At the height of winter, when December snowstorms are raging outside, the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Theatre will show the warmest première of the season - the vocal and choreographic performance of Hanukkah, dedicated to the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Hanukkah performance is staged in the modern traditions using the modern language of choreography. Jewish folk music and songs will be performed by the orchestra and soloists of the theatre. The première will be held on December 10 at 3p.m. and on December 18 at 7.40 p.m. Seven-forty! Doesn’t it remind you of anything?
Hanukkah is the day when miracles are prompted and hearts are warmed. It’s the longest Jewish festival that lasts 8 days beginning on December 13. All these days, special candlesticks - menorahs of all shapes and sizes brightly shine, proclaiming a miracle and instilling hope and faith into millions of people all over the world.
The vocal and choreographic performance of our theatre will also be filled with light, music and dancing. The traditional Jewish dance is an important part of the cultural heritage of the Jews and is endowed with magical power. In the past, it was an integral part of religious rites and rituals. Jews have danced from time immemorial to express their joy and even bereavement.
Famous dances and songs will be performed, as well as not widely known ones. Certainly, the beloved Israeli dance of Hava Nagila (“Let us rejoice” in Hebrew) will be among them.
The author of the performance choreography is the artistic director of the theatre, Honoured Artist of Russia Sergei Bobrov. Music director and conductor is the theatre’s principle conductor, Honoured Artist of Russia Anatoliy Chepurnoy.
Hanukkah came from the ancient times of the Greco-Syrian dominion in Judea in 164 BCE. Under King Antiochus, the Jews faced a choice: to serve the Greek gods or to preserve themselves as a nation, to defend their religion. High Priest Mattathias ben Johanan and his five sons sparked off an uprising and defeated the army of Antiochus. The Jerusalem Temple was purified, but only one vessel with an undefiled oil for lighting a menorah was found there. There was only enough sacred oil for one day's lighting. It’d take eight days to have new oil pressed and made ready. And the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days - enough to make ready more olive oil. To commemorate this miraculous event, candles are lit every evening: one candle on the first day of the holiday, two candles on the second day, and so on.
Adults give kids so called Hanukkah gelt - a kind of chocolate coins, as well as real coins to develop the habit in kids to share money with those who are in adverse conditions. They eat foods fried in oil, such as latkes and sufganiyot (a kind of donuts and pancakes), and dairy foods. Hanukkah is celebrated by all the Jews in the world, regardless of where they live. In the evenings, the lights lit on every window-sill, in every corner, remind that however dark and scary it’s around, there is always that coveted clean vessel with sacred oil there. And the miracle will happen and bring warmth and kindness to the world.
Seven-forty is a traditional klezmer dance tune, which in the Soviet Union has become the most recognizable Jewish melody.