Yiddish Concert in Nizhny Novgorod

On November 23, 2023, the Opera and Ballet Theater of Nizhny Novgorod, one of the largest and prominent cities in Russia, held a Jewish-themed concert called Menorah Music. Three opera soloists, Yulia Sitnikova, Anastasia Jilas and Svetlana Polzikova, performed a number of Yiddish songs composed by Alexander Krein, Moses (Mieczysław) Weinberg and Yoel Engel.

The lyrics’ authors included famous Yiddish poets, such as Izi Kharik, Aaron Kushnirov and Yitskhok Leybush Peretz. The song “Close your little eyes” (“Makh tsu di eygelekh”) performed by Anastasia Jilas was sung as an encore. Its tragically murdered authors, the poet Isaiah Spiegel and the composer David Beigelman, wrote it in the Lodz ghetto after the children imprisoned there were deported to a death camp.

To demonstrate to the audience the global significance of Jewish culture in general and Yiddish culture in particular, the concert program deliberately included works by non-Jewish composers written on Jewish themes: Robert Schumann, Sergei Prokofiev and Maurice Ravel.