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The Israeli Opera, Tel-Aviv

This review must begin with applause to people whose names do not appear in the list of credits below: the management of the Israeli Opera House. For their daring approach in selecting this enigmatic opera, the way it was casted and the unique production. A vivid evidence of their courage was so many vacant sits after the intermission, but it speaks volumes only about those who left, not on the quality of the production.

True, Britten’s score is not something you whistle joyfully on your way out and the plot is complicated, to say the least, unless you did your Shakespeare homework beforehand. But it is a masterpiece, highlighted with the brilliant direction of Ido Ricklin, who transformed the woods of Athens into a film studio. The costumes, lighting and choreography were amazing as well.

The fact that there are no really leading roles in this opera gives the opportunity to quite a few singers to excel, and most of them did. I particularly enjoyed the 3 Israeli sopranos Hila Baggio (Tytania), Yael Levita (Helena) and Anat Czarny (Hermia). Also excellent was tenor Jason Bridges (Lysander). The Puck of the production was the Israeli actor Yossi Zabari, whose dramatic skills are higher than his musical ones. A single source of disappointment was the counter tenor Yaniv D’or, in particular when such a voice is so rare on the modern opera stage. He seemed to be totally lost and hardly audible in the big stage.

The highlight of the evening was the play within a play, the amateur theatre show in Act III Scene ii, with fantastic both musical and comic performances by tenor Eitan Drori (Fracis Flute) and bass Joshua Bloom (Nick Bottom). The members of the audience who remained in house throughout the opera were fully rewarded.

  • Opera
  • By Benjamin Britten, Libretto by Britten and Peter Pears
  • Director: Ido Ricklin
  • Conductor: Daniel Cohen
  • Cast includes: Hila Baggio, Jason Bridges, Yael Levita, Anat Czarny, Joshua Bloom, Yaniv D’or, Yossi Zabari, Eitan Drori Mora Children Choir, Sarit Schtekler, Conductor
  • The Israeli Opera, Tel-Aviv
  • Until 17 January 2018

About The Author

Reviewer (Israel)

Shmuel is the President of City TLV, a Director at Ben-Tovim Consultants Ltd. and a Board member of the International Harp Contest. His career has covered both the private and public sectors. From 2005 to 2010 he was seconded to the Embassy of Israel in London as Minister for Economic Affairs. Previously he had a tour of duty in New York where he became a regular at the Met. From 1998 to 2005 Shmuel served as Mayor of Kfar Shmaryahu, where he pioneered unique concert and theatre series. He holds a BA in Economics and an MBA from the Hebrew University.

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