the dybbuk - an opera in Yiddish
70 min. subtitles: English / Hebrew
DVD. Format: PAL / Region 2
world premiere. a tale of exorcism, kabbalah, spirits, and passion
"A remarkable operatic performance" (Jewish Forward, N.Y)
"The opera The Dybbuk is highly significant in our culture arena...The love duet between the dead bridegroom and Leah standing on either side of a translucent mirror, is haunting" (HaEer weekend Magazine, Israel)
The opera the Dybbuk by the American composer Solomon Epstein is based on S. An-Sky's 1920 play, which has become a legend in Jewish culture.
This is apparently the world's first original yiddish opera. Yiddish, spoken mainly by European Jews up until World War II, is now an endangered language, and with it a rich cultural heritage threatened with being lost forever.
The Dybbuk is a tale, which takes place in a small Jewish town where the souls of both the living and the dead transcend their respective realms. Leah and Hanan, a Kabbalah student, fall in love. Soon after Hanan is overcome by powers beyond his control and dies, a male voice emanates from Leah's body. The spirit of Hanan has taken control of her in the form of a demon, a dybbuk, and refuses to leave. In this respect, the Dybbuk is a passionate play which was destined to become an opera: An especially riveting moment occurs when the soprano, Leah, opens her mouth to sing, Hanan's tenor voice is heard, and an elusive vocal exchange begins.
The Dybbuk, an Israeli production, directed by Rachel Michaeli and conducted by Ronen Borshevsky, is a contemporary opera which reflects the music of the period when the play was written. In addition to Debussy’s and Bartok’s spirit, The Dybbuk leaves space for the Jewish musical tradition.
The production is staged in an abridged version (70 min.). Lea, in Michaeli's Dybbuk, clings to the Dybbuk which possesses her, and protects him from those who try to banish him from her.
The opera was recorded live at the world premiere in Tel Aviv 1999, with six singers and six actors accompanied by brilliant and appreciated Israeli pianist Irit Rub-Levy. Starring in an unforgettable performance, is Swedish soprano Camilla Griehsel.
The DVD version is the new release (2005). screen: 3/4
"One of the most original and interesting
projects this year" (Opera Magazine, U.K)
"Dybbuk forsta operan pa Jiddisch" (Metro Magazine, Sweden)
"Yiddish opera opens to applause in Israel" (Times-Picayune, LA)
"A standing room crowd from around Israel flocked to the performance of The Dybbuk.Those who couldn't find seats perched on steps in the aisles"
(Jewish Chronicle weekend magazine, London)
"Growing acceptance of Yiddish shown in Opera" (Times Hammond, IN)
"First Yiddish opera revives near-dead language in Israel" (Bangor Daily News)
"Opera excites Yiddish speakers" (News and Record, NC)
"Original opera aids in revival of Yiddish" (Record, NJ)
"Sing out: New opera reignites interest in Yiddish" (Winston-Salem Journal)
"Yiddish revived in Israel by opera" (Times - Bucks County Courier, PA)
"Yiddish opera premieres in Israel" (Register Guard, OR)