Liturgical Festival 2023

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The 5th Liturgical Festival will take place in Nazareth from December 14 – 16, 2023, produced by the Polyphony Foundation. Polyphony aims to create connections and dissolve the barriers between the different religions and cultures in Israel through music. Especially in these painfully difficult times, this message is so vital and essential.

Nabeel Abboud Ashkar/Photo: Wasim Karam

Nabeel Abboud Ashkar, Executive Director of the Polyphony Foundation and the Liturgical Festival Director, stated:

“The horrific sights of October 7th and the tragic events that followed left us speechless. Living in this part of the world, you learn to grapple with dangerous and extreme situations. But it was impossible to prepare for those horrors and the darkness that followed.

Polyphony has always been, and will remain, a beacon of light in dark and difficult times. At the heart of its mission is the unwavering belief that the destinies of Arab and Jewish communities in Israel are inextricably connected; that together we can succeed in building a vibrant shared society based on mutual respect, equality, and partnership. The alternative is not an option.”

In happier times the festival hosts international musicians alongside Arab and Jewish Israeli musicians. In view of the current situation the festival will take place in a scaled-down version, yet audiences will enjoy three days of music, with leading Jewish and Arab musicians, in concerts at the Salesian Church (Basilica of Jesus the Adolescent) in Nazareth.

Nour Darwish/Photo: Michael Favia

Opening the Liturgical Festival will be Grace Us With Peace (Dona Nobis Pacem), a concert featuring soprano Nour Darwish, accompanied by the Polyphony Quartet. The program will include a selection of liturgical pieces from the classical canon (Mozart, Handel, Bach, Rossini, Faure and more), as well as Arabic classics and Christmas carols in special arrangements. The concert will take place on Thursday, December 14th at the Salesian Church at 20:00.

Saleem Abboud Ashkar/Photo: Yoel Levy

Nazareth-born international pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar will host Soprano Hila Baggio and Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Frenkel, pianist Dr. Fadi Deeb and clarinetist Samir Graieb in an intimate chamber concert featuring Schumann’s lieder Frauen Liebe un Leben and Der Hirt auf dem Felson by Schubert. The concert will take place on Friday, December 15th at the Salesian Church at 20:00.

Hila Baggio/Photo: Liran Levy

Closing the festival on Saturday will be an afternoon concert featuring Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. The Galilee Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Saleem Abboud Ashkar will host Soprano Hila Baggio and Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Frenkel. The concert will take place at 16:00.

Rachel Frenkel/Photo: Samantha Kretzmer

In view of the current situation ticket prices have been significantly lowered, and will be set at 100 NIS for each of the concerts. There will be special discounts for evacuees from the Southern and Northern communities. Note that Nazareth has been defined as a green region by the Home Front. The Salesian Church is a fenced off area with security and has a security room. Tickets may be ordered online from the GoShow website, or call: *6119.