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Date : 24 September 2016 - 26 September 2016 | Location : Akko

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Akko will host two opera festivals this summer, with the premier of the Meet in Galilee opera festival taking place in September, just two months after the weekend of Mozart at the Israeli Opera Festival in July. The focus of "Meet in Galilee" is Baroque Opera, with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques performing Handel’s Tamerlano, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas as well as Handel’s Alcina and Actéon by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The three day festival will take place between 24th-26th September, 2016.



The raison d’être of the festival “Meet in Galilee”, is to provide music that goes beyond boundaries of culture, race or religion and one that will break down misconceptions about the region. The hope is to bring new visitors to Akko, where diverse communities live in harmony.



The initiative was spearheaded by Muriel Haim. Parisian born Haim established Un Coeur pour la Paix to give Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank access to life-saving cardio treatment in Israeli hospitals in Jerusalem. In cases of emergencies, ambulances working with her charity can cross borders with uncommon alacrity to save lives. The charity has so far provided treatment to 651 children, with the average cost of £16,000 per child and with a 98% success rate. Through the charity, Palestinian and Israelis are coming together on a daily basis for a child’s sake.



Muriel Haim proposed to establish the new open-air festival at the Crusader Castle in Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and asked Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques to present a series of operas linked to Levantine history.   Rousset has assembled an impressive cast for this series of operas including singers Cyril Auvity (Actéon), Vivica Genaux (Dido), Christopher Lowrey (Tamerlano), John Mark Ainsley (Bajazet), Karin Gauvin (Alcina). This follows the success of Pierre Audi’s award-winning double bill of Tamerlano and Alcina conducted by Rousset in Brussels and Amsterdam last season. Prior to Israel, Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques will be at the Beaune Festival on 9 July performing Dido and Aeneas as the opening opera performance.



 Akko (also known as Acre) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites on the Mediterranean coast dating back to Early Bronze Age through to Hellenistic, Roman-Byzantine and Ottoman periods. It has been home to 5 major religions Christian, Muslims, Jewish, Bahai and Druse. The fortified town boasts many sites of interest that r reflect its rich cultural heritage, including the Hospitallers Knight’s refectory under the citadel, Baha’i holy shrines originating from the Ottoman period, the Hamam al-Basha built in 1795 and the Jezzar Pasha Mosque built in 1781 and housing the tomb of Sulayman Pasha. According to Greek historians, the city of Ake meaning “cure” referred to its tradition for healing. According to Greek myth, Heracles found curatives herbs here to heal his wounds. In recent years, funds have been invested in Akko to make it a city not just known for its beauty and heritage, but also as location for creativity and for festivals in the performing arts.


The program details:


24 September 2016



Georg Friedrich Handel


Christopher LOWREY, Tamerlano Karina GAUVIN, Asteria Thomas BAUER, Leone Maïté BEAUMONT, Irene Teresa IERVOLINO, Andronico John Mark AINSLEY, Bajazet


Tamerlano based on the legendary Tartar warlord is a tale of tyranny and power, betrayal and love. Tamerlano boasts of having conquered the proud Turkish Sultan Bajazet, now in prison. When the conqueror spurns Irene, his betrothed princess, for Asteria, the Sultan's daughter, he seals Bajazet's fate as he commits suicide, in one of Handel's most famous scenes. In the end, enlightenment prevails and Tamerlano, in typical opera seria fashion, repents from his bad deeds and takes Irene back, setting in motion a happy ending of sorts.


25 September 2016





Actéon (1684)

Cyril AUVITY, Actéon Daniela SKORKA, Diane Anat EDRI, Daphné/Arethuze Vivica  GÉNAUX, Junon Valérie GABAIL, Hyale



Daniela SKORKA, Vivica GÉNAUX, Valérie GABAIL, Anat EDRI, Cyril AUVITY, Mathieu MONTAGNE, Jean-François NOVELLI, Paul CRÉMAZY , Yaïr POLISHOOK, Etienne BAZOLA


Dido and Aeneas (1689)

Vivica GÉNAUX, Dido/Elissa Yaïr POLISHOOK, Aeneas Daniela SKORKA, Belinda Anat EDRI, First witch Valérie GABAIL, Second witch/Second woman Cyril AUVITY, Sailor

Jean-François NOVELLI, Spirit Etienne BAZOLA, Sorceress


Christophe Rousset has coupled Purcell’s only opera with Charpentier’s Actéon, whose story is recounted in Dido and Aeneas in the aria "Oft she visits this lone mountain". The plot of Actéon is based on a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses, about the hunter Actaeon accidentally discovers the goddess Diana bathing with her attendants. He tries to hide himself, but is discovered, and Diana in anger turns him into a stag. In this new form, he is pursued and torn apart by his own hounds. Purcell’s exquisite opera has come down through the centuries for its breath-taking aria Dido’s Lament.


