Opera in the Community
Cinderella in Netivot and in Tirat Hacarmel
Imagine close to 150 artists from Netivot, a most colorful and intriguing city in the south of Israel, filling the stage in their own community center, performing with Israeli Opera soloists a very special tailor made performance of Rossini's delightful Cinderella in Hebrew.
And two months earlier scores of artists from the northern city of Tirat Hacarmel were performing their very own version of the same opera in one of the gym halls turned into a theatre stage in the city.
Israeli Opera community productions began over a decade ago and after performances of Carmen, The Barber of Seville and The Elixir of Love, the Israeli Opera premièred this fall a new community production of Cinderella.
Community productions feature artists from the community itself on stage: dancers, choristers, actors, instrumentalists and others. They are assigned specific numbers from the opera which they will sing, act, play or dance to. All are performing original Rossini music as the opera is performed on stage with several Israeli Opera soloists.
An Israeli Opera artistic team (this time director Shirit Lee Weiss and conductor Ethan Schmeisser) works in the community for about half a year where they enable the various local groups to learn their respective parts and become part of the production itself.
And nothing can be more exciting than to watch the members of the community attend a performance in which their relatives and friends are on stage.
Opera is not the obvious genre to be performed in such periphery communities. But once the community itself is the big star of the production, the community learns to appreciate an art form they were never familiar with.
The Israeli Opera community productions are supported by the Ministry of Culture and have been performed in close to 20 communities in the last 10 years. Two more productions will take place during 2011.