Israel’s Annual Festival of Music and Drama Opens with Gala Concert

A gala concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the French conductor Georges Pretre opened Israel’s sixth annual Festival of Music and Drama here tonight.

Highlighting this year’s festival will be performances by the Greek Art Theater of Athens, the Paul Taylor Dance Company of New York and an evening of Hassidic dances performed by the Habad Hassidim.

Tonight’s opening ceremony included the distribution of scholarships to young Israeli artists. The scholarships are provided by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation in memory of the late chairman of the Jewish Agency and former Premier and Foreign Minister of Israel, Moshe Sharett. The presentations were made by Mr. Sharett’s widow.

Among the internationally noted artists participating in this year’s festival are pianist Hefzibah Menuhin and cellist Maurice Gendron. One special feature of the festival will be an evening devoted to minority folk dancing groups including appearances by Arab and Druze troops. Some of this year’s performances will be held at the excavated Roman amphitheater in Caesarea.

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