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MM -- What about the Wagner issue? There was a performance recently of
some Wagner by the Israel Symphony Orchestra, Rishon le Zion orchestra,
(the NIO orchestra). Was Wagner well received there?
HM -- It was, but at one concert there was a single heckler with a ratchet
who attempted to disrupt it -- but failed. NIO of course would love to perform
Wagner and had even hoped to include some in our inaugural season in 1995.
But we are sensitive to the whole question here. We held a public debate
about it -- to sound out the opinions and mood of the audience. It was one
Saturday morning, and the Opera House was filled, and the debate got quite
heated. Interestingly most of the objections raised came from second generation
survivors rather than survivors themselves! However we realised this is
still not yet the right moment.
MM -- One of the interesting aspects of opera in Israel is the possibility
of bringing in Arabic or oriental influences. How far does NIO cater to
HM : In last year's Israel Festival we presented a performance of
a famous Persian folk tale, Laila and Majnun, like Romeo and Juliet,
very well known to Arabic audiences. We commissioned music for parts of
it from a young Israeli composer Eliyahu Piris. It is something we would
still like to develop further. So far however we have not had any operas
by Arabic composers.
Copyright © 12 April 2001
Malcolm Miller, London, UK
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