*Verdi’s La traviata to be Performed in Masada this Spring* –
By Anav Silverman –
Tazpit News Agency –

Pre-state Israel experienced its first opera premiere when the Russian-born
conductor and visionary, Mordechai Golinkin directed Verdi’s La traviata in
September 1923. With no opera house existing in Tel Aviv at the time, La
traviata had to be performed in movie theaters. In his quest to pioneer
opera life and culture, La traviata was one of the first of several operas
that Golinkin directed in the early years leading to Jewish statehood.

But now, over 90 years later, La traviata is making its appearance once
again in the Holy Land — this time under very different circumstances. The
Israeli Opera today is internationally recognized and Tel Aviv boasts a
state-of-the-art Opera House at the city’s Performing Arts Center.

However, the new production of La traviata will take place at Masada from
June 12-17, as the main performance of the fourth Israeli Opera Festival.
In the past, the Israeli festival featured Giuseppe Verdi’s operas, Nabucco
(2010) and Aida (2011), also held at the lowest point of earth.

“We want to give these stones life,” said Chana Munitz, Israel’s Opera
general director, in reference to Masada, a rugged natural fortress where
survivors of the Jewish revolt against Roman rule chose death rather than
slavery. “Producing opera in an opera house is one thing, but producing an
opera event in the desert is quite another.”

The La traviata production is directed by one of the world’s most renowned
opera directors, Michal Znaniecki, who specializes in open air productions.
The show will also feature internationally-acclaimed Israeli conductor
maestro Daniel Oren.

Znaniecki, originally from Warsaw, told Tazpit News Agency that producing
La traviata in Masada “was a natural choice.”

“Masada’s history is a perfect backdrop for La travieta. The life and death
theme in the story resonates with what took place in Masada in addition to
the landmarks’ importance for the people of Israel,” he stated.

The Polish director began his career in 1994, and has directed 180 new
productions of opera, theater plays, and musicals across the world in
Poland, France, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Norway and Argentina among
other countries.

Znaniecki has been working on the La travieta production for the past three
years and related to Tazpit that he is “excited to see the project finally
happen in the Judean desert.”

It will be the largest and most complex opera production ever seen in
Israel, employing some 2,500 people, in addition to 700 participants and
operating teams. The festival will also feature the Israel Philharmonic led
by Kent Nagano and the Idan Raichel Project as well as singers from the
Israel Opera’s Meitar Opera Studio.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism expects 50,000 people from Israel and
‘cultural tourists’ from abroad to partake in the 2014 festival. This year,
the Israeli Opera Festival will also reach Akko (June 19-21), and will
feature a weekend of Mozart at the subterranean Crusader Halls in Akko’s
Old City.

*For tickets and more information about the Fourth Israeli Opera Festival,
call or visit the website: (03) 692-7777 and www.israel-opera.co.il


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