About this project
FLASH! We made it to $8,000! Thanks to everyone who pledged this week...2 more days!
A generous friend has made a wonderful offer: if we could reach $6,000 in pledges by Wed. Oct. 26 at 9pm Eastern, we would get a new pledge for $2,000. And so we did...people pitched in with $5, 18, 250, and in two days we raised the pledges from $3500 to $6000 to get the additional funds. Now we need the last $4000. Listen to the excerpts below, and if you like what you hear, please pledge!
ABOUT THE OPERA
ESTHER is an hour-long production is based on the Bible story of Hadassah (Esther), a courageous Jewish woman who becomes the Queen of Persia, and then risks her life by approaching the king, unbidden, to keep her people safe from the wicked Haman. Jews throughout the world celebrate this event through the festive spring holiday of Purim, with singing, dancing, and costumes.
ESTHER, with a libretto by my dear friend Sari Magaziner, premiered on Purim in March 1977 to an enthusiastic audience in Huntington, Long Island, and was later presented at synagogues and Jewish centers around the New York metropolitan area, as well as on WQXR radio. The original production consisted of six singers, a narrator, and piano accompaniment. ESTHER has a simple story and brings a message of the power of owning one's identity and standing up to evil, whatever the personal risks. The score is tonal and upbeat and the wry and poignant lyrics add to its appeal to audiences of all ages. The inclusion of a narrator/juggler, dancing, and some fun antics make ESTHER especially appealing to children. In synagogues, the holiday is one of the only times in the Jewish calendar where it's OK to be silly, dress up in costumes, and especially to be charitable.
A GENEROUS GRANT
Thanks to a generous grant last year from the Wassermann-Streit Y’DIYAH Memorial Fund, administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, I was able to have the piano/vocal score digitized, making distribution very easy.
HADASSAH TURNS 100!
ESTHER is at the heart of the Purim story. And March 2012 coincides with the centennial of the founding of Hadassah, one of the largest Jewish charitable organizations. What better way to celebrate Hadassah and Purim and, coincidentally, my mother’s 90th birthday? Mom has been a lifetime member of Hadassah, a true Woman of Valor, who has championed the role of women in Jewish life.
Please click on the links below to hear excerpts from a 1978 studio recording with members of the original cast (more details in the notes on each recording).
Thanks and Happy New Year!
My other Jewish opera that has been seen around New England is "A Parakeet Named Dreidel," based on the delightful I. B. Singer story, written with Leslie Elias of the Grumbling Gryphons Children's Theater. Other Jewish music includes three psalm settings for chorus, now on YouTube in the orchestral version premiered by the Jerusalem Symphony in 2009. Watch it here while you pledge!
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