Distinctive and diverse

The Felicja Blumental Music Festival begins on May 15.

La Ritirata ensemble from Spain (photo credit: PR)
La Ritirata ensemble from Spain
(photo credit: PR)
The 19th annual Felicja Blumental Music Festival will take place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art from May 15 to 20.
Created by multifaceted artist Annette Celine to commemorate her mother, outstanding 20th-century pianist Felicja Blumental, it offers a diverse array of high-quality programs.
A brief glance at the program reveals a wide variety of styles and periods – music performed by leading musicians from Israel and abroad, from early music and folk music to contemporary.
Just a few highlights: Ecco la primavera – Medieval, Renaissance and folk music; Don Quixote Goes to Vienna – a Cervantes opera performed by La Ritirata ensemble from Spain; Celtic voices with the Israeli Vocal Ensemble and Evergreen Band; Guitarist Stephane Wremble (France /US) with Swing de Gitanes; From Steven Foster to Bob Dylan with the Gilad Ephrat Ensemble and soloists; contemporary music with the Meitar Ensemble; MultiPiano and MultiPercussion. And if that is not enough, lectures and documentary films.
On May 19th at 1 p.m., there will be an a cappella concert by the Moran Soloists Vocal Octet under renowned Stephen Connolly of The King’s Singers Consort. The program features pieces by Britten, Debussy, madrigals, songs by British composers, pop and folk songs and more.
Young mezzo-soprano Zlata Hershberg Rupasova is one of the octet members. She performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. A participant in several local and international vocal contests, she was the winner of the IVAI summer workshop 2016 competition.
Immigrating to Israel five years ago from Nizhny Novgorod in the heart of Russia, where she studied piano, musicology, choir conducting and vocals, Rupasova continued her studies with Sharon Rostorff Zamir at the Tel Aviv Music Academy. The world of the stage was familiar to her from day one: Her father was a theater director who shared his ideas with his daughter, who was more than eager to learn.
Like every singer, Rupasova dreams of a having major solo career.
Meanwhile, she takes part in various projects, such as the Vocal Octet.
“I enjoy working with the octet immensely,” she says.
“Professionalism, varied music material – who could ask for more?” Among the various schools of national opera, Russian is closest to her heart.
“I love operas by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky. I have vocal cycles of the latter in my concert repertoire. Mussorgsky brought a new sound into Russian dramatic music. I also sing The Czar’s Bride by Rimsky-Korsakov. Russian opera is not just beautiful music with words but full-fledged drama that lives according to Stanislavsky’s concept of theater. I enjoy working on Russian opera characters. They are usually much deeper than one can suggest. Granted, knowing the language and understanding the so-called enigmatic Russian soul helps me a lot,” she smiles. “But I think that after a year of intensive work with a good opera coach, I could acquire a deeper understanding of Italian opera as well.”
She confides that Mahler’s music is another love.
“His music suits my voice so well. And this music is so rich, so full of nuances. You can spend hours analyzing the score, delving into its depth. Everything is written there. The orchestra and the voice are equal partners. The soloist does not prevail, but rather together they create an ensemble. Singing Mahler is bliss!” she says.
Rupasova adamantly believes that opera must be acted.
“When I work on an aria or an opera, I see it first and foremost as a play,” she says. “I begin with working on the libretto, and only then continue on to the music material. Take for example Incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi. I sang the aria ‘Disprezzata regina.’ It is clearly a monologue, just like in a play, but set to music. I did not even touch the score before psychologically understanding the changes of mood, the changes of shades of her lamentations. And when you finally get to the music, you realize that everything is reflected in the score. And since the ideas of drama were taught to me by my father since childhood, acting is my second skin. That is why when choosing a new piece to perform, I consider not only its compatibility with my vocal instrument, but I also ask myself whether I am interested in living this role and where it can take me emotionally.”
For the full festival program and reservations: en.blumentalfestival.com