Witches?

A festival celebrating women and femininity in Baroque music

“Witches?” a new Jerusalem festival, presented by the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra and directed by Prof. David Shemer, will take place in July 2021. It will be dedicated to women composers, and the representation of women in music and arts of the 17th century, offering a host of musical activities, poetry, lectures and more.

Admission will be only to people vaccinated or those recovered. People of 12 and above who are unvaccinated or those not  of the “recovered” category will need to show a negative corona test result (from up to 72 hours prior to the event).

In addition, the wearing of masks is mandatory for people attending events.

List of Events:

Concert: Leonora Duarte, Palace and Synagogue Music
Music from house concerts at the Duarte Palace attended by elite Antwerp society and endowed with songs inspired by the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam (referred to as “Hamakom” due to its acceptance and tolerance towards Jews), this event gives the audience a glimpse into the world of the Anusim (Jews forced to convert to Christianity) and of the Jews of the Low Countries in the 17 th century. We will hear music by Leonora Duarte (1610-1678), her circle (Constantijn Huygens, Nicholas Lanier, John Bull) and her contemporaries – Coprario and Frescobaldi. The program will include music from the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam (c.1675) written down in 1942 from memory by the last conductor of its choir – David Ricardo. The program will also include a Sephardic Passover song, possibly hidden by Leonora Duarte in one of her symphonies. The concert will take place in the former building of Soloists of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra and Phoenix Ensemble. Myrna Herzog, conductor
July 20th, at 18:00 and 20:00 – New Spirit House, 161 Jaffa St’, Jerusalem Tickets: 80 NIS ((special discounts to students, youngsters, senior citizens)

Lecture: An allegory of a beautiful woman: Tal Brit
In the Renaissance culture, there are many faces to what the beautiful woman represents. In church she is called Luxuria and her beauty will be considered as the greatest daner of the seven deadly sins; at the German Court she is called “Frau Wolt” and is seen as the source of all good measures of the knight. The lecture will discuss the variety of representations of the beautiful woman in art and culture, its symbols and in the imaginative tools that were developed to cope with her.
July 14th, 20:00. New Spirit House, 161 Jaffa St’, Jerusalem
Tickets: 40 NIS.

An Outdoor Event: The Trombone, the Witch and the Magic Fair
A concert performed by Pretty Pliz Brass Quintet featuring rearrangements to music written by Lucrezia Orsina Visana, a summer fair featuring products of New Spirit House artists as well as fun outdoor activities and a lecture about witch hunt in the 17 th century given by Oded Feurstein. The fair will start with a children’s movie played at Toho’s studio.
July 21st starting at 17:00. New Spirit House, 161 Jaffa St’, Jerusalem
Outdoor events are with no charge.
Lecture: 20 NIS.

Opera: “La Calisto” an Opera by Francesco Cavalli (1651)
Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra
Meitar Opera Studio – The Israeli Opera
David Shemer, conductor
Shirit Lee Weiss, director
July 5 th at 20:00 – Jerusalem International YMCA
July 6 th at 20:00 – Zucker Auditorium, Heikhal Hatarbut, Tel Aviv
July 13 th at 20:00 – Rappaport Hall, Haifa
Tickets: between 80 and 140 (special discounts to students, youngsters, senior citizens

Concert: The Song of the Cortesana
Music by Barbara Strozzi and others
Living in Venice, Barbara Strozzi, one of the best-known Baroque women composers, was a courtesan – a kind of intellectual call girl. She wrote a variety of vocal works, even managing to publish them. The concert will feature soprano songs by Strozzi.
Daniela Skorka, soprano; Eliav Lavi, theorbo; David Shemer, harpsichord
July 9th, 13:00 – New Spirit House, 161 Jaffa St’, Jerusalem
Tickets: 80 NIS ((special discounts to students, youngsters, senior citizens)

Poetry Reading
In collaboration with Makom Leshira
Four Israeli poets and one musician, whose poetry is all subtlety and magic.
Bewitching Hebrew poetry and French Baroque music meet at the “Witches?” Festival
Hamutal Bar-Yosef, Sabina Meseg, Noam Partom, Noa Shakargy
Idit Shemer- Flute
Gilad Meiri- Moderator
July 28th, 20:00, New Spirit House, 161 Jaffa St’, Jerusalem
Tickets: 40 NIS

Concert: Witches music
Soloists of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra together with singers of the Kolner Akademie (Germany), conducted by Michael Alexander Willens will give a concert that will portray the image of the Baroque opera woman-witch, as reflected in the famous Witches Scene from Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”, as well as arias from Handel’s opera Alcina. The demonic witchery will be challenged by divine madrigals from the early Baroque of Heinrich Schutz, Sebastian Knüpfer and Melchior Franck.
July 31st, 21:30 – Jerusalem International YMCA
August 1st, 20:00 – Nes Ziona Arts Center


Tickets: between 80 and 120 (special discounts to students, youngsters, senior citizens

This concert is being sponsored in part by the Goethe Institute.