“The men and women ofOdisea are unmistakable refugees who become optimistic pioneers as the dance subtly builds.”-The New York Times
With Odisea, choreographer Carolyn Dorfman continues her explorations of the Jewish legacy. The work chronicles the physical, emotional and spiritual journey of twenty-three Jews leaving persecution in RecÃfe, Brazil in 1654 and their journey and ultimate landing on American soil in New Amsterdam (New York City). The work premiered on September 12, 2004, at the Jewish Heritage NY Celebration of the 350th Anniversary of the Jews landing in America (1654) at South Street Seaport in NYC.
Composed by Greg Wall, who also produced the final score, and Cecelia Margules the music blends elements of Jewish liturgy and musical legacy. In Greg Wall’s Kol Nidre Journey, the bells and driving percussion reflect the didactic religious norms in Brazil that forced the Jews to flee. Against this backdrop, Wall introduces the Kol Nidre prayer, from the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgy. It is chanted in the Sephardic style, reflective of the Mediterranean influence. The Kol Nidre prayer is enigmatic. It is a prayer that essentially says that “I am absolved of the vows that I will make in the coming year”. While the origin of the prayer arguably dates back to the 7th century, many believe that the Jews in both Spain and Portugal who converted to Catholicism, used the Kol Nidre prayer. Known as “Conversos”, it was a way for them to converse with God about their “outward actions and vows” and how they did not reflect their inner commitment to Judaism.
In Rhapsody 23, Margules’ lush score is transformed by Wall’s orchestration for Spanish guitar and accordion. The guitar reflects the Sephardic influence and the ubiquitous accordion, which like the Jews has wandered to all corners of the globe, is an instrument that is frequently found in Jewish music.
Odisea is abstract choreography- it doesn’t sweat the details-but its emotional important is wonderfully clear. –The Star Ledger
Choreography by Carolyn Dorfman
Music by Greg Wall* and Cecelia Margules**
Music Produced by Greg Wall
Costume Design by Katherine Winter
*Kol Nidre Journey written and arranged by Greg Wall
Text chanting- Shlomo Mizrachi
Recorded by Greg Wall at Kotel Sound, Livingston, NJ
**Rhapsody 23 written by Cecelia Margules
Arranged by Greg Wall
Classical guitar- Sean Harkness
Accordion- Yuri Lemeshev
Recorded by David Richards at Maze Bright, Tenefly, NJ