June 2011 – Verdi in Israel Aida at Masada, Jerusalem in Jerusalem And Much More Seven Months and Counting
In June 2010 over 30,000 opera lovers from Israel and abroad, came to the Dead Sea area and watched the first ever opera production in the place. Under a canopy of shinning stars, the majestic power of the Mountain of Masada served as a background to a huge "Opera House" which was erected in the middle of the desert. The production of Verdi's Nabucco enjoyed immense critical and audience acclaim from opera lovers from Israel and abroad. Actually it was the first time ever that Israel enjoyed cultural tourism with over 3,000 international tourists who attended. This year international ticket sales have already surpassed this number.
Following the huge success of the first Masada Opera Festival in which the Israeli Opera presented Verdi's Nabucco by the Mountain of Masada last June, Hanna Munitz, General Director of the Israeli Opera, announced the program for the expanded Masada Opera festival which will now also take place in Jerusalem. Internationally renowned Israeli opera conductor Daniel Oren will return to the majestic landscape at the Judean desert, near the Dead Sea, to lead a new production of Verdi's Aida (a co production with the Orange Festival in France) that features internationally acclaimed opera singers including Micaela Carosi, Marco Berti, Ildiko Komlosi, Paata Burchuladze and others. This international opera festival will also feature concerts by the orchestra of the Arena di Verona, concerts in Jerusalem churches, and the Israeli premiere of Verdi's Jerusalem, performed at the open air Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem, overlooking the majestic walls of the old city of Jerusalem. The Dead Sea, Masada and Jerusalem Opera Festival will take place on June 1-11, 2011.
THE MASADA-JERUSALEM EXPERIENCE This June, there will be a larger variety of performances for local and international audiences. The major event will be five performances of a new production of Verdi's Aida in Masada, conducted by internationally renowned Israeli maestro Daniel Oren. The orchestra of the Arena di Verona, conducted by Giuliano Carella will perform Verdi's Requiem in Masada and a gala opera evening with its own soloists in Jerusalem. David Stern will lead the first ever concert performance in Israel of Verdi's rarely performed Jerusalem, at the out door Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem. There will be also a special gala concert with renowned opera star Angela Gheorghiu. In addition special concerts will take place in Jerusalem churches.
VERDI'S JERUSALEM One of the highlights of the festival will be a concert performance of Verdi's rarely performed opera Jerusalem, performed at the Sultan's Pool, overlooking the walls of the old city of Jerusalem (June 6). Jerusalem is Verdi's French version of his earlier success I Lombardi. But Jerusalem is not a mere translation to French of the Italian opera. Verdi reworked both the story and the music and has come up with an exciting opera that follows an internal love conspiracy story that takes place during the crusades to the holy land. The story which starts is France takes place then in the city of Ramle and finally reaches Jerusalem where the crusaders wait before their battle to capture the city. Nothing can be more symbolic than to perform this opera in Jerusalem itself. David Stern, the music director of the Israeli Opera, will lead the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, IBA, the Israeli Opera Chorus and international soloists including Carlo Colombara, Scott Piper and Roberto Serville in this performance.