I do not want to let too much time pass before I write something about a performance that I enjoyed at the Cameri Theatre put on stage in collaboration with the new Israeli Opera. The name of the representation is ‘Lauf MeCan’ which translates literaly as ‘Fly Away from Here’ although in the show program the ‘official translation’ is ‘Flying Lessons’.

The legend says that the Jewish community of Djerba – an island out of the Tunisian coast – holds the secret of the door of the Temple in Jerusalem brought here by Jews that arrived here after the destruction of temple, Jews who hold the secret of flying. This is the premise of the opera whose music is composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff on a libretto by Nava Semel.

The action happens in the early 50s Israel, perceived as a time of innocence for the young and idealistic society that was gathering at that time refugees of the Holocaust in Europe meeting with the Oriental Jews whose majority did not go through the historical horror of the Holocaust, and the sabras born in Israel, apparently sure of their identity but missing the roots and not spared themselves from loss and tragedy. The coming of age of the society is symbolized by the coming of age of the hero of the story, a teenage girl who meets a surviving Jew from Djerba, one of the few places in North Africa whose Jews suffered the tragedy of the Holocaust. While trying to catch the ancient secret of flying, she will learn that the true power resides inside, that the flight is not necessarily towards a point in the sky but more towards inner self-understanding and power of dreaming.

The program calls the show a ‘chamber opera’ and this almost discouraged me from using two of my subscription tickets to see it. The music is first of all very accessible and I am not sure if ‘chamber operetta’ or ‘chamber musical’ would not have been better descriptions of what we hear. I actually never understood exactly what is the difference between a musical and an opera or operetta. Then the performance is directed by Yael Ronen who is one of the best directors of the Israeli theater nowadays, I have seen her Plonter a couple of years ago at the same theater, one of the best political plays seen in years on an Israeli stage. Here she uses a well inspired sets designed by Anat Sternschuss in a naive manner reminding the kids TV shows of the 70s and combines them with a Far East style of shadows theater. The result is simple, expressive and fit to the target.

Last but certainly not least it’s an opera, so the quality of the singing is determinant. The singers are just great. Einat Aronstein is one of the many young sopranos in a generation of Israeli talents that seems too rich to have just one place to produce themselves, so they need other opportunities than the ones offered by the big neighboring stage of the New Israeli Opera. Gabi Sadeh is one of the most experienced Israeli tenors. he may be beyond the pick of his career but the role of the old refugee Monsieur Maurice from the island of Djerba fits him perfectly, and his performance is superb not only musically but also from an acting perspective.

The performance that I attended last Saturday was supposed to be the last in a series of ten and only ten performances. The theatre was full, and I see on the Web site of the Theatre that another series of performances is planned starting with the end of April. Whoever is around, do not miss it.