Israeli Opera to perform a concert of ‘love letters’ for Valentine’s Day
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Israeli Opera to perform a concert of ‘love letters’ for Valentine’s Day

Musical scores pay tribute to Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann, and their complicated relationship

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Robert and Clara Schumann, the married composers whose relationship was tried by mental illness and a mutual affection for Johannes Brahms, are the subject of 'Love Letters,' a Valentine's Day concert performed on February 14, 2019 by The New Israeli Opera (Courtesy PR)
Robert and Clara Schumann, the married composers whose relationship was tried by mental illness and a mutual affection for Johannes Brahms, are the subject of 'Love Letters,' a Valentine's Day concert performed on February 14, 2019 by The New Israeli Opera (Courtesy PR)

One doesn’t have to celebrate Valentine’s Day to buy tickets for “Love Letters,” a concert performed on February 14 and March 1 by the New Israeli Opera and Rishon Lezion’s Symphony Orchestra in honor of the romantic holiday.

The musical selections are compositions by Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann, a tortured love triangle of German pianists and composers from the late 19th century.

Brahms was 21 and studying with composer Robert Schumann when he met the 35-year-old Clara Schumann. The Schumanns were well-known for their musical compositions and also had seven children together.

As the various relationships progressed and deepened among teacher and student, and student and wife, Robert Schumann was institutionalized with mental illness for more than a year, and his wife wasn’t allowed to see him.

Brahms, meanwhile, wrote letters to Clara Schumann of his great love for her, and moved into the Schumanns’ home in order to help out, although in a separate bedroom.

Their love, reportedly, was unrequited but written about in numerous love letters that was eventually put to music.

The concert will include readings of some of the letters and will be performed twice, on Thursday, February 14 at 8:30 p.m. and Friday, March 1, at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the New Israeli Opera.

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