On the agenda at the Israel Festival

A sneak peek of what to expect when the Jerusalem festival kicks off on May 28.

‘The Rite of Spring' play (photo credit: DORO TUCH)
‘The Rite of Spring' play
(photo credit: DORO TUCH)
Four weeks of local and international cultural events will mark the Israel Festival-Jerusalem’s 54th year, which kicks off at the end of this month.
From May 28 to June 24, artists from Germany, France, Finland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the US and China will join their Israeli counterparts in venues across the capital, offering dance, music, theater, video-art and other cultural presentations. There will also be several conferences and master classes on art and culture.
Venues will include the Jerusalem Theater, Beit Shmuel, Beit Mazia Theater, the Khan Theater, the Gerard Behar Center, the Leo Modell Hall and the Yellow Submarine.
All program brochures will be in three languages – Hebrew, English and Arabic – and ticket prices will range from NIS 80 to NIS 195. Package deals will be available (including accommodation in Jerusalem for visitors) and will provide significant discounts, with an additional reduction of up to 50% on tickets for students.
The efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement have led to some intensive conversations between the festival organizers and some of the invited artists, but for the moment, there is no news of artists intending to cancel their participation.
Another problematic issue is whether the government – which usually provides most of the festival’s budget – and the municipality will be able to ensure sufficient financial support, since it is not yet clear how much of the cost the Culture and Sport Ministry and the municipality have agreed to cover.
In keeping with tradition, the opening event will take place at the Sultan’s Pool, featuring some of the country’s most popular singers: Shalom Hanoch will host Berry Sakharof, Danny Sanderson and Yehuda Poliker.
Among the acts from abroad are Italian director Romeo Casteluzzi with a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar; French director Julien Gosselin’s adaptation of writer Michel Houellebecq’s novel The Elementary Particles; the She She Pop group from Germany, performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; and Belgium’s Campo theater company with the play Mystery Magnet.
Other visiting acts include the Trisha Brown Dance Company from the US, the Xavier Le Roy company from France, and Canadian choreographer Benoit le Chambert.
On the local side, the Khan Theater Company will present Kinneret, Kinneret, Nathan Alterman’s first play, about the early pioneers of Kibbutz Deganya Alef.
Musically the festival will offer several programs, from Mizrahi singer Zohar Argov’s songs, through Germany’s Modern Ensemble, to Tchaikovsky works by local and international performers.
More information is available at the festival site, Israel- Festival.org/en.