Music in the morning, in the evening, and at supper time

The Felicja Blumental Festival offers music films, lectures and concerts at convenient times.

Armonico 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Armonico 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When the quality is good, even a layman can tell. And The Felicja Blumental International Music Festival promises only the best. The festival is not just for music aficionados, as top artistic caliber, freshness and communicativeness are obviously its guidelines. The artists - both international and Israeli - tend to ignite their audiences from the very first chords. The festival, which opened yesterday and runs until May 24 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the years, due to daring and creative programming of its artistic directors - singer Annette Celine (daughter of the late Blumental) and her Israeli counterpart Avigail Arnheim - the festival has turned into a music event not to be missed. Conveniently, the event does not limit itself to full-length evening concerts, but also features "lunchtime movies" (including Bruno Monsaingeon's documentaries on David Oistrakh and Sviatoslav Richter) and "music fairs" at galleries - one-hour concerts, encounters and lectures in the evening with the likes of Spanish dancer Sonia Garcia, Polish pianist Anna Starzek and quite a few young and talented Israeli performers, including violinist Evgenia Epstein and pianist/composer Uri Brenner, singers Alexandra Chebat, Hila Bajo, Guy Mannheim and opera pianist Eitan Schmeisser. AND YES - on Saturday morning Brazilian group Rabo de Lagartixa will present family-friendly shows of the rich rhythms from their land. Among the major programs are a piano extravaganza with six soloists and an orchestra; the above-mentioned Rabo de Lagartixa: part jazz, part Afro-Brazilian, part European; the Armonico Consort vocal ensemble, which returns after its successful Israeli debut a year ago; and Carnival in Venice - an evening of arias, duets and more from the Italian Baroque operas. The carnival program is directed by Germany-based Israeli harpsichordist Zvi Meniker, who returns home to perform this pasticcio of pieces by Monteverdi, Vivaldi and Strozzi. Meniker, who learned piano in Israel, moved to Austria to study harpsichord and organ and then continued to Cornell University. Nowadays, Meniker lives and teaches in Hannover and performs extensively throughout Europe, and sometimes in the US. Meniker says that the program is "kind of a revival of a Baroque tradition of putting fragments of several operas together. Trombones announce the beginning and the end of the concert and an early type of emcee tells the noble audience the love story behind the arias - in those days, there were no printed programs." Israeli soprano Claire Meghnagi, German baritone Roman Tsotsalas, Israeli Contemporary String Quartet and actor Eran Sharel will perform, too. For more details:; Reservations: (03) 604-5000