LILITH, THE NIGHT DEMON IN ONE LEWD ACT to Tour San Francisco Area, Beg. 5/1
The story of Lilith, the bawdy alternate Jewish story of creation, will be presented as a magical folk opera entitled Lilith, the Night Demon in One Lewd Act by the renowned instrumentalists Veretski Pass (Stuart Brotman, Joshua Horowitz and Cookie Segelstein) in collaboration with the San Francisco Choral Artists. Performances will be given at the Osher Marin JCC on May 1, at the JCC of the East Bay in Berkeley on May 3, and at Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center on May 4. Following each performance of the opera will be a traditional "klezmer dance party" with the music for which Veretski Pass is known. In addition, Joshua Horowitz and Veretski Pass will give a lecture demonstration on Thursday, February 20 at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco.
The extraordinary and often bizarre score to Lilith, the Night Demon, composed by award-winning composer, Josh Horowitz, features both choral and instrumental ensembles. Michael Wex will appear as the narrator, with Heather Klein as Lilith and Anthony Russell as Adam. The often bawdy and humorous libretto draws on texts gleaned from Jewish superstitions, omens, dreams, and curses. Magen Solomon, artistic director of the Choral Artists, will conduct the chorus.
As any biblical scholar knows, the mysterious Lilith is not mentioned in Genesis. Her earliest appearance seems to have been in the Babylonian Talmud, with references from Mesopotamia and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Created out of dust at the same time as Adam, Lilith refused to be subservient and was forced to flee, becoming a demonic woman, a killer of children and seductress of young men.
The composition uses biblical, mystical, magical and structural elements from medieval works as well as from the Kamea (Heb. "amulet"), ritual objects in which charms against Lilith abound. The music weaves together ancient and modern motives and explores some of the lesser-known facets of Jewish mysticism and superstition, integrating them into a new composition that uses traditional East European Jewish music as well as modern compositional and improvisatory elements. A complete annotated, illustrated libretto by the artist Phil Blank will be made available at the concert.
Veretski Pass offers a unique and exciting combination of virtuosic musicianship and raw energy that has excited concertgoers across the world. The trio plays Old Country Music with origins in the Ottoman Empire, once fabled as the borderlands of the East and the West. In a true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, typical suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania; Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia; and haunting Rebetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with original compositions. The trio's CDs have repeatedly been on the 10-best recording lists of journalists. Veretski Pass takes its name from the mountain pass through which Magyar tribes crossed into the Carpathian basin to settle what later became the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
San Francisco Choral Artists, a 24-voice chamber ensemble specializing in innovative programming, is widely recognized as one of the finest choral ensembles on the West Coast. SFCA has premiered over 190 works and is winner of the 2012 ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, affirming its reputation for eclectic programming and stunning performances of music spanning 600 years. The Choral Artists offer audiences three to four concerts sets per season in locations across the San Francisco Bay Area, showcasing new works by living composers programmed alongside masterworks and favorites from the choral repertoire. SFCA performs mostly unaccompanied and also cultivates unusual collaborations, performing with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, The Alexander String Quartet, Composers Inc., Veretski Pass, and The Whole Noyse early music wind band, among others.
Michael Wex (Narrator) columnist, bon vivant and raconteur, has been called "a Yiddish national treasure." He is author of Born to Kvetch, the bestselling book ever written about Yiddish, and was hailed by The New York Times as "wise, witty and altogether wonderful." A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Wex has worked in virtually every area of contemporary Yiddish. Some of his songs have been recorded by such klezmer bands as Sukke, The Flying Bulgars, and 2007 Grammy winners, The Klezmatics.
Heather Klein (Lilith) has performed across the U.S., Canada and Europe, both as a soloist and with musical groups and opera companies. However her passion has been Yiddish classical song. Highlights have included singing with mentors Three Yiddish Divas, and touring with the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene. She has released two Yiddish musical albums, including "Shifreles Portret: A Yiddish Art Song Project" with her "Inextinguishable Trio." She performed Yiddish art song in New York City at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for the last 3 years in concert, and as a part of Sidney Krum Young Artist Series. She also played the role of Rosie in the world-premiere of "Ravensbruek Project," a cabaret opera based on the Holocaust, before a sold-out theater in Boston.
Anthony (Mordechai Tzvi) Russell (Adam) has worked primarily in the field of opera in the San Francisco Bay and New York Metro areas for the past fifteen years. Highlights include the West Coast premiere of Anthony Davis's X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X and the world premiere of Philip Glass's Appomattox with the San Francisco Opera Company. More recently, Anthony has devoted himself in the recital repertoire of Sidor Belarsky (1898-1975), one of the twentieth century's most prolific performers of cantorial music, Chassidic nigunim and Yiddish art song. Anthony's continuing development of Belarsky's repertoire has brought him to the stages of the JCC in Manhattan, Symphony Space, the Ashkenaz Festival and Ideacity Conference in Toronto, KlezKanada in Laurentians and the Montreal Jewish Music Festival.
Tickets for the lecture/demonstration at the Jewish Community Library on Feb. 20 are free. Tickets ranging from $25 - $49 (with discounts for seniors & students) for all three performances may be obtained at http://brownpaperticket.com/producer/6139. For more information visit http://www.liliththenightdemon.com.