The Israeli sopranos

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November 20 at his studio in south Tel Aviv, 29-year-old Israeli musician and stylist Hagai Yodan will inaugurate The Sopranos, his new chamber concert series. Renowned soprano Sharon Rostorf-Zamir will participate in the opening concert, while Inas Masalha, Hila Plitman, Daniela Lugassi, Claire Meghnagi, Dana Marbach and Keren Hadar will appear in other concerts, which span from November to July.

For the opening concert, Rostorf-Zamir will sing lieder by Schumann, Schubert and Fauré, while Yodan plays Brahms and premieres his new piano piece.

Program-wise, the series is based on the classics of chamber vocal repertoire, such as masterpieces by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Fauret, Verdi and others, but also features premieres of pieces by Israeli composers Sharon Farber, Ella Milch Sherif, Yosef Bardanashvilim, Gilad Hochman, Oded Zahavi, Moshe Zorman and Hagai Yodan. And that’s not all.

“Routine” is the last word that one could apply in describing Yodan’s artistic activity, and his fresh and independent approach can be felt in his new project.

Until recently, Yodan was known as a pianist, a sensitive accompanist to singers.

“And then something changed,” he says. “Five years ago I had a clear vision of what I wanted to be: I planned to pursue a career as a conductor and to invest all my time and effort in it. But I realized that there are many other things that interest as much as conducting – such as composing and arranging music, composing and singing songs, not especially classical ones – which I simply don’t want to give up. And then, slowly but surely, styling started entering my life. And that brought me to other things, the current project among them.”

It comes out that Yodan never studied at a music academy.

“I studied privately, with pianist Revital Hahamov being my last formal teacher. I know that studying at a music academy is great, but at the age of 17 I realized that I didn’t want anybody to sit by my side telling what to do.

Musicology is captivating, and knowing Beethoven’s biography is useful, but I don’t think it helps when it comes to performance.

Jumping into the cold water is the best. I learned many things on my own, and I was fortunate to work closely with such wonderful musicians as Sharon Rostorf Zamir and Dan Ettinger, and I learned from them a lot,” he says.

What is the idea behind his choice of singers? “Oh, that’s simple. They are all my dearest friends. I worked with almost all of them, so I just texted them or contacted them via Facebook chat, and that was it. It is supposed to be fun for us all. No need to add that they are excellent singers,” he says.

Yodan explains that the soprano voice is his favorite.

“Among all voices, I find soprano to be the most rich and variegated.

The colors are different – there are as many colors as there are singers, and that is what captivates me. I hope the audience will find it interesting, too,” he says.

And what about the choice of repertoire? “The series is supposed to be a fun for the singers as well, not only for me, so I left it up to them, suggesting that they sing what they enjoy most. I asked them to add some pieces but never dictated anything. But since the singers are so different one from another, the program has come out is very representative and rich,” he says.

For Yodan the stylist, the visual aspect is almost as meaningful as the musical one.

“I didn’t want it to be just another classical series from beginning to the end. My studio, or loft, is located in a very raw place, I should say. This is an industrial South Tel Aviv, which is far from aesthetic, to say the least.

So I asked the soloists to wear little black gowns of the 1950s and ‘60s, Maria Callas style. Also there is jewelry, pearls, from a shop that brings in authentic vintage pieces of jewelry from Paris. In this way, I create an oxymoron and I think it will work,” he says.

 

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