Library > News > Newsletter > 2015 > May 2015 > Dan Hashomer

Dan Hashomer

​Seventy Years Later, First Israeli Opera Revived at the National Library


Seventy years after its maiden performance, "Dan the Guard" (Dan Hashomer), the first Israeli opera, has been given new life at the National Library, where it was recently performed before sold-out audiences and garnered significant media attention. National Library Music Department Head Dr. Gila Flam, in collaboration with Prof. Michael Klinghoffer, led the initiative to bring the long-dormant opera back to life at the Library, where composer Marc Lavry's archive resides. An exhibition featuring items from the Lavry archive accompanied the production, which also provided the opportunity to record the opera in its entirety for the first time.

​"Dan the Guard" takes place in British Mandate Palestine of the 1930's and focuses on three young, idealist kibbutzniks – Dan, Nachman and Efrat – who must fight for the physical survival of the kibbutz, as well as the ideological principles it represents. In traditional operatic style, the three must also confront the difficulties of the love triangle in which they find themselves, with romantic tension continually driving the plot. Reflecting many themes which are still relevant today, the opera addresses Jewish-Arab relations, the conflict between the old world and the new, questions of secularism as opposed to traditional religious practice, socialism versus capitalism, and intergenerational friction. 




The revival of "Dan the Guard" was performed to critical acclaim from audience members and the media. The production marked a significant collaboration among leading forces on the Israeli cultural scene including the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, the Ankor Choir and the Jerusalem Oratory Choir and Soloists. The Marc Lavry Heritage Foundation also collaborated in the historic initiative. Throughout its run, visitors to the Library could visit an exhibition focusing on Lavry and author Max Brod, who wrote the opera's libretto based on a play by S. Shalom. The exhibition featured items from the rich archives of Lavry and Brod, both of which are housed at the National Library. The production, exhibition and recording of "Dan the Guard", following seven decades out of the spotlight, exemplifies the National Library's commitment to bringing lost treasures of Israeli cultural heritage to life.