Oshman Family JCC Presents the West Coast Premiere of THE DYBBUK

By: Aug. 19, 2016
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The Oshman Family JCC will present the West Coast premiere of an acclaimed new production of The Dybbuk, featuring an all-star cast, 8pm Saturday, September 24, and 5pm Sunday, September 25 at the OFJCC's Schultz Cultural Arts Hall. The Dybbuk is a multimedia chamber opera composed by Ofer Ben-Amots, inspired by S. Ansky's timeless Yiddish play, and directed by Thomas Lindblade.

In this vivid opera, a young woman near death awakens to the undertone of a clarinet. She must choose between life with a man she does not know or death with her beloved, who has possessed her as a "dybbuk," a deceased soul who takes up residence in a living body. Folk elements intertwine with contemporary music to create a captivating world, while multiple video projections help share a powerful story of faith, mysticism, and passion. The Dybbuk will be presented in both English and Hebrew with supertitles. For tickets ($45-$55) and more information visit paloaltojcc.org/dybbuk or call (650) 223-8649.

Soprano Ronit Widmann-Levy makes her triumphant return to the stage for this extraordinary production, which also stars world-renowned clarinetist Kliment Krylovskiy and baritone Gabriel Loewenheim in leading roles. The Dybbuk is presented in partnership with the Israeli Consulate General of San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest, Hillel@Stanford, Congregation Kol Emeth, and Kehillah Jewish High School. Saturday's performance will feature a pre-show talk with composer Ofer Ben-Amots, and Sunday's show will be preceded by a talk with world experts on the topic of the dybbuk: Kol Emeth's Senior Rabbi David Booth, and Stanford professor and renowned Ansky scholar Gabriella Safran.

Soprano Ronit Widmann-Levy will be playing the role of Leah, the bride. Widmann-Levy made her debut in 2005 with the San Francisco Symphony in Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri, conducted by Ingo Metzmacher. She has performed throughout the world in operatic and concert settings, including with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony in Carnegie Hall, as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. Widmann-Levy has performed in opera houses and festivals in Chicago, Washington, Tanglewood, Cincinnati, Berlin, Munich, London, Bangkok, and Jerusalem. She sang at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Bath and Dartington Festivals in England, the Jüdische Kulturtage in Berlin, and the America Haus Concert Series in Munich. She has also recorded for PBS' Great Performances for the presentation of "The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater." In the summer of 2017, her Ladino (the language spoken by Spanish Jews expelled from Spain in 1492) Project will tour Europe.

Clarinetist Kliment Krylovskiy will perform as Hannan, the bridegroom. He is a member of the esteemed Zodiac Trio and is Artistic Director for Zodiac Trio's Academy and Festival. Krylovskiy has enjoyed an international concert career. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, which carried a one-year residency in Paris, where he served as an American musical ambassador to the French audiences. Krylovskiy has performed with the Couer D'Alene Symphony, the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Vallee, Kensington String Ensemble, and Lonestar College Wind Ensemble, among others.

Baritone Gabriel Loewenheim will be playing the narrator, messenger, and rabbi. Loewenheim has an active performing career as a soloist and also performs on a regular basis in operas, oratorios and in Lieder recitals in Israel, Europe, the United States and Africa. As an opera singer, he has performed more than 25 different roles most notably in Mozart's operas Bastien and Bastienne as Colas, Don Giovanni as Masetto, and Le Nozze di Figaro as Figaro and Antonio. He has performed with The Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, and others. Lowenheim was a member of the Israeli Opera's Opera Studio where his repertoire included the Father in Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel and Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Composer Ofer Ben-Amots was born in Haifa, Israel, and has been performing since age nine. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, he studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Ph.D. in Music Composition. He currently serves as a professor of music composition and theory at Colorado College. Dr. Ben-Amots' works have been repeatedly recognized for their emotional and highly personal expression with the blending of folk elements, contemporary textures, and his unique imaginative orchestration. Dr. Ben-Amots is a member of the Advisory Board and the Editorial Board of the Milken Foundation American-Jewish Music Archive. He has been a Jerusalem Fellow of the Center for Jewish Culture for North America since 1997.

Director Thomas Lindblade was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor at Colorado College, and the college's inaugural T. William and Nancy Bryson Schlosser Professor of the Arts. Hailing from Minnesota, he is currently a professor of Colorado College's Department of Theatre and Dance, and served as department chair between 1995 and 2009. Dr. Lindblade received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, his M.A. from the University of Minnesota, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Drama and Humanities.

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center (OFJCC) on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life serves the South Peninsula through educational, social, cultural, fitness, sports and other programs. The OFJCC is a multi-generational Jewish neighborhood where all are welcome and which fosters new personal and community connections through rich and rewarding experiences. The OFJCC provides a common ground for Jewish institutions, other local groups, organizations and individuals to work, learn and play together for the betterment of the whole community. The OFJCC's registered trademark is Live Fully®.


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