Flying Lessons

(Hebrew title LAUF MIKAN)

New Chamber Opera/Theatre-in-Music:
Co-production of the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, The Israeli New Opera and The Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva

Based on a novel by Nava Semel
Music by Ella Milch Sheriff
Libretto by Nava Semel
Directed by Yael Ronen
Conducted by Doron Salomon

Painting by Avner Katz

Flying Lessons, Nava Semel's acclaimed book is being adapted to the stage and will soon become a new Opera/Theatre-in- Music piece, composed by Ella Milch- Sheriff. The team who also created the successful opera And the Rat Laughed, will bring to the stage an original new piece, very Israeli in its landscapes, sounds and spirit.

The book Flying Lessons came out in 1988 and was translated to many languages to rave reviews. "Semel weaves dreamlike images and innocent profundity into a coming-of-age tale of great power"... wrote the Publisher Weekly in the USA.
"A novel that connects the suffering, longing and will-to-power of childhood with magic".... wrote the Washington Post.

The plot takes us back to the first years of the State of Israel.
Monsieur Maurice Havivel (Meaning in Hebrew "Beloved by God") immigrated to Israel from the island of Djerba - off the shores of Tunisia. Deep in his heart he keeps the secret legend of the flying Jews, who came two thousand years ago to that remote spot, carrying on their wings a door from the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. In a small village full of citrus groves, Monsieur Maurice agrees to reveal the long guarded secret and teach young Hadara how to fly. Hadara is enchanted by this stranger who makes a living as a shoe-maker in a place where everything is "one and only". Losing her mother at an early age and living in a provincial community where she is constantly being watched, had made Hadara lonely and vulnerable. The friendship Monsieur Maurice offers her is a key to a magical world where she at last feels that she belongs. From the top of the trees, under the evasive blue of the sky, Hadara will spread her arms and fly.

Flying Lessons is the story of people who lost their home and make a brave attempt to rebuild a new one. This Opera is about immigrants, survivors and dreamers who desperately hold on to their inner treasures and try to find hope even under tragic circumstances. Despite cruel memories of the past and bitter reality, they live a new fantasy in the land of their dreams.

Ella Milch-Sheiff's unique music made her one of Israel's leading composers. Her artistic collaboration and strong bond with Nava Semel produced the successful opera And the Rat Laughed which became a huge success and has been running on the stage of the Cameri Theatre for the last four years. Both author and musician are dedicated in bringing audiences closer to the painful legacy of the Holocaust. The new opera will open to the public the unknown chapter of the suffering of North African Jews under Nazi occupation. It will also reflect the new immigrant's courageous quest and their extra ordinary power of survival.
Ella combines contemporary Israeli motifs with traditional Tunisian elements, especially those written by the Jews of Djerba. The opera promises to be an exciting new "musical carpet" where East and West live together.

Flying Lessons is directed by Yael Ronen, one of Israel's most exciting and brilliant young directors, is an innovative project that can reach many hearts, both young and old.
The opera will be conducted by Maestro Doron Salomon the music director and principal conductor of The Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva.

Everybody first learns to fly in their sleep. I'm sure it was in a dream that I took off from the ground for the first time. The trouble with most people is that they wake up in the morning and forget all about the night.

© All rights reserved to NAVA SEMEL 2017