Sopranos are in season

For its 28th year, the Israeli Opera will celebrate with favorites like ‘La Boheme.'

The Passenger opera 370 (photo credit: Karl Forster)
The Passenger opera 370
(photo credit: Karl Forster)
With nine operas, nine dance companies, seven music series, one festival, one program for the youngsters and one operatic super-extravaganza at Masada, there’ll be enough going on, courtesy of the Israel Opera (IO) in Tel Aviv, to keep you entertained for the entire 2012-2013 season.
Verdi celebrates the bicentenary and Benjamin Britten the centenary of his birth and the IO will mark both with Verdi’s Otello, the IO debut of his Luisa Miller to be conducted by Daniel Oren, and Britten’s eerie Turn of the Screw.
The 20th century is further represented by Alban Berg’s Wozzek and The Passenger by Polish-Russian Jewish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg (see box).
The Weinberg will be directed by David Pountney who premiered the opera at the 2010 Bregenz Festival, and it’s his production that is coming here.
The other operas: Boris Gudunov, the opera that inaugurated the then Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center with Georgian bass Paata Burchuladze reprising the title role; the Bolshoi Opera is coming in June 13 with its spectacular Yevgeny Onegin; at Masada Oren will conduct Puccini’s massive Turandot.
Just to tease the imagination, part of the set will be 200 replica terracotta warriors, like the ones unearthed at Shaanxi.
La Boheme at the Sultan’s Pool will be part of the Jerusalem Opera Festival in September 2012.
Dance this year is mouthwatering, ranging from the ever popular Alvin Ailey and Rodin, a new story-ballet from Boris Eifman, to the contemporary cutting edge such as the Bad Boys of Dance, the Beijing Dance Theater, Deborah Colker and the amazing Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui whose Tezuka pays homage Japanese comic book master Osamu Tezuka. There’s also the Israel Ballet, the Dance Theater of Harlem and Argentinian choreographer Inaki Urlezaga’s ballet La Traviata set to Verdi’s music.
As for the music itself there’s the liturgical, symphonic, choral, jazz, rock, world, Saturday morning opera highlights and, of course, Nitza Shaul’s delightful Magical Sounds series for children.
To do all this, including the international opera festival at Masada, the IO has an annual budget of NS 128 million with another NS 12-15 m. for the rest of the programs “and we do not have a deficit,” proudly says IO head Hanna Munitz. Not only that, there are now 17,000 subscribers and 72 percent of what the opera spends is earned income.
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