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San Diego Opera announces scholarly lecture series on the historic ‘Nabucco’

January 25, 2010 2 comments

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)– Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco is based on the exile to Babylon of the Jews from Jerusalem.  In the Bible, the Babylonian King Nabucco is known as Nebuchadnezzar.  San Diego Opera will be presenting “Nabucco” Feb. 20, 23, 26, 28 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

Prior to that time, Dr. Nicolas Reveles, Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for the San Diego Opera, will team up with the Judaic Studies programs of SDSU and UCSD, as well as with the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Museum of Art in Balboa Park to present a four-part series relating to the Babylonian exile.

The lecture series will include these presentations:

Wednesday, January 27, 7 p.m., at the San Diego Natural History Museum, Charmaine & Maurice Kaplan Theatre: “Nabucco, Israel and Babylon:The Impact of Exile on the Birth of Judaism and Christianity” Speakers:  Dr. Reveles and Dr. Risa Levitt-Kohn, Director of the Judaic Studies Program at San Diego State University

Dr. Reveles and guest Dr. Risa Levitt- Kohn will discuss the role that the Babylonian Exile had to play in the shaping of modern Judaism and Christianity. Dr. Kohn will trace the effects of the Exile on the generations of Jews that followed this transformative event.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010; 7:00pm, at Congregation Beth Israel, 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego:  “Lessons from Exile: Babylon Revisited:” Speakers:  Dr. Reveles and  Rabbi Michael Berk of Congregation Beth Israel

Dr. Reveles and Rabbi Michael Berk will look at the Exile from a historical and theological point of view. Emphasis will be placed on our understanding of Exile today: politically, culturally, personally and spiritually.

Monday, February 8, 2010, 7;30 p.m.,  Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive La Jolla: ” By the Rivers of Babylon: Judaism, Empire and Exile.” Speakers: Dr. Reveles and Dr. William Propp, Director of the Judaic Studies Program, University of California San Diego, and Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal of Tifereth Israel Synagogue.

Dr. Reveles and guests Dr. William Propp and Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal will discuss the events leading up to the Exile, the political atmosphere of the time and the various cultures involved, especially Babylonian and Assyrian as well as that of the ancient Israelites. Special mention will be made of the Kings of Judah who found themselves in direct conflict with Nebuchadnezzar II.

Wednesday, February 10, 7:00pm, at  San Diego Museum of Art: “Nabucco: The Jewish Story in Art and Opera,” Dr. Reveles and Dr. John Marciari, Curator of European Art and Head of Provenance Research at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Dr. Reveles and guest Dr. John Marciari will discuss the depiction of Jews and biblical scenes in Western art, with emphasis on Italian artists. The development of the images will be traced from Medieval and Renaissance times up to the early 19th century, contemporaneous to the premiere of Nabucco in 1842.

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Preceding provided by the San Diego Opera

Music writer Amos in Athenaeum series on classical composers

January 25, 2010 1 comment

 LA JOLLA, California (Press Release)–David Amos and Erica Miner, on-air personalities for classical radio station XLNC1, will present a series of lectures at the Athenaeum in April on “crossover composers.” These two experts will examine the different genres in which Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky worked.

Amos also is a music critic for San Diego Jewish World.

April 5 – Ludwig van Beethoven  Beethoven composed only one opera, but the music in Fidelio is arguably as sublime as any of his orchestral and chamber repertoire. David and Erica examine the Leonore Overture #3 and Florestan’s Act Two aria as well as symphonic and chamber works with similar “heroic” themes.
April 12 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  Mozart set the standard for all genres of music, but his operas tower majestically over his other works. Erica compares the Don Giovanni Overture with similar music in the Commendatore scene, while David contrasts piano and orchestral works of both dark and light character.

 
April 19 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  Tchaikovsky’s ballets and orchestral works may be more popular than his operas, but the dance music and poignant arias in Eugene Onegin are every bit as compelling as his symphonies, tone poems and chamber works. David and Erica provide examples both familiar and not so familiar.
Tickets are available by calling the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library at (858) 454-5872.

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Preceding provided by the Athenaeum

Viterbis give $1 million to San Diego Opera

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)– San Diego Opera has announced a $1 million gift from Erna and Andrew Viterbi. The first $500,000 of the gift  will be used to underwrite the “Community Conversations on Faith  and Freedom” lecture series in conjunction with Verdi’s opera Nabucco, the second opera in the San Diego Opera 2010 season. 

