Posted by: howardnevision | November 24, 2009

Howard Nevison Sings Rigoletto

As I have mentioned previously most of the opera performances in Israel were given in the Main Theatre in Tel Aviv. However occasionally we took our show on the road. Howard Nevison the Opera Singer recalls his first performance of Rigoletto was given in a small theatre in Nazareth. The bus ride through the mountains was very beautiful, but dangerous. The bus was stopped twice by Israeli troops checking for bombs. The war was still going on and this type of stoppage was very common for security purposes. Needless to say we arrived in Nazareth all in one piece.
I was very exited to sing my first Rigoletto, and was not surprised by a very large audience. Saturday evening (after the Sabbath) was always an exciting time to perform. The opera began without any hitches, and the first act went very well. The second act however, was a bit unusual. I had just finished singing the demanding aria (Cortigiani, vil razza dannata) When I sang my next line to Marullo and the chorus. To my great surprise they sang back to me in HEBREW. Naturally for a second I was in a state of shock but I carried on without missing a beat. As I  found out later the company from their beginning sang all of their operas in Hebrew. Only 15 years before my arrival had they begun performing all the operas in the original language. It seemed odd to me that only the second act chorus of Rigoletto was in Hebrew. They never bothered to learn the Italian version. I suppose if a rehearsal with the chorus had been scheduled I would have not been totally surprised. Unfortunatly there wern’t many rehearsals with the chorus due to the heavy schedule of performances. Before the beginning of the third act I visited the chorus dressing room to find out what happened. I looked at the chorus scores and sure enough the notes were going left to right, and the words under the notes were going right to left.
An amazing discovery for Howard Nevison the Opera Singer. The bus ride back to Tel Aviv was uneventfull except for the troops who said hello for the third time that day.
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