A cultural ‘tour de fortress’

Travel back in time (well, almost) at the Renaissance Festival in the Galilee

celtic fire311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
celtic fire311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Renaissance Festival, now in its 18th year, is taking place on September 27 and 28 at the Yehiam Fortress in the western Galilee.
The festival events, which include chamber concerts and various outdoor events, will be presented within the walls and yards of the ancient Crusader fortress, surrounded by a beautiful park.
“This year the festival explores the music and the rich culture of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque, which came to us from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea,” says festival artistic director and harpsichordist Marina Minkin. “This is a family event, and we don’t stray from the tradition.
The festival programs are geared toward the widest audience possible and include not only concerts in the fortress halls but also various outdoor activities, such as street theater, shows, processions and workshops.”
The festival, which boasts very high artistic standards, is hosting some of the best local ensembles, such as Phoenix, the Talmus Quartet, the Bat Kol and Shani choirs, as well as distinguished musicians from France, Germany, Italy, England and Hungary.
The festival opens on September 26 at 8:30 p.m. with the Celtic Fire show, with the Buran Ensemble hosting Yair Vardiger, the soloist of the Trikotra Irish dance ensemble, as well as a performance by belly dancer Avigail Klein.
For the following two days, the activities begin at 10 a.m. and last until late afternoon. The festival concerts, with the exception of the opening show, are free of charge.
Visitors pay only for the entrance tickets to the Yehiam National Park.
The price of the kids’ workshops, which range from early musical instruments to creating Renaissance hats, is very reasonable.
On the whole, the festival programs have fun and pleasure written all over them. Natalie Rotenberg and Alex Rosenblatt present a madrigal concert, which both kids and grownups will enjoy, while the Bat Kol choir under Anat Morag will render love songs from the Renaissance period until today.
Doret Florentin (recorder) Gil Evron (guitar) and Riki Peled (narration, viola da gamba) present a captivating musical journey entitled “Following Dona Gracia,” a tribute to the legendary wealthy Spanish Jewess who often visited Tiberias.
The Shani multicultural choir from the Jezreel Valley Music Center, which unites Jewish and Arab girls, will present a varied program of songs by such composers as Khalil Jibran, Solomone Rossi and Tzvi Avni.
Myrna Herzog’s Phoenix early instrument ensemble, with soloist soprano Michal Okun, will offer a selection of 17th-century Latin American music – and that is just part of the roster.
The festival will host several musicians from abroad. They include world-renowned flutist Israeli Moshe Epstein, who spends a significant part of his time teaching in Germany; French mezzo-soprano Mariam Sakissian; and Hungarian hurdy-gurdy player Pablo Lerner.
The closing event of the festival is a commedia dell’arte style show entitled The Princess, the King and the White Clown, presented by the Tiberias theater. A must-see for the whole family, the play features actors, puppets and some of the finest local Baroque musicians, such as Amit Tieffenbrunn.
In addition, the festival has two affiliated performances. The Israeli Bach Soloists perform at Kibbutz Eilon on September 24, and the Kibbutz Dance Ensemble presents its program at Kibbutz Ga’aton on September 27.
For reservations, call (04) 952-1175 For the detailed program, visit Web site www.lagalil.com