Israel Opera launches new season

The 4th International Opera Festival at Masada has been a dizzying success ever since the opening Nabucco in 2010.

‘WEST SIDE STORY’ 370 (photo credit: Courtesy PR)
(photo credit: Courtesy PR)
The Israel Opera’s canny general director Hanna Munitz doesn’t do things by halves.
Presenting the 2013/14 season to the press at the Israel Opera House, aka the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center or TAPAC, she goes all out with a video presentation, mask centerpieces, a generous spread and a couple of bewitching arias from two young Israeli sopranos and an Argentinian tenor to die for.
And 2013/14 in opera, dance and music really is something to shout about.
First of all there are five operas, one operetta, one musical and La Traviata at Masada as the pièce de resistance.
The 4th International Opera Festival at Masada has been a dizzying success ever since the opening Nabucco in 2010. Tickets are usually sold out long before the June performances.
Daniel Oren will conduct of course and, in a first, Kent Nagano will conduct Beethoven’s 9th with the Israel Philharmonic.
The operetta is Kalman’s Csardas Princess, a production from the Budapest Operetta Theater. The musical is the Bernstein/Sondheim West Side Story sung in English with a New York cast. Another visitor is Moscow’s Kolobov Novaya Opera with Borodin’s Prince Igor – yes, that’s the one with the Polovtsian dances – making its debut in Israel. Just the costumes may blow your mind.
Our very own Ira Bertman sings Amelia in a new production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball. Hila Baggio sings Norina in a new production of Donizetti’s robust comic opera Don Pasquale.
Indeed, increasingly local singers are replacing imports in the lead roles, still not as much as we’d like, but it’s happening and Munitz is committed “to make it happen more.”
The other new productions are Puccini’s beloved La Boheme and Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman with Gustavo Porta – the Argentinian tenor – in the title role.
Tchaichovsky’s immortal Swan Lake is in first place for the dance season with productions of it from Matthew Bourne’s all male company, part of it from the comedic all male Ballet de Trocadero and finally a production on ice from the Imperial Ice Stars.
Other dance includes Shen Wei Dance Arts, the amazing Chinese- American choreographer who did the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, Alonzo King from San Francisco, the Lorraine Ballet presenting works by Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharpe, and Pilobolus with its new production Shadowlands.
Highlights of TAPAC’s three music series includes Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Solomon from the Liturgical series and Mozart’s Women from the Opera’s Saturday morning concerts.
Nor are the kids forgotten. This season’s opera for children includes The Elixir of Love, Hansel and Gretel and The Marriage of Figaro, and Nitza Shaul’s wonderful Magic Sounds series of five concerts takes a look at Vivaldi and William Shakespeare.