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Carmen and cheeseCarmen and cheese

Opera in Jerusalem’s market

In advance of June festival, singers offer samples for shuk shoppers

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

Shahar Levi sings amid Basher's cheeses in the shuk, at a promo for the June opera festival in Jerusalem (photo credit: Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
Shahar Levi sings amid Basher's cheeses in the shuk, at a promo for the June opera festival in Jerusalem (photo credit: Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Shoppers at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda were alternately charmed, annoyed and dismissive of the opera singing heard in the open-air market Monday morning.

Two Israeli Opera singers, Shahar Levi and Tali Ketsef, performed pieces of Carmen and La Boheme in the market stalls, surrounded by chunks of cheese and crates of tomatoes and cucumbers.

Bystanders were mostly respectful, except for several who parodied the singers’ high, soprano octaves.

“Don’t make fun,” said one shopper. “It’s hard work.”

The event was mostly a photo opportunity for the upcoming opera festival in June, said Lydia Weitzman, a spokesperson for the Tourism Ministry, one of the sponsors of the week-long event planned for the capital in June.

Scheduled for June 24-28, the opera festival is centered around two performances of “L’elisir d’amore” (The Elixir of Love), a love story written by the 19th century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. The opera will be performed by the Israeli Opera with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra on June 26 and 27 at Sultan’s Pool, an outdoor performance space situated under the Old City walls.

There will also be operettas, concerts and children’s operas performed around the city throughout the long weekend, aiming to draw adults and kids to the musical event.

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