Musica Ebraica Gives Broadway a Run for Its Gelt
In June, Ottawa’s preeminent mixed-voice Jewish choir, Musica Ebraica, explores the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the Broadway musical in a concert called Mavins of the Musical: From Yiddish Theatre to Broadway.
We’re talking about the Gershwin brothers, Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart, Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago), Jerome Kern, Lorenz Hart, Alan Lerner and Frederick Loewe, not to mention Irving Berlin. Between them, they wrote the songs for practically all the great musicals, leading to the assertion that the musical is almost an exclusively Jewish creation. Indeed, could it not be said that the Jews actually ‘invented’ Broadway?
In answer, the choir begins with a look at the vibrant musical theatre culture that was popular in the shtetls and cities of Russia and Eastern Europe, beginning with works by Abraham Goldfaden, the “father of modern Yiddish theater”. Goldfaden wrote some 40 Yiddish plays between 1869 and 1908 as well as hundreds of songs, including, most famously, “Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen” (Raisins and Almonds).
This concert will continue with favourites such as Dona Dona, A Yiddishe Mommeh, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Beltz, a poignant lament to old world life. And who doesn’t remember the Andrews Sisters’ 1930’s swing tune Bei Mir Bist Tu Shein and The Barry Sisters’ Sheyn Vi Di Levone ? Other selections will include Fiddler on the Roof excerpts and a Les Miz medley.
Musica Ebraica’s up-coming concert will be fun and entertaining as well as educational. Look for some fantastic solos, featuring soprano Mirren Lithwick and tenor Evan Weiner, guest musicians and a special appearance as Master of Ceremonies by Laurence Wall. Okay, the secret is out: Laurence is bringing (and playing) his cello!
The concert will take place on Weds, June 1 , 7:30 pm (note the new time), at Agudath Israel 1400 Coldrey Avenue (ample parking). Tickets are $20, students $10.
For information, please contact Patsy Royer @ 613 233-3099
Musica Ebraica, Ottawa’s preeminent mixed-voice Jewish choir, looks forward to presenting an evening of song, festivity, and fun on Dec. 6th at 7 p.m. at 395 Wellington in downtown Ottawa together with The Council of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection, with the support of the Friends of Library and Archives Canada, and the Canada-Israel Cultural foundation. The weather outside might be frightful but inside will be shir delight, as the choir entertains with the Chanukah chestnuts we all know and love, in new and tantalizing variations. Treasures from Library and Archives Canada’s Jacob M. Lowy Collection will be on display! So come, gather round, we’ll give you a treat: dreidls to play with and latkes to eat! Come light the menorah! Let’s have a party!
For information contact Patsy Royer at 613-233-3099
No tickets. Freewill offering appreciated!
Musica Ebraica is pleased to showcase A Joyful Shout: Jewish Choral Music, Past and Present. Presented by retired lichenologist and A Touch of Klez mandolin player Irwin Brodo, this talk will describe the development of Jewish choral music from Salomone Rossi (Monteverdi’s contemporary) to Srul Israel Glick (our contemporary). Musica Ebraica will bring the text alive through performance.
Musica Ebraica brings its audience something a different with our Spring concert.
On Tuesday, May 12th, at 7:30 pm, Freiman Hall, inside the Perez Building at the University of Ottawa, will be the site for new Yiddish music written in the last 20 years, new Israeli music and old time spirituals based on Torah tales.
Beginning with a lively hora and an ethereal rendering of “Love, Smoke, Dreams”, both new Israeli melodies, we turn to prayers of gratitude and celebration. Toes will tap to Spirituals written to pass on the stories of Daniel, Noah, Ezekiel and more and we will present some Yiddish tunes from the New York stage and others just recently composed. Yiddish is certainly a living language!
The Vhovskyi Strings will provide a beautiful musical interlude. This group of young violinists is becoming well known in Ottawa music circles and Musica Ebraica is delighted to share the concert with them.
Professor Rebecca Margolis of the University of Ottawa Department of Modern Languages specializing in Yiddish Language will act as the Emcee.
Mark your calendars for a special evening of music and Jewish song.
Tickets are $20/$5 for students and will be available at the door, from all Musica Ebraica members or by calling 613-233-3099. The Perez Building is located at 50 University Avenue. However, there is an entrance on Cumberland, just south of Laurier. Paid parking is available.
Musica Ebraica salutes Sephardic tradition as well as the great musicians of the Ashkenazi world on November 30th at 2pm at Temple Israel.
The 120th anniversary of Louis Lewandowski of 19th century Berlin whose melodies still define Jewish prayer, the passing of popular songwriter Arik Einstein and Israeli composer Yehezkhel Braun will form the nucleus of this eclectic concert. Familiar tunes such as Erev Shel Shoshanim, but in new arrangments will entertain and delight. And a Canadian premier of several works by young Israeli composer Eyal Bat will be a highlight.
Under the baton of conductor Gloria Jean Nagy with Carol Gurofsky accompanying on piano, with special guest Chazzan Jeremy Burko, From East to West in Song will be an afternoon not to be missed.
November 30th at 2pm Temple Israel 1301 Prince of Wales Drive. Tickets $20 and $10 for students. 613-233-3099. musicaebraica.ca