The Israeli Opera of Tel Aviv-Jaffa opens its gala 25th season with a world premiere – The Child Dreams, written by Hanoch Levin, with music composed by Gil Shohat. The opera is performed by the Israeli Opera’s soloists, and is directed by Omri Nitzan and conducted by David Stern, the Artistic Director of the Israeli Opera.
The Child Dreams is the first and only play by Hanoch Levin to be produced as an opera. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hanoch Levin’s death, which is commemorated in Israel and abroad. Levin was a playwright, director, poet and author. The play The Child Dreams is considered one of the most important and poetic Israeli plays every written, and it premiered on stage in 1993, directed by Levin.
In the play, Levin describes the allegorical journey of unwanted refugees who seek shelter for their souls. Levin’s inspiration for writing the play’s plot was the English film by director Stewart Rosenberg ‘Voyage of the Damned’ (1977), that describes the story of the St. Louis ocean liner during World War II that transported a group of persecuted refugees from port to port, and finally reaches the shores of a country that refuses them entry and thus sentences them to their doom. Rising above all the other characters in the play is the enigmatic, symbolic, naïve and multifaceted character of the child. On the backdrop of the boy’s journey towards his death, Levin not only examines the relations between mother and son, between man and woman, between government and citizen, and between cruelty and compassion, but also the thin line between abstract representation of realism and fantasy, of artistic “naiveté” versus amorphous sentimentalism.
Production of the play as an opera was the initiative of the Israeli Opera’s General Director, Hannah Munitz: “Hanoch Levin was the greatest poet and playwright of our time, who succeeded, through pure poetry, that was simultaneously abstract, naïve and cynical, in raising realistic tragedies to the level of universal tragedies, that are accessible anywhere and at any time. When I first saw the play The Child Dreams in 1993, at the Habima Theatre, the Israeli Opera was only in its infancy. Alongside the instant connection I felt when I saw the play, with the abysmal despair that it expressed, I also connected instantly with its poetry and lyricism. My first thought was why isn’t The Child Dreams an opera. Back then I didn’t know that I would, in the future, be able to turn this wonderful and unique play into an operatic work in which music can help the story ascend to even higher planes. I am happy and lucky to be given this privilege and opportunity to make this work to come to life on the stage of the Israeli Opera, during its 25th season.”
Opera House – Performing Arts Center
19 Shaul Hamelech Avenue, Tel Aviv