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dybbuk (def.) – a malevolent wandering spirit that enters and possesses the body of a living person until exorcized.

The Dybbuk is the most famous story in the Hebrew tradition. In this multi-media chamber opera adaptation, subtitled “Between Two Worlds,” composer Ofer Ben-Amots intertwines folk elements with contemporary textures to create a haunting self-contained world, while multiple live video projections combine to tell a powerful story of transcendent passion between two ill-fated lovers. For the Big Sky premiere, the project brings together renowned Israeli Composer Ofer Ben-Amots and the global Opera star Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet.


Opera is, above all, about telling the timeless stories that move and inspire with their compelling and complex plot lines, dramatic twists, and ultimately, their fidelity to exploring the core of human emotion, often through the tragic elements of loss and longing.

ACT 1 – The Love and the Death [CA. 26:00]

Lying on the floor as if in a deep slumber, Leah, the leading character in the opera, is hanging between life and death.  Hearing the voice of Hannan, her great love, she remembers the story of their unfulfilled love.  Their story began before their birth, when their fathers, great friends, pledged that if they were ever to have a son and a daughter, they would arrange for them to be married.  But when Hannan’s father died young, and Leah’s father became very wealthy, the pledge was forgotten.  Leah’s father refused to even consider the marriage of his daughter to the poor Yeshiva student, Hannan, who in an ill-fated attempt at magic and Kaballah, tried to run things around.  This, however, exhausted him and led to his untimely death.

Act II – The Dybbuk [CA. 21:00]

Leah’s father finds his daughter a new match, a bridegroom with wealth and respect who Leah neither knows nor respects.  Meanwhile, we learn that the souls of the dead do return to earth, but not as disembodied ghosts.  Sometimes, a lost and forgotten soul, known in the Jewish tradition as a dybbuk, enters a living body, and it sits there until it finds salvation.  As Leah is about to be married to the new bridegroom against her will, we hear the voice of the Dybbuk, screaming from within her.  She is now possessed.

Act III – Between Two Worlds [CA. 42:00]

The Rabbi is summoned to the possessed woman.  He asks the Dybbuk who he is, and pleads with him to leave.  The Dybbuk refuses, but eventually an exorcism forces him out, and the Rabbi once again commands Leahs’ wedding to the new bridegroom.  Leah, however, remains on the floor as if in a deep slumber, as we saw her at the beginning of the story.  She knows that the Dybbuk is Hannan, and she can either come back to life and marriage with a stranger, or leave her earthly life to be with Hannan, her true love, in a place of eternal peace.  The final duet demonstrates the profound bond between the lovers and their decision to stay forever together.


Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Soprano
During her varied career, dramatic soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet has established herself as a leading force in the German and contemporary repertoires.  Having begun with Italian and ‘pinto’ Russian roles, she has naturally progressed into the more dramatic German soprano, as well as ‘Zwischengach’ – repertoire.  her intense stage presence has been widely praised; the Times proclaimed her a ‘spine-chillingly powerful’ performer.

Composer Ofer Ben-Amots’ compositions are performed regularly in concert halls and festivals Worldwide. His music has been performed by such orchestras as the Munich Philharmonic, ÖRF – Austrian Radio Orchestra, Bruckner Orchestra, Zürich Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Moscow Camerata, Heidelberg, Erfurt, Brandenburg, the Filarmonici di Sicili, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Milan Chamber Orchestra, Portland Chamber Orchestra, and the Colorado Springs Symphony among others. His compositions have been professionally recorded by the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Barcelona Symphony, the BBC Singers, and the renowned Czech choir Permonik. Ben-Amots has received commissions and grants from the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Maurice Amado Foundation, Schleswig-Holstein Music festival, Fuji International Music Festival in Japan, Delta Ensemble from Amsterdam, Assisi Musiche Festival, and many others.


Thomas Lindblade, Director
Kliment Krylovskyi, Clarinet
Guenko Guechev, Bass-Baritone
Karen Bentley Pollick, Violin
Sally Guenther, Cello
Debra Ayers, Piano


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