Israel Chamber Orchestra
January 28-30Total silence reigned in the concert hall of the Isrotel Royal Beach hotel as violinist Latica Honda-Rosenberg performed Mendelssohn’s concerto in her debut with the Israel Chamber Orchestra under its newly appointed artistic director, Roberto Paternostro. Hers was a passionate, captivating, warm and fresh rendition of the overplayed piece – one could somehow feel not only technical perfection, but above all a rich musician’s personality. And under Paternostro’s baton, the orchestra produced a sweeping and solid sound, playing better than it has in a long time. Other programs included Around the Danube, a popular classics concert with conductor Gabor Hollerung almost waltzing on his podium, amazing Israeli soprano Daniella Lugassy offering a selection of Mozart arias, Tel Aviv Centennial, with young Israeli maestra Karin Ben-Yoseph leading with assurance the Chamber Orchestra and the Vocal Octet through a nostalgic concert, and several minor concerts performed by the orchestra ensembles at various Isrotel venues. An invigorating and very authentic evening of selections from Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, performed by the orchestra under conductor Martin Yates with British soloists, concluded the first weekend of the festival. Most of the concerts were presented by Roni Porat – conductor, musician and actor – always with good taste, friendly without being over-familiar, and with the added value of educating the audience.