called him Mr. Loewensohn – grew up in Tel Aviv, did his army service as a producer for Army Radio, was a war correspondent during both the Yom Kippur and first Lebanon wars, in between times getting a BA in film and an MA in directing at New York University.

Returning to Israel in 1980 he directed at theaters all over the country, dramas, comedies, Festigal at Hanukka, opera in Boston and at the Israeli Opera. He was the artistic director in Toledo, Spain for a program commemorating 500 years since the expulsion of the Jews, did the narration for a 2013 documentary on the 1973 Yom Kippur War, taught acting and directing at Tel Aviv University, as well as acting himself, starting with The Cherry Season in 1991 to the TV thriller The Goldsmith in 2015.

The plays he directed include Death of a Salesman, Guys and Dolls, Copenhagen, for which he won Director of the Year, and Mikve, which garnered Play of the Year at the Israel Theater Prize.

“In theater you deal with the now, always,” he’d said when we spoke at Bet Zvi in 2009.

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It’s a fitting epitaph.

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