Madonna set to arrive for Eurovision, but gig still in air
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Madonna set to arrive for Eurovision, but gig still in air

Equipment is already here and pop star to fly in with huge entourage on Wednesday, but negotiations still ongoing over broadcast rights

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

Madonna opens her MDNA world tour in Tel Aviv in May 2012. (Flash 90/File)
Madonna opens her MDNA world tour in Tel Aviv in May 2012. (Flash 90/File)

Pop superstar Madonna will land in Israel on Wednesday morning, accompanied by an entourage of 135 people, ahead of her planned performance during the Eurovision finals on Saturday night.

But on Monday, Eurovision executive producer Jon Ola Sand said her performance was not yet confirmed, since the European Broadcasting Union does not have a signed contract with her team.

Disagreements apparently remained regarding the EBU’s broadcasting rights for the performance, as the union is demanding all member networks be granted full rights to the materials.

“If we don’t have a signed contract, she can’t perform on that stage,” Sand said at a Monday night press conference at the Tel Aviv Expo. “We’re negotiating that now.”

Earlier Monday, the public relations team for Sylvan Adams, the Canadian-Israeli philanthropist, who is reportedly funding a large portion of Madonna’s $1.3 million fee and bringing her to Israel on his private jet, stated that preparations for Madonna’s performance were already taking place.

Canadian-Israeli philanthropist Sylvan Adams is footing the bill for Madonna’s performance at Eurovision 2019 (Courtesy Sylvan Adams)

Daniel Benaim, the CEO of the Comtec Group, an Israeli events producer that is handling the singer’s production in Israel, stated in a press release that her performance was a complicated one with demands and standards similar to those of other international performers.

A portion of Madonna’s stage set arrived in Israel on Monday, on a cargo plane loaded with 30 tons of equipment, including 70 stairs and and an elevator that will be part of the Eurovision stage. Other preparations include a backstage tent complex for Madonna’s team and four full rehearsals.

Madonna’s entourage includes rapper KoVu, a choir of 40 people, 25 dancers and dozens of choreographers, staging, lighting, and video art personnel for her performance.

Adams, who has lived in Israel since 2015, and has funded several major projects, including the Giro d’Italia Big Start bike race that took place in the Jerusalem area last year, said it was an honor to host Madonna for Eurovision.

“The Eurovision being hosted in Tel Aviv brings the biggest music competition in the world and I’m excited that Madonna will be the face of Eurovision and will add more ratings, interest and excitement to what I hope will be the most successful Eurovision ever,” stated Adams. “The Eurovision brings countries together, as well as cultures, tolerance, and friendship through music, and Israel is the perfect home for hosting the competition and for advancing those values — I believe that all of Israel joins me in my wishes and in welcoming Madonna.”

According to local promoter Live Nation, the $1.3 million price tag for a 15-minute Madonna performance will be paid for by Adams.

Pop icon Madonna performs at the Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv on May 31, 2012. (photo credit: Ariel Schalit/AP)
Pop icon Madonna performs at the Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv on May 31, 2012. (Ariel Schalit/AP/File)

Madonna has performed in Israel three times: in 1993, 2009, and during the summer of 2012.

A longtime Kabbalah enthusiast, she has made pilgrimages to Israel on several occasions as well.

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