12 October 2011 European premiere of the Grossman opera at the Conrad Festival

The European premiere of Yoni Rechter's opera Itamar Meets a Rabbit based on David Grossman's libretto will open the 3rd Conrad Festival in Krakow. "The most outstanding performance for children," as hailed by Time Out magazine, or a touching metaphor for Israeli-Palestinian relations? We will see on the 2nd of November at 8.00 pm in the Krakow Opera House. This will be a truly extraordinary event: the performance will be narrated by David Grossman himself, and the composer Yoni Rechter will attend the event as Guest of Honour. They will be accompanied by Israeli soloists, Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Polish Radio Choir under Ilan Mochiach. Tickets priced PLN 15-40 are available from eventim.pl. The concert will be aired on Channel 2 of Polish Radio.

Itamar Meets a Rabbit is a contemporary opera based on Grossman's short story of the same title. The opera premiered in 2009 at the Auditorium Mann in Tel Aviv and was immediately hailed by the media as the greatest musical piece written for children. This funny story for kids, however, is also a profound reflection on difficult neighbour relations and differences. The titular character finds out that he and rabbit do not differ essentially at all, despite their coming from different worlds. Adults too can find here a clear reference to the strained social relations prevailing in Israel.

Yoni Rechter - one of the most acclaimed creators of pop music in Israel, associated with major Israeli bands and progressive rock - wrote the score for the first pages of the book in just an hour. The character of music stems from the unique rhythm of Grossman's story: the rhythmic ping-pong between Itamar and Rabbit, at times full of absurd elements and surprising retorts. Itamar, who loves all animals but, exceptionally, is afraid of rabbits, does not realise that the cute creature he bumps into in the forest is a rabbit. By the same token, the rabbit - fond of all people but children - does not know that Itamar is a child. The protagonists learn to overcome apparent differences and become friends. David Grossman, involved in the work on the opera, has written text for additional songs that do not appear originally in the story.

NOTE: The opera will be performed in Hebrew, with subtitles in Polish and English.

David Grossman is one of Israel's leading novelists, a journalist and an author of popular books for children. He studied philosophy and theatre studies at the Hebrew University and then worked for an Israeli radio station, creating radio programmes for children. Like most Israelis, he had supported Israel during the Israeli-Lebanese crisis of 2006. However, at a conference on the 10th of August 2006, Grossman, along with his fellow writers, including Amos Oz, urged the Israeli government to suspend military operations. Two days later, his 20 year-old son Uri Grossman was killed by an anti-tank missile during a military operation in southern Lebanon.

Yoni Rechter is an Israeli musician, composer, pianist, arranger, singer and music producer. A native of Tel Aviv, Rechter began his musical education at the age of 8. In 1970, he began his military service - he presented some of his first pieces as a keyboardist in the Israeli Artillery Corps. Along with Avner Kenner, he founded an avant-garde duo called Fourteen Octaves. He has written songs for leading Israeli singers. In 2002, he released a solo album entitled Another Story.

Adi Cesare
began his musical career as the lead singer in the band "Tel Aviv's Youth" and the Air Force Band before heading in a classical direction. Adi majored in opera at the Music Academy at Tel Aviv University, graduating with honors, and studied to become an Artist at the Academy of Music in Jerusalem. He graduated acting schools at Hillel Ne'eman and Ruth Dytches.

Eli Gornstein - Singer-actor. Has a master`s degree in Education, studied theatre in NY, and opera singing in the Israeli Opera workshops. He plays the cello from the age of 12. Won the first prize in the Theatronetto Festival 2008 with his one man show "getting crazy" (ITRUF) by David Grossman.

Ilan Mochiach  - Born in Tel-Aviv. Graduate of Mannes College of Music and New York University. Co-founder of the Rimon School of Music, and teacher of harmony, composition and orchestration at the Rubin Academy of Tal-Aviv and Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Composer, arranger and orchestrator of music for films, television and stage productions. Musical director with artists like: Didi Bridgewater, Esther Ofarim, Achinoam Nini (Noa), Yehudith Ravitz, Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch, Yossi Banai, Mati Caspi and many others. Saxophone player and leader of his own jazz and ethnic ensembles. Guest conductor at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Queens Symphony Orchestra, New York, Fundazione Arturo Toscanini, Parma, Jazz-Symphony, Sao Paulo and Maggio Musicale, Firenze.

