Israeli Opera: 2024 – 2025 Season

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Peter Grimes/Photo: Krzysztof Bieliński

The Israeli Opera unveiled its program for the 2024 – 2025 season, with 8 productions featuring leading international and Israeli artists. One of the most exciting aspects of this and future seasons, are original Israeli operas, such as Theodor and Mothers – both of which will be back by popular demand this coming season, with three new operas (details eagerly anticipated) in the works.

Theodor/Photo: Yossi Zwecker

Theodor is a contemporary masterpiece, inspired by the life and work of Theodor Herzl, visionary of the State of Israel. Composed by Yonatan Cnaan and librettist and director Ido Ricklin, and conducted by Nimrod David Pfeffer, the opera merges music, drama, and brilliant artistry to create a fascinating character study. A production of the Israeli opera, Theodor premiered in May 2023, and was received with thunderous enthusiasm – the kind of wild clapping, foot-stomping, and raucous shouting usually reserved for rock concerts. Audiences have responded to the opera’s invocation of the guiding vision of Zionism with spontaneous applause, often catching the singers by surprise. The welcome return of Theodor in March 2025 to the stage of the Israeli Opera, conducted by Nimrod David Pfeffer, will offer those who have not yet seen the opera the opportunity to see it live and Theodor’s dedicated fans will have a chance to experience the exhilaration once more.

Mothers is a quintessentially Israeli work, composed by David Sebba, that gives voice to the women of the Book of Genesis, the mothers. The women receive scant mention in the Bible, some, like Lot’s wife, are not even named. Directed by Shirit Lee Weiss, the libretto merges Biblical verses with text written by David Sebba, to tell the Biblical stories through the eyes of these women, in a special co-production with Gesher Theatre. Soloists in the opera are: Yael Levita in the role of God, Anat Czarny as Hagar and Leah, Shay Bloch as Sarah, Daniela Skorka as Rivka. Performing in Mothers are Gesher Theatre actors Roni Einav, Lena Fraifeld, Natasha Manor, and Lilian Ruth. Mothers will be the closing opera of the 2024 – 2025 season, with performances in July.

Opening the opera season in November with love and laughter, will be Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, conducted by Alessandro de Marchi. The production is based on Omri Nitzan’s staging for the beloved opera, setting the story on an Israeli kibbutz in the 1940s. Director Shirit Lee Weiss has created her own vision that references Nitzan’s, with radiant sunflowers and the return of the pink car. Featured soloists will be Yael Levita and Shira Patchornik in the role of Adina, with Joel Prieto and Granit Musliu as the love-lorn Nemorino.

Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes returns to the stage of the Israeli Opera for the first time in 22 years, in a co-production with the Polish National Opera. The tale of the outcast fisherman will be conducted by Alexander Joel, and directed by Mariusz Trelinski, whose striking Madama Butterfly was performed here in December 2022.  Gruff and unliked by the community, Grimes is accused of murder following the death of his apprentice, and is hated and judged based on his character, and the villagers’ antipathy. Peter Wedd and Julian Hubbard will alternate in the role of Peter Grimes, with Israeli soloists Alla Vasilevitsky and Shaked Strul in the role of the schoolmistress and Grime’s intended, Ellen Orford. The opera will be performed in December 2024, and will be sung in English.

Exciting news for Shakespeare fans – 2025 will open with Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, directed by Adrian Noble, world-renown Shakespearean director. A co-production with the Vienna Staatsoper, Otello will be conducted by Dan Ettinger, Musical Director of the Israeli Opera. Featuring an extensive cast that includes a children’s chorus and dancers, the soloists in Otello will be: Carlo Ventre and Roy Cornelius Smith in the role of Otello, Gevorg Hakobyan and Dalibor Jenis as Iago, Julia Maria Dan and Alla Vasilevitsky as Desdemona, and Alexei Dolgov as Cassio.

The woes of young artists starving in attics, and carousing on the streets of Paris will return in a production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, directed by Emilio Sagi and conducted by Carlo Montanaro. The tragic love of Mimi and Rodolfo has moved audiences to tears for over a hundred years. Soloists in the opera will be Valentin Dytiuk and Pavel Petrov as Rodolfo, Mariangela Sicilia and Alla Vasilevitsky as Mimi, Mario Cassi and Oded Reich as Marcello, and Laura Ulloa and Yael Levita as Musetta. The opera will be performed in March 2025.

Turandot/Photo: Marc Brenner

Yet another Puccini favorite will grace the stage of the opera with the performance of Turandot in June. Conducted by Dan Ettinger, the production was originally directed by Andrei Serban, and the Choreographer/Associate Revival Director is Kate Flatt. The path of love is strewn with danger as the cruel Princess Turandot sets an impossible task for would-be suitors: he who can solve her three riddles will be her groom, but a wrong answer will culminate in death. Soloists in the opera will be: Elena Mikhailenko and Oksana Nosateva as Turandot, Alla Vasilevitsky as Liu, and Insung Sim as Timur. The opera will be performed in June 2025.

A special co-production of the Israeli Opera with the Krakow Opera in Poland and Oper Dortmund in Germany will bring the opera Ariadne auf Naxos to the Israeli stage. Composed by Richard Strauss with a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the opera is in two parts, the first shows the backstage preparations for the opera which will be the second part, and the second part is an opera within an opera – fun! Heribert Germeshausen, Artistic Director of Opera Dortmund released a statement: “I am very pleased that the Dortmund Opera, the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv and the Krakow Opera have come together to co-produce the opera Ariadne On Naxus…For me, working with the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv is a must, especially given the situation in the Middle East but also the visibility of the terrible global anti-Semitism! We show that culture connects, indeed must connect, across every border, across every political opinion and every religion…” The opera will feature an international creative team: Ido Ricklin, Dramaturg of the Israeli Opera, will direct, working with German-based British Set Designer Lima Holdsworth, Costume Designer Oren Dar, Choreographer Hillel Kogan, and Lighting Designer Adi Shimrony. The opera will be conducted by Asher Fisch, with performances in May 2025.

The full program and ticket information may be found on the Israeli Opera website.

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