A poor Talmudic student, Channon, and a young girl named Leah are passionately in love. Unfortunately, Leah’s father, Sender, has plans for her to wed a wealthy man. In order to gain enough riches to win Leah, Channon studies the Kabala and masters the power to call upon the Evil One, but the knowledge kills him. With Channon dead, Leah prepares for her wedding day, knowing that she doesn’t love her father’s arranged bridegroom. She visits the grave of her mother but falls into complete despair at the site of Channon’s grave. As the chosen bridegroom places the veil over her face, the spirit of Channon takes possession of her body to find fulfillment through her. This is the Dybbuk. Distraught, her father takes her to Azrael, a “wonder-working” rabbi, who summons the spirit of Channon's father. Azrael learns that Sender had promised Channon’s father, when they were both young, that their children would be married when they reached maturity. Sender has broken the pledge, and he accepts his punishment. An exorcism releases the Dybbuk from Leah’s body and Azrael orders Sender to prepare the marriage. But Leah, calling upon Channon, dies and is united with her lover.
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"Bartókian": authentic Russian-Jewish liturgical, Hassidic, and folk music traditions are used extensively, both melodically and motivically. The harmonic language is dictated by these traditional sources, which provide clear tonal centers. Number O
Vocal & Musical Forces
Singers: 6 principal roles, 13 secondary roles (some supporting roles may be doubled); groups of non-singing people, including 15-20 dancers; no chorus. Standard orchestra with piano, 7 shofars, off-stage klezmer band
Camilla Griehsel, soprano (Leah); Berakha Kol, mezzo-soprano (Fradeh); Yossi Aridan, tenor (Khonnon); David Zavah, baritone (Rabbi); Avi Yassinovsky, tenor (Hennokh); Murray Gross, baritone (Sender)