Sinfonietta Cracovia is considered one of the leading Polish and European chamber ensembles. The exceptional atmosphere of their concerts, the audience’s enthusiastic reception, excellent reviews and, most importantly, the quality of their music presentations on stage show the ensemble’s continuous development. The success of Sinfonietta is also connected with a modern method of management that helps to gain new fans of classical music.
Robert Kabara accepted the musicians’ invitation and now provides his artistic supervision over the ensemble. Within just a few months the Krakow “group of chamber musicians” (Kameraliści Krakowscy) was transformed into a distinguished, skilful and artistically mature team. Sinfonietta Cracovia, whose name first appeared at the beginning of 1994, became an institution of civic culture under the auspices of the President of the City of Krakow and was given the status of Orchestra of the Capital City of Krakow (Orkiestra Stołecznego Królewskiego Miasta Krakowa). John Axelrod has been its first guest conductor since January 2001. Traditionally during concerts, the ensemble cooperates with eminent persons from the world of music. These include: Krzysztof Penderecki, Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Rudolf Buchbinder, Mischa Maisky, Pieter Wispelwey, Ilya Gringolts, Antoni Wit, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Barry Douglas, Kaja Danczowska, Irene Grafenauer, Tabea Zimmermann and many others. International recognition of the ensemble followed from concerts performed in some of the most prestigious halls of Europe. Its artistic successes have resulted in collaborations with personages of culture and arts from Vienna, Salzburg, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, New York and Chicago. Sinfonietta’s Committee of Honour is formed by people who arrange cultural events all around the world.

Polish Radio Choir was established in 1948 by Jerzy Gert. Since the beginning of its existence up until 1994, the Choir constituted an integral part of the group Polish Radio and Television Orchestra and Choir. As of January 1995 it functions independently in the structures of the Polish Radio S.A. and the Director and Artistic Coordinator is Włodzimierz Siedlik.
The repertoire of the group encompasses both a cappella music, as well as vocal and instrumental forms, works representing all styles and époques, particularly including Polish music. Aside from concert activity, the Choir has made several archival recordings for the Polish Radio and Television, as well as album recordings for Polish and foreign phonographic companies.
The group has participated many times in pre-performances of compositions of contemporary Polish composers (among others, Witold Lutosławski directed by the composer, as well as the works of Krzysztof Penderecki), as well as several festivals in the country and abroad (among others Wratislavia Cantans, Ludwig van Beethoven Festival, Warsaw Autumn, Poznan Music Spring, Chopin Festiwal in Duszniki, Music in Old Krakow, Rossini Opera Festival, Settimana di Monreale, Le Festival de la Musique Contemporaine Centre Pompidou, Oratorio und Cantata Festival Ratzeburg).
At the turn of 2000 and 2001, together with Israel Kibbutz Orchestra, the Choir took part in a concert tour performing Stabat Mater by K. Szymanowski, c-moll Mass by W. A. Mozart, Stabat Mater by F. Schubert under the direction of Avi Ostrowski. Furthermore, in November 2001, the Choir participated in the Festival Europalia 2001 in Brussels, where together with NOSPR it performed K. Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater conducted by Antoni Wit. In February 2002, the group toured Switzerland, where conducted by Wojciech Rajski and the Polish Radio Orchestra, it performed S. Prokofiew’s Aleksander Newski Cantata. In July 2008 the group were once again received in Israel – this time at the invitation of the Symphonic Orchestra Rishon LeZion, where during the concerts it performed L. von Beethoven’s IX symphony, Gloria F. Poulenca and pieces for an a cappella choir (among others, M. Zieleński, H.M. Górecki, K. Penderecki, P. Sydor, A. Koszewski, R. Twardowski).
The Choir has been closely cooperating with two outstanding Polish composers for many years: Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. Each year it performs a number of concerts all around Poland with Krzysztof Penderecki’s a cappella programme. These concerts are conducted by the master himself. The result of cooperation with H.M. Górecki are several archival recordings realised for the Polish Radio (in this pre-performances), which crowning is the release of a two-CD album in 2008.
In 2002, it was a guest on the stage of the Theatre Massimo in Palermo, in 2003 – at the invitation of the theatre in Stuttgart, and in 2004 on the stage of Hamburgische Staatsoper.

As with all other events organised by the Krakow Festival Office, children aged 10 are eligible for free entrance tickets. To obtain one, please write to rezerwacje@biurofestiwalowe.pl.