A Tale of Two Museums
Ester Rachel Kaminska Theater Museum Collection

Bas Sheva

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A letter from director Moyshe Broderzon to Zalmen Reyzen with a description of the opera.


Bas Sheva


Bas Sheva is a four-character opera composed by Henech Kon with a libretto by Moyshe Broderzon. It focuses on the relationship between King David and his desire for Bath Sheba, married when he falls in love with her at first sight (in the Book of Samuel 2). Their son Solomon later rises to be king after David and builds the Temple in Jerusalem. But David and Bas Sheva have a baby before Solomon that dies at childbirth, a punishment for David's sin of sending Bas Sheva's husband to the front lines of battle--to certain death--in order to free her to become his wife. The opera explores this lesser-known narrative, especially through the eyes of Bas Sheva's character.

Dovid un Bas Sheva premiered on May 24, 1924 at the Kaminska Theater in Warsaw under the direction of Dovid Herman. Lacking strings and other elements that would give it its full operatic dimension--nothwithstanding its cast of only four--Kon played the piano sang base and a chamber version of the Shnur Choir participated. In Literarishe bleter, Alter Kacyzne declared that the opera achieved "a great purity of expression."


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“Bas Sheva
,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed February 29, 2024, https://ataleoftwomuseums.yivo.org/items/show/2928.
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