— Bibliographic Items

Leonard Bernstein in Israel

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The day after the premier of West Side Story, in 1957, Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre headed to Israel. This film follows them during their trip and consists of archival footage that is accompanied by narration taken from the diaries of both Bernstein and Montealegre. Additionally, it features scenes of rehearsals at the not yet completed Mann Auditorium (Hechal Hatarbut) where he and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse Bloch's "Shlomo," and perform at the premier of the Mann Auditorium as the first real concert hall in Israel. Other scenes of music in the film include Bernstein singing a Yiddish song to children at Ben Shemen Children's Village, participating in a campfire sing-along with Havurat Ha-esh, a former Palmach unit who would impersonate and spy on Arabs and sing around the campfire at night, and instructing young violinists at a Ma'abara (a transit camp used at the beginning of the state to house new Jewish immigrants, often from North African and Middle Eastern countries).