Jul 25, 2013
Women Enjoy Classical Evening
Selections from acclaimed classical composers such as Bellini, Hahn, Rachmaninov, and Puccini were recently sung in Crown Heights.
By Ariella Shapiro
Thousands of years after the first women danced in the vineyards of Israel, a gathering of forty women made their way to the home of Mrs. Shaindy Jacobson in Crown Heights for a concert featuring classical soprano Mrs. Chava Shapiro, accompanied by pianist Mrs. Mirele Rosenberger.
The evening began with chocolate chip cookies, still hot from the oven, and a d'var Torah by Ms. Aden Ratner-Stauber, expounding upon the facets of Tu b'Av. Tu b'Av is a holiday of unification. It is a day when the tribes of Israel were finally permitted to intermarry. It is a day when shevet Binyomin was welcomed back into the fold after a period of excommunication.
It is a day when the gates separating the northern and southern kingdoms of Judah and Israel were opened. It is fitting that on the heels of the 9th Av, a day of exile and destruction, G-d has provided us with the chance of healing during the festival of Tu b'Av. On this night, some of us sat as strangers, others as friends, but these boundaries between us fell and were swept away by music. We were united.
Singing with a depth beyond her years, Chava performed songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Ladino, as well as classical selections from acclaimed composers such as Bellini, Hahn, Rachmaninov, and Puccini. As I looked across the room, meeting the eyes of other women, I could see them wiping away tears. After the concert, one woman described it as a "rare and transformative experience."
Classically trained since 14, Chava has expressed that "singing is a source of a joy, and a way to connect with others and with G-d." In her youth she performed with choirs across the globe in a variety of esteemed venues, including New York City's very own Carnegie Hall. She currently resides in Crown Heights, training with prominent vocal teacher and founder of Brooklyn Jewish Dance, Mrs. Rivka Nahari.
For the past eight months, under Mrs. Nahari's guidance, Chava has been studying the Old Italian school of vocal technique (also known as the bel canto technique) and says it has "opened my eyes to an entirely new way of singing."
After adopting a religious lifestyle, Chava now sings for women's audiences only. One of her most memorable performances was for the Gala Banquet at the International Conference of Shluchos, where she and Mirele Rosenberger performed a haunting rendition of "Ani Ma'amin."
It is easy when there is such a voice to be heard, to neglect the music accompanying it, but this is not the case with Mirele Rosenberger. She is a truly gifted artist with an extraordinary command of her craft.
Chava and Mirele will be performing together again at the upcoming National Jewish Retreat in Alexandria, Virginia on August 8th, Rosh Chodesh Elul.