Monday, December 8, 2008

A Journey to the End of the Millennium

I attended a performance of A Journey to the End of the Millennium at the Tel Aviv Opera house, a thoroughly modern building just down from the city's famed three towers; I was told that after the assault on the two towers in Manhattan, the Israelis decided to put up three, although I can find no confirmation of this in my research.

The production, according to the publicity, is a "revival of the striking Israeli opera that examines the mores of oursociety through the penetrating libretto of A.B. Yehoshua and the tantalizing score of Yosef Bardanashvili." This is based on the book of the same name and one review says: "Yehoshua's tale is more than just a travelog through the Europe of the 10th century; it is also a meditation on religion, law, and the differences between the European Sephardic tradition and that of the Middle Eastern Ashkenazic Jews--differences that echo the current social and ideological conflicts within Israel today."

I went with a Romanian woman who immigrated to Israel some time ago and works in the high tech industry. She and I agreed that the story seemed more powerful than the music, although as the guy sitting next to me said, "If you expect Puccini you will be disappointed." No one could be disappointed in the set, however, showing the travel in time through waves of colored fabric and the stark black and white costumes characterizing the northern and southern jews respectively.

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