Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, Airs on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, Thursday, August 28 at 9 p.m. on PBS
Legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman and renowned cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot join forces for a musical exploration of liturgical and traditional works in new arrangements for both chamber orchestra and klezmer settings on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, airing Thursday, August 28 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the program Sunday, September 21 at 7 p.m.)
The music of Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot showcases the confluence between the violinist’s famed classical technique and Helfgot’s magnificent voice, and is the result of a mutual admiration society. “It was a dream to someday sing with him,” remarks Helfgot. “And now the dream has become real.” Also featuring reminiscences by Elie Wiesel, Joel Grey, and Neil Sedaka, the program is directed by Joshua Waletzky, whose earlier collaboration with Perlman, In the Fiddler’s House, won a Primetime Emmy in 1995.
For Perlman, the collaboration represents “the completion of a cycle” of accompanying three great voices—Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and now Helfgot, who serves as Chief Cantor at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue. The special also represents for him, “the fulfillment of a dream.” Perlman and Helfgot recently collaborated in a couple of show-stopping performances featured in Great Performances 40th Anniversary Celebration. In Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, these two incomparable virtuosos unite for an evening of cantorial masterpieces, Yiddish folk and theater tunes, Hassidic melodies, and klezmer instrumentals.
Joined at the piano by music director Dr. Hankus Netsky (Chair of Boston’s New England Conservatory Contemporary Improvisation Department), Netsky’s Klezmer Conservatory Band, and the Rejoice Chamber Orchestra under the direction of conductor Russell Ger, Perlman and Helfgot present a program of songs that are alternately joyful and intensely moving, but always concluding with a buoyant climax.
Between numbers, Perlman provides elucidating and historical commentary, humorously interacting with Netsky, Helfgot and the audience.
Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meier Helfgot will be released on DVD by C Major Entertainment, distributed by Naxos of America.
Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Directed by Joshua Waletzky, the sets are by David Korins with lighting by Ken Billington. For Great Performances, John Walker, Mitch Owgang and Richard R. Schilling are producers, Phil Hack is line producer and David Frost is audio producer; Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, The Starr Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and PBS.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.