While London and New York gave birth to broadway musicals, the Jerusalem and Cameri theatres are up-and-coming. While Italian opera and symphony scene is ‘magnifico’, the Israel Philharmonic is absolutely breathtaking. And nothing compares to the batsheva dance company. All this to say, that although Israel has been associated with ancient history for many years, the Israeli culture scene is a contemporary breath of fresh air, growing by the second. These top ten performing arts centres are perfect compliments to the impressive galleries and museums scattered across the country. Find the hottest upcoming events here. We urge you to try and check all ten off your bucket list.
Top ten ticket-worthy venues to enjoy Israeli culture
The Culture Palace (or Charles Bronfman Auditorium) is the grandest concert hall in Tel Aviv, with an even grander orchestra: the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman, the IPO captivates audiences with its subscription series, performing special concerts, family series, piano concertos, a gala event and much more. Over the past eighty years, the well-rounded orchestra has hosted an impressive panel of conductors and soloists, while striving to develop young Israeli talent simultaneously. Revel in the IPO’s blissful baroque and romantic repertoire, as well as all the Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Bartok your classically trained hearts can handle. Your ears will thank you later.
The International Convention Center (Binyanei Hauma) in Jerusalem is the largest convention center in Israel. If it's lounges and halls could speak they’d tell stories of the world leaders, presidents, artists, business conferences and performances that have been hosted there. The centre is located within a one-mile radius of some of Jerusalem’s most important sites, including the Israel Museum, Knesset and Supreme Court. Its events feature live translations, ensuring guests from around the world enjoy their experience. The ICC also hosts gallery exhibits from abroad and Israel, which visitors are invited to enjoy.
Located near the train station and Seven Stars mall is Herzliya’s number one performing arts center. The goal of the center is to create a multi-cultural experience for its clients of all ages, from children and youth to adults. It’s among the most prominent in Israel and worth a detour from Herzliya’s luxury beaches and hotels.
The Henry Crown Symphony Hall, a 760 person-capacity concert hall inside the Jerusalem Theatre, houses a variety of opera and classical concerts; most important are those performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. A medley of Mendelssohn will have you singing his “Songs of Praise,” fate will be knocking on your door with Chen Zimbalista’s family-friendly rendition of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, and you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with Prokofiev’s musical retelling of the classic romance, “Romeo and Juliet,” also conducted by Zimbalista. Israel’s largest centre for art and culture hosts an endless list of performances, festivals, and with its six elegant halls. A must on any culture addict’s itinerary.
The Suzanne Dellal Center, located at the heart of the picturesque Neve Tzedek neighborhood, has been the spot for Israeli and international dance performances (as well as the home of one of Israel’s most famous troupes, the Batsheva Dance Company) since 1989. A performance at the center and dinner in the restaurants nearby make a great night out.
Founded in 1945, the Israeli Opera has been consistently delivering stellar shows for over seventy years.Since its establishment, in addition to performing well known operas, the opera has commissioned and performed several operas by Israeli creators such as ‘Josef’ by Josef Tal and Israel Eliraz, ‘Alpha & Omega’ by Gil Shohat to a libretto by Dori Manor and Ana Herman, and ‘A Journey to the End of the Millennium’ by Joseph Bardanashvili and A. B. Yehoshua, which was commissioned especially for the 20th anniversary of the Israeli Opera. These modern shows developed by Israeli artists provide visitors the chance to see a performance that is uniquely Israeli. The Opera currently enjoys the support of over 18,000 subscribers and produces an average of eight productions each season. These productions feature leading opera artists from all over the world alongside Israeli opera artists and are sung in the original language with Hebrew and English subtitles.
Tel Aviv’s municipal theater, the Cameri, stages plays by local and international playwrights. This magnificent state-of-the-art building adds a good dose of class to the prestigious theater house. Plays are mostly in Hebrew with some productions in English or with English subtitles.
The world's first Hebrew language theater, Habima was established in 1918 in Moscow before coming to Tel Aviv. It's a legendary landmark and presents contemporary and modern adaptations of classics and is the eyes, ears, and voice of Israeli culture. Check for English performances and performances with English translations.
Due to an extremely successful first season, Elma Arts Complex is offering their classical concert subscription for the second year in a row. Their goal: to “open up a window on classical music’s varied styles, periods, and musicians.” Their means: through an illumination of three aspects of music—a Classical Series, a Baroque Series, and a Bridge Series that bridges the gap between traditional classical worlds and popular, innovative, more daring musical worlds. The musicians thrive off the acoustics of Elma Hall, the free atmosphere of the Cube, and the audience’s contagious energy. Musical growth is everywhere, even in the blossoming gardens that surround the beautiful hotel. Why not stay the night? The Elma Arts Complex is also a luxury hotel.
Located in the center of Mt. Carmel is one of the largest and most unique theaters in the northern region of Israel - the Haifa Auditorium. Bordering the Cinematheque, Rappaport Hall, and Hecht House, it is the heart of the Carmel cultural complex. Its design allows a quality view of the stage from any seat in the house. With fantastic acoustics and sophisticated stage facilities, the best performances from abroad and around Israel are staged at the Haifa Auditorium. The Haifa Symphonic Orchestra, The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and The “Dance in Haifa” series call the auditorium their northern home.