Israel holds Abu Ghosh Vocal Music Festival

15:17, June 10, 2011      

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For its 40th year, the Abu Ghosh Vocal Music Festival, set in the picturesque Israeli Arab village of the same name outside of Jerusalem, is adding a wine festival to complement its classical, religious and chamber music offerings, not to mention its nationally famous humous.

Set in the Notre Dame Arche D'Alliance in the outskirts of the town, the annual festival features Mozart, Handel, Puccini, Verdi and assorted choirs, as well as piano soloists which attract thousands of classic music fans.

"This is the first time we are doing the wine tasting to promote Israeli wine," Marisol Halpern, one of the festival's organizers said, "and so far we are getting a very good response, it was packed these first days."

Hoping to lure international music and wine connoisseurs, the organizers emphasized the backdrop of the church and pilgrim center: the gently rolling, olive tree-studded hills, ablaze in the glow of a late afternoon sun.

"With such a view," Gershon Cohen, producer of the festival said, "the only thing you feel like doing is to sit, listen to the concerts in the open air with a glass of wine and look at the Jerusalem hills."

A medieval church in the center of the village, only a few kilometers away from Notre Dame, is also home to a Benedictine monastery, which is also holding various concerts this year featuring spirituals and gospel music as part of the festival.

"We would love for people from abroad to come and enjoy, since there are almost no other festivals like this in the world," Cohen said, "and it would be a nice chance to show that Israel and Jerusalem are not only wars and problems."

Source: Xinhua
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