Concert Review: Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra

For all the participants this was audibly and visually a labor of love.

By URY EPPSTEIN
June 27, 2019 03:28
1 minute read.
The Baroque Orchestra.

The Baroque Orchestra 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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 Believe it or not, but a work composed about 300 years ago can still have its Israeli premiere here and now – Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio “David’s Fight and Victory.”


The revival of this hitherto ignored work in the land of the Bible was achieved thanks to the initiative of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra and its indomitable conductor and director, David Shemer.
 
What strikes one as unprofessional of a composer of Scarlatti’s stature is his assigning of the roles of David and Jonathan to two sopranos. This is confusing for the audience, especially as mezzo-sopranos and counter-tenors were available in Scarlatti’s time, making this amateurish role assignment unnecessary.


Sopranos Hadas Faran and Adaya Peled as David and Jonathan, each of them brilliant, attempted to solve this dilemma by introducing slightly different tone colors into their charming voices.


Yair Polishook’s sonorous baritone and overpowering stage presence were a persuasive frightening Goliath. The Adi Choir alternately expressed the turbulence of war and the exuberance of victory.


For all the participants this was audibly and visually a labor of love.


Unlike Handel’s (later) oratorios and operas that end in an exciting chorus, Scarlatti lets his oratorio fade out in a gradual choral diminuendo, leaving the audience with a wish for more.

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