26 September 2016


ALCINA (1735)

Georg Friedrich Handel


Karina GAUVIN, Alcina Rosemary JOSHUA, Morgana Maïté BEAUMONT, Ruggiero Thomas BAUER, Melisso Mark MILHOFER, Oronte Teresa IERVOLINO, Bradamante


Handel’s source of inspiration for his masterpiece Alcina is from Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso about the enchantress Alcina who lures men to their death with her charms until she meet the Knight Ruggiero with whom she falls in love. Handel’s Alcina was first performed in London in 1735 to great success and over the last two decades has seen renewed enthusiasm.


Apart from Alcina, the operas will be performed in concert. Berkeley based video artist Naomie Kremer, who makes use of collages of video and painted material, will set the scene of the enchanted grove in Alcina with video projections.


Muriel Haim

Muriel Haim began her career in 1978 as a general practitioner in Paris before specialising in geriatrics in Jerusalem at various health facilities. With friends and the council of Jerusalem, she co-founded Beit Ham, a place for pre-delinquent adolescents. In Paris, she also initiated Ganenou, a kindergarten that became a primary school. In 2005 Haim created a Heart for Peace (Un Coeur pour la Paix), a not-for-profit association which aims to bring together Israelis and Palestinians through actions of in the areas of health and training, alongside Professor Rein - Head of Pediatric Cardiology at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. Muriel Haim is a Geriatrician, with a PhD in health economics; she spent several years at Merck and Co as Vice President of Outcomes Research worldwide. Currently, she is a consultant in market access and communication for pharmaceutical and insurance companies.


Christophe Rousset

Harpsichordist, Conductor and Musicologist

Founder of the period instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques,


Christophe Rousset is an inspirational musician and conductor specialising in the baroque and classical repertoire. Particularly inspired by European music of the 17th and 18th centuries, Rousset has rediscovered forgotten operas such as Antigona by Traetta, La Capricciosa Corretta by Martin y Soler, Armida Abbandonata by Jommelli, La Grotta di Trofonio by Salieri and Temistocle by Jean-Chrétien Bach. His many recordings include the complete harpsichord works of François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, d’Anglebert and Forqueray, and his interpretations of works by J. S. Bach (Partitas, Goldberg Variations, Harpsichord Concertos, English Suites, French Suites, Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann) are regarded as references. With his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, his great successes on disc include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Mitridate, several operas including most recently Rameau’s Zais and Salieri’s Les Danaides as well as many critically acclaimed recordings of operas by Lully including Persée, Roland, Bellérophon, Phaeton, Amadis and Armide. Christophe Rousset has received honorary awards from the French government for his pioneering efforts work in classical music.


Les Talens Lyriques

The vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Talens Lyriques was founded in 1991 by Christophe Rousset. By choosing the name, the conductor attested to his passionate interest in an 18th century music repertoire which he has fortunately begun to reintroduce to the public. Rousset, however, has in no way neglected composers of the previous century. The repertoire ranges from Monteverdi (L’Incoronazione di Poppea) to Handel (Scipione, Riccardo Primo, Rinaldo, Admeto, Giulio Cesare, Serse, Tamerlano, Alcina, Ariodante), Lully (Persée, Roland, Bellérophon, Phaeton, Amadis, Armide), Cimarosa (Il Mercato di Malmantile, Il Matrimonio Segreto), Traetta (Antigona, Ippolito ed Aricia), Jommelli (Armida abbandonata), Martin y Soler (La Capricciosa Corretta) and even Mozart (Mitridate, Re di Ponto).


Les Talens Lyriques has recorded for DECCA (Universal Music), Naïve, Ambroisie, Aparté and Virgin Classics. In 1994, the ensemble has released the original soundtrack of the film Farinelli il Castrato. In 2001, it won the Classical Music Victory.


Naomie Kremer

Berkely based video artist Naomie Kremer makes use of collages of video and painted material. Kremer holds a MA in Art History from Sussex University and graduated from the California College of Arts. She regularly exhibits solo work at the Berkeley Art Museum, Modernism Gallery in San Francisco, the Von Fraunberg Gallery in Düsseldorf and Hosfelt Gallery in New York. She has set the stage to a new opera by Nolan Gasser, The Secret Garden based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel for San Francisco Opera in 2013. Previous set designs included Bluebeard’s Castle for Berkeley Opera in 2008 and a collaboration between Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, composer Paul Dresher and poet Michael Palmer in the multi-media dance performance Light Moves.


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Tags : Baroque, Opera, Israel, Autumn, Festival, Family, Music, Holiday, Vacation, Get away, country, Peace, Safe

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