Photo by: Avinoam Michaeli   

We were off! Since January we had been planning and looking forward to our trip to see the performance of Aida at Masada on June 9.  Now we were finally in the parking lot of Rishon LeZion train station, aboard our minibus, about to take off. Janet Kiesari had kindly offered to organize the trip for the Rishon area would-be participants, and organize she did.  With only a slight hitch in the form of a few people delayed by Thursday afternoon Israeli traffic jams, we departed almost on time.

The bus was cozy (some had trouble with leg room) and it was a lovely opportunity to meet new and old friends. On the way there was much excitement; we played a fun game and then all of us experienced hearts in throats when the bus was stopped at the roadside by our intrepid and friendly driver, Amit, due to possible mechanical trouble. A huge communal sigh of relief was heaved when the journey was resumed with no further trouble.

We arrived at the Masada site right on time, where we were all gratified and mildly surprised to find that all was well organized: traffic direction, a lovely picnic area and a well-mannered crowd.  No shouting, no pushing, no raised voices. We were able to eat our picnic dinners in pleasant surroundings and spend some quality time with our new friends.

And on to the show… 

The music was performed impeccably by the Israel Symphony Orchestra of Rishon LeZion under the direction of conductor Daniel Oren with impressive choral support provided by the Israeli Opera Chorus and singers of the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir. The lead role of Aida was interpreted convincingly by Kristin Lewis, ably supported by the other leading characters.  A troupe of young dancers from Rahat and Arad gave a lively performance in the triumphal scene.  Subtitles in English and Hebrew were provided on four large screens visible from all parts of the arena. The English translation was perfect and the updating was always well synchronized with the libretto.  Clever use of lighting technology enabled convincing effects using minimal scenery sets. This was an impressive achievement on a stage of such large dimensions.

It was fabulous and wonderful - a very special event not to be missed.  The music, opera singers, actors, dancers, costumes, lighting - all beautiful.  Three hours of pure pleasure and enjoyment with the extra bonus of the enchanting backdrop of Masada.  My few words cannot accurately describe how terrific the whole experience was, so I will leave it at this. 

We extend many thanks to all the organizers.


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Linda Gerstl

Linda Gerstl grew up in New York City & came to Israel at age 18 (1968) - to study at Bar Ilan University. She has a BSc in Microbiology & Biochemistry (1972). She also studied nutrition at t...

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