58th Israel Festival is where identities and dialogue meet

A stream of culture arrives in Jerusalem at end of May with 58th Israel Festival, featuring performers from home and abroad, and events ranging from classical to multi-disciplinary

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

The Cullberg Ballet of Sweden performed at the 2019 Israel Festival (Courtesy Cullberg Ballet)
The Cullberg Ballet of Sweden performed at the 2019 Israel Festival (Courtesy Cullberg Ballet)

It’s a festival of classical works alongside avant-garde and contemporary pieces, a broad range of musical, theatrical and performance art as well as video art, Israeli premieres and family performances. There are site-specific works, daytime events and late night concerts.

“It’s a festival that aims to enjoy the best of performances from around the world,” said festival director Eyal Sher. “There are shows that will open us to worlds lesser known, that will light up our lives, wake us, excite us, make us laugh and move us. We see in cultural performances the ability to create a meeting of identities and dialogue, and we’re proud to present artists that answer one and only criteria: Quality.”

Many of the artists are exploring issues of identity, said artistic director Itzik Giuli, examining what characteristics identify a society, why people and communities look for new identities.

Held from May 30 through June 15, this year’s festival includes performers from Africa, Switzerland, France, Brazil and Poland.

The opening evening on May 30 will showcase Israeli music, including The Giraffes and Gilad Kahana, hosting fellow musicians Dor 3, Balkan Beat Box, A-Wa and others.

Other notable performers including the Cullberg Ballet from Sweden, with choreography by Deborah Hay and music by Laurie Anderson, as well as South Africa’s Robin Orlyn and Brazil’s Marcelo Evelin.

There’s fringe theater with Poland’s Song of the Goat Theatre, and an evening of dining and dance with the Elad Theater’s “Romeo and Juliet’s Last Meal.”

Locations are mixed as well, with many performances at the Jerusalem Theater as well as around the city, including a music fest at the Tower of David Museum with Berry Sakharov, Ester Rada, Liron Amram, Miri Mesika, Shai Tsabari, Shiran and other performers.

The Revolution Orchestra will be in town to play their usual eclectic mix, this time with songs of John Lennon, Luciano Pavarotti, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix and Glenn Gould. The festival will also host the eccentric Great Gehenna Choir for a vocal voyage.

Ticket prices range from NIS 60 to NIS 180, with a 20% discount for soldiers, students and seniors, as well as bus rides from the center, north and south. Another new addition to the event is the Friends of the Israel Festival, an opportunity to support original Israeli productions and collaborations.

For tickets and other information, head to the Israel Festival site.

Most Popular
read more: