Israel Festival 2013: May 23rd – June 22nd

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The Israel Festival will take place in Jerusalem from May 23 – June 22, 2013. Inspired by the city, its thousand years of history, breathtaking landscape and unique architecture, the locations chosen for festival events form a narrative of Jerusalem, past and present. The Tower of David, the Jerusalem Lepers Colony, the old train station, the Sultan’s Pool and Ein Kerem, as well as the Jerusalem Theatre, the Gerard Behar Center, Mamilla, the YMCA and Beit Shmuel – the festival venues reflect the vibrant diversity of Jerusalem’s cultural life, and many of the performances were developed in relationship to the special places where they will take place.

Music will provide the festival’s opening and closing notes. Pianist and songwriter Shlomi Shaban will perform at Jerusalem’s historic train station on May 23, 2013, launching his new album and hosting special guests Asaf Avidan, Berry Sakharof and Ninet Tayeb. Closing the festival in June at the Sultan’s Pool will be the reunion concert of one of Israel’s most popular bands of all time – Kaveret.

Dressed to Dance/Photo: Jess Valinas
Dressed to Dance/Photo: Jess Valinas

The Tower of David will host Dressed to Dance from Madrid, a display of flamenco costumes – several designed by Dali and Picasso – to the accompaniment of live music. The performance, created and directed by Margaret Joba and choreographer Carlos Camoro, has been adapted to suit the unique aspects of this historic venue.

Israeli choreographers Sharon Eyal and Guy Behar with their dance company L.E.V. will present Housen, a site-specific version of House, adapted to the Hansen House site, home of the former Jerusalem Lepers Colony in the Talbiya neighborhood, a structure, built in 1887 and renowned for its air of mystery. The choreographers describe their work as “ex-territorial, post-disciplinary and trans-temporaneous” and their temporary take-over of the former Lepers Colony as a conquest of “normal” social perspectives on leprosy, lepers and the “other.”

Anat Grigorio/Photo: Gadi Dagon
Anat Grigorio/Photo: Gadi Dagon

More dance performances to look forward to: Grand Theatre De Geneve will be performing in Israel for the first time, Emmanuel Gat Dance Company in conjunction with Tel Aviv Dance will perform the Goldlandbergs, the world premiere of a new work by Rami Be’er performed by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, and independent choreographer Anat Grigorio will perform her dance solo Mr. Nice Guy.

The Bee
The Bee

Exciting, innovative international theatre works presented at the festival will include Hideki Noda’s The Bee, co-written by Hideki Noda and Colin Teevan. Inspired by the events of 9/11, the play premiered at the Soho Theatre in 2006, with its harrowing, thought-provoking tale of a Japanese man, an ordinary worker who becomes an enraged savage after his wife and son are taken hostage. The play will be performed in English, and stars Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Mangi and Glyn Pritchard.

Hailing from England, the 1927 theatre company incorporates live music, performance, storytelling and animation to create a dramatically different theatre experience. The company will perform The Animals and the Children Took to the Streets.

Blind Summit Theatre, founded by Nick Barnes and Mark Down, create Bunraku inspired puppets with a contemporary edge, resulting in innovative theatre with a biting wit and humor. They will be performing The Table, where cardboard constructed protagonist Moses shares his perspective on life in his inimitable manner.

Music abounds in the festival, from Don Byron’s New Gospel Quintet to Holy City, a musical project performed against the backdrop of the walls of the Old City, by the State Choir-Latvia and Hortus Musicus, conducted by Andres Mastonen. The Old Train Station in Jerusalem will host Israeli musicians: Daniel Zamir hosting Nino Bitton, a new ensemble with Shlomo Bar, Riff Cohen and a concert for all ages featuring the songs of Yonatan Geffen. The festival will mark the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with a festive concert of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frederick Shazlan.

The complete program with dates, times, venues, and ticket information is on the Israel Festival website.

The Israel Festival is an NPO, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, Jerusalem Municipality, The Jerusalem Fund and the Arts and Culture Council of Mifal HaPayis. Festival Director: Yossi Tal Gan, Artistic Director: Moshe Kepten, Producer: Miri Manirov, Musical Advisor: Gil Shohat, Festival CEO: Dani Halprin.