Majestic scenes

This year’s Opera Festival at Masada has been expanded to include Jerusalem, providing more stage opportunities for local musicians.

Opera Festival Masada_521 (photo credit: Yossi Zwecker)
Opera Festival Masada_521
(photo credit: Yossi Zwecker)
‘We wanted to create a festival that will be both national and international,” says Israeli Opera CEO Hannah Munitz as she stands at the foot of Masada, where the final preparations for the grand show are being made. She recalls that the idea of the festival came to her on the eve of Israel’s 60s celebrations, but it did not work that time.
“Yet I kept it in mind and eventually traveled to the Dead Sea to meet the head of the Tamar Regional Council. The words ’opera’ or ’Nabucco’ didn’t mean much to him, but he immediately realized the huge economic, social and touristic potential of such an enterprise, not only for the region but for the entire country,” she recounts, “History, archeology, myths and legends, and magnificent scenery all meet together here,” she continues and says that this is the principle on which similar festivals in Europe, such as those in Verona and Orange, are based. “And it is also well known that of all the classical music genres, it is opera that attracts the crowds.”
This year’s program at Masada features Verdi’s Aida (a co-production with the Orange Festival in France) with internationally acclaimed opera singers including Micaela Carosi, Marco Berti, Ildiko Komlosi, Paata Burchuladze, under the baton of maestro Daniel Oren (June 4, 5, 9 and 11). The production features 120 choristers, 40 dancers and 70 extras, as well as the Israeli Opera’s orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion.
The orchestra of the Arena di Verona, conducted by Giuliano Carella, will perform Verdi’s Requiem in Masada (June 3). Another moving musical event at Masada is a gala concert with renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, performing with the Israeli Opera orchestra and chorus in a program featuring arias and his own light popular music selections (June 12).
”Our festival is a kind of operatic statement,” stresses Munitz, who is one of the most ardent promoters of opera in Israel. “As always, we in our Opera House appeal to a wider audience, and by bringing Bocelli to Masada we want to share this glorious genre with those who do not immediately associate themselves with opera.”
The Jerusalem part of the festival is no less interesting, and the larger-than life-aspect is not lacking here, either: David Stern will lead the first ever concert performance in Israel of Verdi’s rarely performed Jerusalem at the outdoor Sultan’s Pool (June 5).
The selection of special concerts, which will take place in Jerusalem churches this Friday, is captivating as well. The programs feature 10 concerts in various churches in Jerusalem and the Old City. Programs include choral, vocal and chamber music works performed by Israeli musicians throughout the day.
For more information: For ticket reservations: *6226