Portions of the gift will also be used to underwrite the production of the opera, making Erna and Andrew the Lead Sponsors for Nabucco. The second half of the gift is designated to the 2011  International Season where San Diego Opera will honor the Viterbi family as the Season Sponsor.

 “Our interest in opera generally, and in this production of Nabucco in particular, derives in part from our cultural  heritage,” comment Andrew and Erna Viterbi. “Having inherited  from our parents a love of opera, especially Verdi’s masterpieces, as well as respect for our history, we have found  San Diego Opera productions, so masterfully directed and  performed, resonate with our interests and passions.”

 “Community Conversations on Faith and Freedom” is a free, citywide lecture series that explores the various aspects of  Verdi’s opera Nabucco. Each lecture will offer insight into the music, history and biblical origin of Nabucco. Lectures will  be held at Lead Partner venues around the community.

The Lead  Partners for these lectures are the San Diego Natural History Museum, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Congregation Beth  Israel and the San Diego Museum of Art. A full schedule of the lecture series can be found below. 

 Verdi’s Nabucco is considered the opera that cemented his reputation as one of the world’s greatest composers. The story is drawn from ancient history and begins with the destruction of the  Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco), the King of Babylon. The opera follows the Israelites as they struggle for freedom as Babylonian slaves. Noted for a demanding soprano role (Abigaille) the opera also includes one of the most well- known choruses “Va, pensiero” which is so beloved by Italians that is was once considered for their national anthem.

 “Erna and Andrew Viterbi have made a spectacular and deeply appreciated gift at a most critical time for San Diego Opera. The economy has taken a big bite out of arts funding and a gift of  this significance allows the Company to continue to produce opera  with the best artists in the international arena today,” comments San Diego Opera’s Ian Campbell.  “The entire board of  directors, management and community are indebted to Erna and Andrew for their generosity and thoughtful philanthropy.”

 Italy holds a special place in the hearts of Erna and Andrew Viterbi. Andrew was four when his family fled Italy just days before World War II broke out. Andrew began his academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed by graduate school at University of Southern California (USC). From 1963 to 1973, he served as a professor at the UCLA School of Engineering  and Applied Science. Andrew is a co-founder of LINKABIT Corporation and a co-founder of Qualcomm, where his Viterbi  Algorithm and other inventions contributed to creating the cellular technology used today. Dr. Viterbi is the founder of The  Viterbi Group, LLC, an equity investment fund that advises and invests in early and emerging companies that are pioneering innovative technologies.

Erna Finci Viterbi was born in Sarajevo, a descendant of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain. In 1941, during World War II, the Finci family fled German-occupied Yugoslavia for the Italian-occupied zone from which they were deported and interned in the Parma region of Italy. In 1943, when the Nazis occupied Italy, they were saved from deportation to extermination camps by the bravery of the good people of Gramignazzo di Sissa, the village where they had been interned. Other Italians helped them escape to Switzerland, where they waited out the war. In 1950, they resettled in California, where Erna met Andrew Viterbi; the two were married in 1958, and today they have three children and five  grandchildren.

 Community Conversations on Faith and Freedom lectures reflect the themes and experiences of the Viterbi family’s flight to freedom.  All lectures are free and open to the public although reservations are required.

 Nabucco, Israel and Babylon: The Impact of Exile on the Birth of Judaism and Christianity.Presented by Dr. Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s Geisel Director of Education, and Dr. Risa Levitt-Kohn, Director of  Judaic Studies at San Diego State University.Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 7 PM. San Diego Natural History Museum – Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theatre. 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

 Lessons from the Exile: Babylon Revisted,Presented by Dr. Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s Geisel Director of Education, and Rabbi Michael Berk, Congregation Beth Israel. Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 7 PM. Congregation Beth Israel – 9001 Towne Center Dr., San Diego, CA 92122

By the Rivers of Babylon: Judaism, Empire and Exile, Presented by Dr. Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s Geisel Director of Education and Dr. William Propp, Director of Judaic Studies Program at University of California San Diego. Monday, February 8, 2010 at 7:30 PM. Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center – Garfield Theatre – 4126 Executive Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037

Nabucco: The Jewish Story in Art and Opera. Presented by Dr. Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s Geisel Director of Education and a curator from the San Diego Museum of  Art’s European Collection. Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 7 PM. San Diego Museum of Art – 1450 El Prado, San Diego,  CA 92101

 All events are free but an RSVP is required. Please visit http://www.sdopera.com/Operas/CommunityConversations/ for more information and to reserve your seat.

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Preceding provided by San Diego Opera