So much to celebrate

This year’s Israel Festival sees the return of low-cost tickets or free entry to some of the most prestigious programs.

Israel Fest 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
Israel Fest 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
Two things make this year’s Israel Festival different than the previous years’ – the celebration of its 50th anniversary and the centenary of legendary late mayor Teddy Kollek, who was the driving force behind moving the festival from Caesarea to Jerusalem in 1961. Along with these two celebrations, we also see the return of low-cost tickets or free entry to some of the most prestigious programs – something we have not been treated to for several years. The festival administration, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the municipality’s Arts and Culture Department have joined forces to provide an impressive roster of outdoor events free of charge or at low prices (NIS 40), thus enabling this year’s festival to be a cultural event for all.
The opening of the festival, on May 23, will feature the Strange Fruit theater from Melbourne, which will perform at Kikar Zion. A rare and highly acclaimed combination of theater, dance and circus, the group will present scenes from daily life, suspended five meters above the public’s heads – a breathtaking performance. Two 20-minute performances will take place.
Residents and visitors will hardly have time to recover from this performance as they make their way to Kikar Safra, less than 300 meters away, for another outdoor performance. At 8:30 p.m. the Israel Ballet, led by Berta Yampolski and Hillel Markman, will perform Giselle. Two soloists from the Bolshoi Ballet will be coming here to perform in this romantic piece – prima ballerina Anna Antonicheva and first soloist Alexander Voltchkov (NIS 40).
During the three-week festival, the foyer of the Jerusalem Theater will feature a photo exhibition entitled ”Stage Photographers,” displaying the different festivals over the years, selected by curator Guy Raz. The exhibition will enable visitors to view the history of Israel’s stage performances as seen through the lens of various photographers.
“Classical Gardens,” a two-day living museum-innature event, will take place at the Botanical Garden at Givat Ram on June 9 and 10, It is a classical encounter for the whole family, with theater, dance and music, as well as butterflies, swans, trees and anything else you’d expect to meet in a botanical garden. There will be eight different areas of activity throughout the garden, which includes workshops for children, storytellers, singing and playing music. Each event will last four hours, starting at 11 a.m. (NIS 40).
A special event marking 50 years of the festival and the centenary of Kollek’s birth will take place in the framework of this year’s Jerusalem Day in Sacher Park. On a huge stage, musicians and dancers will salute them both in a program led by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rafi Kadishson. They will perform the premiere of composer/conductor Gil Shohat’s Jerusalem. Singers David De’or, Rita and Martina Bakova, special guest violinist from Prague, will perform a number of well-known songs about Jerusalem. Also taking part are Hora Jerusalem and the Vertigo dance companies. The event takes place on June 2 at 8:30 p.m. (NIS 40).
On May 31, starting at 5:30 p.m., there will be a free musical program that lasts a day and a half. Hosting the Rubin Music and Dance Academy’s students and graduates, the Jerusalem Theater’s Rebecca Crown Hall, Henry Crown Hall and the foyer will feature various ensembles and soloists, including classical and jazz musicians.
All this will be preceded on May 28 by a chamber music concert performed by scholarship students of the Rubin Academy at the Targ Music Center in Ein Kerem.
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