J'lem churches offer taster for opera festival

As part of the 2011 Israeli Opera Festival, the capital's churches will host classical concerts including Verdi’s Jerusalem.

May 24, 2011 11:07
4 minute read.
Congregants at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Church of the Holy Sepulcher 311. (photo credit: Travelujah)


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The historical churches of Jerusalem are set to become the venues for a cultural sampling of Israel’s classical music scene.

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As part of the 2011 Israeli Opera Festival, Jerusalem churches will host classical concerts in an appetizer of sorts to the city’s main events: A gala opera concert with the Arena di Verona Orchestra on June 2 and a performance of Verdi’s Jerusalem, conducted by David Stern, in the shadow of the Old City on June 6, both at Sultan’s Pool.

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Michael Ajzenstadt, artistic administrator of the Israel Opera Tel Aviv-Yafo, said that every year the opera directors discuss which operas to perform for the festival. This year, the choice was easy, he told Travelujah.

“We thought, if we are doing this festival in Jerusalem, what would be better than an opera written by the greatest opera writer about Jerusalem?” Ajzenstadt said.

Giuseppi Verdi wrote Jerusalem in March 1847 for the Paris Opera. It was loosely based on I Lombardi all Prima Crociata. The four-act opera is about a crusade to Jerusalem and takes place partly in the crusader staging areas in Ramla.

At Masada’s outdoor theater, Verdi's Aida will be performed on June 4, 5, 9 and 12, conducted by Maestro Daniel Oren and on June 3, Verdi’s Requiem with the Arena di Verona Orchestra conducted by Giuliano Carella.

The Jerusalem concert series will take place on June 3 at 10 different churches and other Christian sites. Click here for a complete list.

This first Jerusalem opera is part of the Israeli Opera Festival, which featured open-air performances at Masada of Verdi’s Nabucco. Israel joins the international community hosting summer operas at historic archeological sites in Italy, France, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Spain and England among others.

The Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, the Austrian Hospice and the Church of the Redeemer are some of the venues in the Old City. St. Andrew’s Scottish Church,

Last year, the first Masada Opera Festival drew more than 41,000 opera lovers from Israel and around the world came to the Dead Sea.

Schedule of performances:

St. Andrew's Church
The Art of the Concerto: Concerti by Handel, Bach, Vivaldi and Corelli
The Israel Camerata Jerusalem - Avner Biron, conductor
Muki Zohar, oboe
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 11:00, 13:00

The Lutheran (Redeemer) Church
Misa Criolla and other Latin American Liturgical Works
Yotam Cohen, tenor
The kibbutz Artzi Choir
South American Ensemble
Yuval Ben Ozer, conductor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00

Augusta Victoria Church, Mt. Of Olives
Hear My Prayer: Choral works by Raminsh, Poulsen, Carter, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Busto
The Ankor Choir (Dafna Ben Yohanan, conductor)
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 11:00, 13:00

Dormition Abbey
Ave Maria - Choral Works for Girls Choir
The Young Bat Kol Choir - Anat Morag, conductor
David Feldman, Countertenor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00

Tower of David Museum
Opera Sancta: Sacred songs by 19th century Italian opera composers (Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini)
Mima Millo, soprano
Alaa Vasilevitsky, soprano
Yifat Weisskopf, mezzo soprano
Julia Rovinsky, harp
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00

The Austrian Hospice - The Chapel
Meeting Cleopatra - Arias by Handel, Mattheson and Hasse
Hila Baggio, soprano
Shira Raz, mezzo soprano
Baroque Trio directed by Eithan Schmeisser
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00 16:00

The Austrian Hospice - Auditorium
English Baroque - works by Dowland, Purcell and Handel
Yael Levita, soprano
Na'ama Goldman, mezzo soprano
Baroque ensemble directed by Eithan Schmeisser
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 11:30, 14:00

The Sisters of Zion Church, Ein Karem
From Monteverdi to Bach
The New Israeli Vocal Ensemble
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00
st. vincent de paul
Vincent de Paul Church
Bach Barndenburg Concerti - No. 3, 4, 5, 6
The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra
David Shemer, conductor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 10:00, 11:30

Henry Crown Symphony Hall
Mahler - Das Lied von Der Erde (chamber version)
Gil Shohat, conductor
Ayala Zimbler, mezzo soprano
Gabriel Sadeh, tenor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: One performance only at 13:30

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

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