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BitterSweet Cabaret: presented by Jewish Music Theater (JMT)


about the show:

Israeli composer Matti Kovler is joined by Reut Rivka (Israel/Holland) and Anthony Russell (USA) for an intimate evening of original music. 

Innocent and Witty, Joyful and Dark, 
Songs that illuminate
The changing stories of
Today's (ever) Wandering Jews. 

The evening includes selections from Kovler's 'Children's Songs' album, arrangements of Yiddish songs from Sidor Belarsky's repertoire and a Surprise! Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian and English with translation. With Ehud Ettun, double bass. 

about the artists:

Matti Kovler, composer / piano

Matti Kovler's compositions have been performed by the Israel Philharmonic, the Fox Studios Symphony, at Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood. Kovler has mastered a range of styles from folk and jazz to those steeped in the classical tradition, and brings these together in works of considerable dramatic scope, by turns comic, mystical, warm, and searing. His music embodies a sense of the theatrical, and has been noted for its "emotive potency" (New York Times) and "bold colors of orchestration" (Boston Globe). Influences include Jewish folklore, improvisation, a deep fascination with Janáček and Bartók poly-modality and the cult writings of the French theatre philosopher Antonin Artaud. Born in Moscow and educated in Israel and the US, Matti is now finishing his doctorate at the New England Conservatory. Recognitions include fellowships at the Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festivals, the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships, the Theodore Presser Award, a special distinction from Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. In 2009 Matti founded an ensemble aiming to explore new paths in the crossover between the Jewish experience and musical theaterfrom incantation inspired operas to art-songs. The ensemble is a modular entity engaging an international cast of outstanding performing artists. Since 2009, the Matti Kovler Ensemble has produced six original projects in the US as well as internationally. 

© Robert Kirzinger & 

Reut Rivka, soprano

Reut Rivka has been hailed by Volkskrant, the Dutch national newspaper, as "the star of the evening Reut Rivka owned the show and sang like a nightingale, (though even that word hardly describes her).... Remember that name!" Rivka is an Israeli born opera singer and versatile performance artist whose repertoire spans from Early Baroque to Contemporary. The young Israeli soprano has appeared at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, The Samuel Beckett Theater, Dublin, The Jerusalem Music Center, Heichal Hatarbut Tel Aviv (with the Israeli Philharmonic), and many more venues, and has sung under the baton of Zubin Mehta, Mendi Rodan, Stanley Sperber, Peter van Heyghen and others. She performed alongside world-famous countertenor, Michael Chance, violinist Elizabeth Wallfish, Steven Devine (London Baroque), and Fabio Bonizzoni (La Risonanza). Rivka's versatility is also evident in her mastery of Balkan, Greek, and Gypsy music; she has toured extensively as the vocal soloist with Emil Eibinder's world-renowned Balkan Music Orchestra. Reut Rivka is noted both for her vast stage experience in the opera and concert hall, and for her improvisation, jazz and theater talents: "...after her very first number I was a bit short of breath from the painful beauty she evoked..." (Six strings of Society. USC press); "...on stage you see a thin and beautiful girl with unbelievably amazing scales and the voice of an angel..." (Jazzforum). Rivka has released two albums with the KrisXa Jazz and Improvisation Project (Krakow, Poland) and has performed with jazz saxophonist Arnie Lawrence and with Max Roach. 

Anthony Russell, bass

Anthony (Mordechai-Tzvi) Russell made his professional debut in the world premiere of Philip Glass's opera "Appomattox" (San Francisco Opera). More recently, he has discovered Yiddish art song as an ideal canvas for the expression of his own multi-faceted identity, specifically the Yiddish repertoire of Sidor Belarsky (1898-1975), one of the 20th century's most celebrated and prolific performers of cantorial music, Chassidic nigunim and Yiddish art song. Striving in his interpretations to "embody the aspirations, desires and struggles of one diaspora culture enriched with the colors and experiences of another," his earnest and heartfelt interpretations reveal the narrative, melodic, and cultural riches of this repertoire, now given refreshing new life by an emerging talent. Anthony lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his partner of five years, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum.

Ehud Ettun, Double Bass

Growing up in Jerusalem, Ehud Ettun played piano and the electric guitar from a young age. His early interest in ear training and some self directed ear training work helped him to be accepted to the Israeli Arts & Sciences Academy at the age of fifteen. At IASA he studied composition and improvisation with Andre Hajdu, Batsheva Rubinstein and Israel Sharon. Around that time, Ehud began to study the upright Bass with Michael Klinghoffer - Dr. Klinghoffer's unique approach made Ehud fall in love with the classical Bass repertoire. 

Evidently, as a teenager, Ehud played all kinds of music - from Classical Bass suites and concerti to Jazz and world music with different groups working in Jerusalem. Following his studies at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the mandatory military service, Ehud relocated to the US to attend the New England Conservatory in Boston. There he studied with Donny McCaslin, Dave Holland, and Jason Moran. At his time in Boston Ehud collaborated with George Garzone, Marco Pignataro, Laszlo Gardony, Nando Michelin, Kevin Harris and others. Today Ehud is based in New York City, playing, composing and collaborating with inspiring artists.