An Opera in One Act

Music and Libretto by David Sebba; Directed by Shirit Lee Weiss

Members of the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion

Mothers, an original Israeli opera written for four female singers and four female actors, brings the mothers of the Book of Genesis to the stage. The mythological discrimination against women and children appears from the beginning of the Book of Genesis. Our Holy Bible tells the story of the men, the deciders, those who determine the policies, and win glory and honor, those who decide the future and destiny of their silent women and children. The mothers of the Bible have a dual mission – to get pregnant and give birth in a continuous ongoing cycle. Nothing less, nothing more. However, these women undoubtedly had feelings. What happened to Lot’s wife when she heard that her husband had invited the men of Sodom to rape their two daughters? Why did Rivka prefer one son over the other? What did Leah feel when she cheated on Yaakov?

In this opera, David Sebba returns to the stories we all grew up on, but this time from the perspective of the women, the mothers, some of whom do not even have a name in the Bible. Sebba expresses the inner feelings and thoughts of these mothers, and gives them a voice through which we encounter their sorrows and painful confessions. Their stories are connected through the perspective of the biblical God, here performed by a soprano singer who uses the original biblical texts to narrate the history from which these female characters emerge.

David Sebba holds an MMus with honors in Composition and Singing from Tel Aviv University Academy of Music. He won first prize in the Academy’s voice competition. He has composed theatre music, written arrangements and orchestrations, and sung solo roles with most of the orchestras and choirs in Israel. He participated in many Israeli Opera productions as a singer, pianist, and conductor, and translated more than ten operas into Hebrew, as well as surtitles and translations for singing in performances. He won scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the MOST Foundation, the Israeli Opera, and the Israel Vocal Arts Institute. He was a member of the staff of the School for Choral Singing and the Alon School Acting Class. He was a vocal coach at the Ticino Musica Festival’s annual summer courses in Switzerland, and performed in many concert tours abroad as a pianist, singer, and conductor. In 2003, he established the operatic ensemble OddOpera. He is currently the conductor in residence of the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, and serves as the music director of three choirs. He is also in charge of the opera class at the Jerusalem Music Academy, participates in choral festivals in Europe, and in recordings for radio and television, and performs in operas and concerts as a conductor, singer, and accompanist. He wrote Alice in Wonderland, an opera commissioned by the Israeli Opera, which has also been performed in Lithuania.

Shirit Lee Weiss is an opera director, whose credits include The Medium (Menotti); What about the Deer? Die Zauberflöte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart), Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (Bartok); Opera Fairytales at the Israeli Opera; Die Zauberflöte (Mozart); Trouble in Tahiti (Bernstein); and The Telephone (Menotti) for the Haifa Symphony Orchestra; Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) and Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss) for the Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva; Die lustige Witwe (Lehar) and Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss) at the Buchman-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University; La finta giardiniera (Mozart) and Giulio Sabino (Sarti) at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance; Ba-ta-clan (Offenbach), and the world premiere of Mothers (David Sebba) for the Fringe Opera in Tel Aviv; and Pierrot Lunaire (Schoenberg) for the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. In the USA, she directed Don Pasquale (Donizetti), Down in the Valley (Weill), and Comedy on the Bridge (Martinu). She has directed many productions for the Israeli Opera’s Meitar Opera Studio, including Hansel und Gretel (Humperdinck); Don Pasquale (Donizetti); Werther (Massenet); The Medium and The Telephone (Menotti); Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss); The Story of Romeo and Juliet and Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro and The Impresario (Mozart). She also directed two musicals at the Music Festival Bat Yam, both of which won first prize: Greta and the Space Race (Yonatan Cnaan and Valeria Zabelotsky) in 2014, and Goldi’s Bra (Aviv Koren) in 2015.

Based on Literature Classics Opera Women
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