Monday, May 9, 2011

"The Twin Sisters" premiering at the 2011 Israel Festival, combines music, theatre and video art

The 50th Israel Festival Jerusalem will open May 25th 2011, offering a variety of theatrical performances, music, dance and street events. One event combining music, video and theatre is “The Twin Sisters”, a theatrical piece based on a story of the same name by 1983 Israel Prize recipient Avrom Sutzkever. Born near Vilna in 1913, Sutzkever became a renowned Yiddish poet and was considered one of the great poets of the 20th century. A survivor of the Vilna Ghetto and a partisan the New York Times had referred to him as “the greatest poet of the Holocaust”. In Israel, Sutzkever founded the Yiddish literary journal “Di goldene Keyt” (The Golden Chain).

“The Twin Sisters” (1973), a true story, tells of sisters Grunia and Hodesl. Grunia survived the Holocaust, whereas Hodesl, a talented violinist, perished in the camps. In a small cafĂ© in Old Jaffa in the 1970’s, Grunia meets a poet who had been their neighbor in pre-war Vilna, telling him of Hodesl’s fate; Hodesl had been the love of his youth.

The theatre version of “The Twin Sisters”, to be premiered at the 2011 Israel Festival, was initiated by actress Hadas Kalderon. Kalderon is Sutzkever’s granddaughter and describes herself as belonging to the generation that serves as “a memorial candle, in spite of itself”. Born in Israel, Kalderon is a graduate of the Nissan Nativ School of Acting, has performed in Beit Lessin productions and several independent productions, as well as in television documentaries and series. In 2009, she was awarded the Rosenblum Prize for her acting.

Assuming a key role in the production, violinist Jenny Huenigen plays Hodesl. Huenigen was born in Berlin and studied at the Hanns Eisler School of Music. From 2002 to 2004 she was a member of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin State Orchestra and has been concertmaster of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra since 2004. Huenigen also performs as a soloist. As did Sutzkever, Huenigen’s (German) grandfather joined the Partisans, while his own father was in concentration camps for six years.

The two artists interact with each other – Kalderon (Grunia) in words and actions, Huenigen playing the “silenced” Hodesl in gestures and through the various melodies she plays on the violin; we are a witness to the fact, that, despite the two different “languages” they speak, their souls are intertwined. This is powerful meeting of theatre, music and video art; audiences will appreciate the artists’ profound performance and will connect easily to its genuine emotions. Dorona Ben Dor is the producer of this performance for three actors; the music, by Daniel Galay, will be performed by the Elysium Ensemble. Musical direction is by Gil Shohat.

June 5th 2011 at 21:00, the New Studio, Jerusalem Theatre

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