West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest packed their Social Hall on December 3rd for a bravura performance by the New Budapest Orpheum Society. Joining beloved local baritone Stewart Figa on stage were mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley and musicians Dan Davis, Iordanka Kissiova, Ilya Levinson, Mark Sonksen, and Don Stille.
WSTHZ’s Kosher Cabaret included comedy (“Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars”), romance (“My love for you will forever be deep as the night”), and tragedy (“My Warsaw, you were a beautiful Jewish city”), but reached its peak in savage irony (“I’m an Irrepressible Optimist”).
The songs were selected by the New Budapest Orpheum Society’s artistic director Philip Bohlman who told me that he found some of the original lyrics “preserved in the Viennese Censor’s office!” Asked why they fascinated him, Bohlman said he wanted to “weave these songs into a history of the Jewish experience in the twentieth century.” “Moreover,” he said the New Budapest Orpheum Society was “committed to the music because of its beauty, wit, and poignancy.”
Kosher Cabaret Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner (11/3/11)
To order New Budapest Orpheum Society CD sets, visit www.CedilleRecords.org