For the love of a dove

The Jerusalem Opera opens its season with an Israeli premiere of ‘La Colombe’ by Charles Gounod.

‘La Colombe’ (photo credit: ILAN SPIRA)
‘La Colombe’
(photo credit: ILAN SPIRA)
The Jerusalem Opera’s new production of La Colombe (The Dove) is directed by Noemi Schlosser with Omer Arieli conducting, and solo singers Liesbeth Devos, soprano; Yuri Kissin, bass-baritone; Avigail Gurtler-Har-Tuv, soprano; and Ofri Gross, tenor.
La Colombe is a light-hearted French opera about a dove and the convolutions of love. Jules Barbier and Michel Carre wrote the libretto based on a piece by Jean de la Fontaine. The opera will be performed in French with subtitles in Hebrew and English.
The opera was first performed in 1860. This short, comic opera is entertaining, elegant and full of intrigue, with a surprise ending.
This is Noemi Schlosser’s debut as a stage director in Israel. Schlosser’s staging takes the action from Florence to Monte Carlo in the 1820s.
The Countess Sylvie and her butler Maitre Jean secretly conspire to acquire Horace’s dove. Horace has lost his entire fortune gambling at the casino in a failed attempt to impress the Countess Sylvie, his heart’s desire. His love is unrequited. In her efforts to get her hands on the dove, Sylvie arrives unexpectedly at Horace’s shed and invites herself to dinner. The impoverished Horace, unable to put together a suitable meal for his sweetheart, despairingly decides to sacrifice his beloved pet dove and serve it as the main course. But the plot takes a surprising turn.
Schlosser immigrated to Israel two years ago. This opera allows her the opportunity to color the story using her imagination and add some unexpected side plots and comic twists. She focuses on the secondary characters in the plot, like Mazet, who is secretly in love with her godfather Horace, and on Maitre Jean, who conjures up the scheme together with the Countess Sylvie. “By giving the two original commedia dell’arte servant characters – Mazet and Maitre Jean – more chutzpah, we elevate them and create a storyline between them. Thus, not only enabling them to pursue their goal of serving their respective masters, but also having a personal storyline to play out.”
The Jerusalem Opera was established in 2001 with the main goals of presenting opera productions of the highest quality in Jerusalem and promoting young artists from Jerusalem to enhance their talents, improve their skills and create an artistic core in Jerusalem for opera.
In December, the Jerusalem Opera will perform Rigoletto, one of Verdi’s most famous operas. It is the heart-rending story of a curse, vengeance and love, a devoted father and a young and innocent daughter who sacrifices herself in the name of love. It will be directed by Gabriele Ribis, with the Gary Bertini Israeli Choir in collaboration for the first time with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Omer Arieli.
In February 2020, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, a playful melodrama, poetic and rich with the fragrances of the countryside will be performed. It will be directed by Enzo Iorio of Italy. Omer Arieli will conduct the Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba, also in a first-time collaboration.
La Colombe will be performed at 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 19 and Saturday, September 21 at the Hirsch Theatre, Beit Shmuel, Jerusalem. Subtitles in Hebrew and English. For tickets call 02-620-3463 or *9609.