Aiding Aida

Young new immigrants from Arad absorption center star in international operatic production from Masada

The Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi would never have imagined that a production of his opera at the foot of Masada would feature twenty young, new immigrants from the Jewish Agency’s absorption center in Arad.

Some three months ago, the producer and casting director of the opera Aida visited the Orly Absorption Center in Arad and proposed that the new immigrants be incorporated in the upcoming performance. The center’s education and cultural activities coordinator eagerly joined other personnel in recruiting twenty females between the ages of 10 and 16 to participate in the production. Once the participants’ schools and parents gave their approval, a choreographer arrived from France and the rehearsals began, first at the absorption center and later at a space in the city of Arad. The production staff invited the girls to visit the Israeli Opera at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, in order to give them a sense of the performance’s significance and magnitude. The girls also came to Tel Aviv for costume fittings, after which they proceeded to Masada to begin on-site rehearsals. They have been accompanied by a Jewish Agency mentor throughout.

Last week, the participants’ parents made the trip from Arad to Masada in a bus chartered by the production company, in order to see their daughters perform. The young, new immigrants – who have been assigned their own private quarters, makeup artist, and dressing room – will be compensated for their participation in the performances, and will receive a DVD of the opera as a souvenir.

The production opened on June 2nd to great acclaim.

courtesy Jewish Agency for Israel