Music: European Jewish Choir Festival, in Rome May 29-June 1

'A united Europe through song' says Rome Jewish Community leader

22 May, 18:16

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, MAY 22 - Performers from Berlin, London, Paris and St. Petersburg are converging on the Italian capital for the second European Jewish Choir Festival, to be held from May 29 to June 1. ''Rome is the city of dialogue. We want to send a message that transcends borders and disagreements, proving that a united Europe can also be achieved through song and a call to brotherly love'', Rome Jewish Community (CER) leader Riccardo Pacifici told reporters at the festival press launch on Thursday. The message of unity is being sent ahead of European Parliament elections on May 25 and of Pope Francis' trip to the Holy Land, Pacifici added.

    A case in point is the participation of a 15-member outfit from the Ukrainian city of Lviv alongside a Russian choir.

    ''Getting the Ukrainians to come was quite a challenge, but we made it thanks to mobilization on social networks and the Union of Jewish Italian Communities (UCEI)'', commented Festival President Richard Di Castro, who also leads a Rome Jewish choir called Ha-Kol (The Voice).

    After a successful first edition held in Vienna last year, this year's festival will see six choirs from as many countries, plus an instrumental band and the Rome Diocese Choir as special guests.

    ''Jewish music takes many forms, because it is influenced by each country of origin'', Di Castro explained.

    ''Our program showcases various European traditions and genres. Each concert will be different from all the others.

    There will be synagogal hymns, klezmer music, and folk songs. It will be chance to know and be known''.

    Rome's chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni echoed him in a written message. ''There are many different kinds of Jewish music but they are all connected to each other by often invisible or subterranean threads. They embody the great paradox of the Jewish condition: a unity made up of different parts, all cohabiting under the same roof''. The festival is sponsored by Italy's Presidency of the Republic, the Lazio region, the city of Rome, the UCEI, and CER.


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