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August 12, 1988 - Image 58

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-08-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

r

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Topol

Continued from preceding page

"But [like to travel. When
I am making a movie and go
to strange and exotic loca-
tions, that is fabulous, but
when I am doing a show every
night I like that too, so I have
been lucky enough to have it
all."
'Ibpol has had a home in
London since 1969, but his
permanent base is in Tel Aviv.
He tries to be in Israel for all
the religious festivals and for
the major non-religious
festival — Israel's In-
dependence Day which falls
in mid-May. "I have always
contrived:' he says, "when
working in a show in London
or the United States, or
anywhere in a movie, to take
off the days of Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur."
There is a great deal of em-
pathy between Chaim Topol
and London, where "Fiddler
on the Roof" ran for 41/2 years.
"I have always enjoyed the
hospitality of London," he ad-
mits, "I think it is probably
one of the most civilized
places on earth: its theaters,
the city, its parks and
greenery, even its weather
which can be very unpredic-
table?' But home to Topol will
always be Israel. "I suffer
when I read that things are
going badly for them, and
when they are going well I re-
joice."
Topol's credits are con-
siderable. He remembers
beginning rehearsals for
"Fiddler on the Roof" with
hardly a word of English and
then had to take a crash
course which, he says: "If it
didn't make me an
Englishman, enabled me to
understand what I was say-
ing, at least on stage." He
subsequently transcended the
language barrier by perform-
ing among other major pro-
ductions in "Othello;' "The
Caucasian Chalk Circle,"
"Gallileo," Peter Ustinov's
"Romanoff and Juliet," "The
House in Garibaldi Street" —
a reconstitution of the trail
and capture of Eichmann.
'Ibpol has appeared in many
movies — "A Talent for Lov-
ing" with Mia Farrow, "Flash
Gordon," "Cast a Giant
Shadow" with a giant cast
which included Kirk Douglas,
Yul Brynner and Frank
Sinatra; a James Bond 007
extravaganza, and countless
other films and TV movies.
"I suppose of all the live
plays I have appeared in," he
says, The Caucasian Chalk
Circle' meant most to me, and
it carried me from Haifa to
Venice and then to the
Chichester Festival," one of
the most distinguished set-
tings in the subliminal
English countryside.
Topol is critical of British

media coverage of the West
Bank and Gaza. "The press is
in the instant news business
and does not go in for serious
coverage. British and
American journalists are
usually safe when they are
not kind to Israelis, whereas
they know only too well that
if they voice unfavorable
views on the Arab stand they
could get into serious trouble.
We all know of the attempted
kidnappings and even
assassinations of reporters."
Ibpol has, in his time with
the Israeli army, spent some
months as a press liaison of-
ficer. He said he believes that
Israel makes a great effort to
facilitate the work of the
media, to keep the world in-
formed of what is happening
in the country and on its
borders, partly out of pride in
its achievements and partly
because of its inherent belief
in the right of the world to
know, but though the world
knows, he's not too sure how
much it cares.
He would like to think that
Jews the world over are con-
cerned about Israel and
quotes President Chaim Her--
zog whom he interviewed for
his "Israel 40 Years On"
documentary.
"The president said that he
would like to see our brothers
take part in what is happen-
ing in our country, by coming
to visit Israel, by coming to
live among us, by sharing the
country so that we would not
need to worry about
demographic problems; they
should make aliyah and
make sure that we keep the
majority for ever." And all
these views are strongly en-
dorsed by Topol.

Uncertain about his future,
Topol admits to a certain
superstition in making
predictions about what he
will do. "There are many of-
fers open to me and I have not
come to any decision, but I
know I will keep on working,
whether it is in the theater,
films, TV or with my
publishing company, and cer-
tainly I will continue to com-
mute between London and
Tel Aviv. When there are at-
tractive offers from the
United States, I will be hap-
py to be showing my face over
there."
With "Fiddler on the Roof"
a tour de force, triumphing
wherever the local Tevye
showed his bearded face, in
places as different as Spain,
Holland, Germany, France,
Finland, Yugoslavia, Turkey,
Greece, even Japan, Topol
delights in explaining in his
autobiography:
"Shirley MacLaine, who
saw it in Tokyo, told me she
was so moved by that perfor-
mance that she hurried
backstage after the show to
congratulate the Japanese
Tevye. She told him that she
had seen the 'Fiddler' in New
York and London and had
thought it was great then, but
that his performance had sur-
passed them all. The actor
looked at her in astonishment
and asked if the show was do-
ing well in England and
America. 'Very well she said.
He then asked if the au-
diences were really interested
in the story. 'Very interested;
she said. The Japanese actor
was amazed and surprised,
and said so. 'Why?' asked
Shirley.
" 'Because the story is so
Japanese.' " ■

Israel Philharmonic
Due At Meadow Brook

The Israel Philharmonic
will perform at the Meadow
Brook Music Festival in-
Rochester at 8 p.m. Tuesday
and Thursday. Kurt Masur
will be on the podium.
Tuesday's program will in-
clude Haydn's "Symphony
No. 6" and Beethoven's "Sym-
phony No. 5" and "Pictures at
an Exhibition" by
Mussorgsky. Thursday's pro-
gram will feature the music of
Mendelssohn and Brahms.
For tickets, call Meadow
Brook, 377-2010.
Masur, music director of the
Gewandhaus Orchestra of
Leipzig since 1970, has had a
long musical career. Upon his
graduation from the Music
College of Leipzig, he served
as an orchestra coach at the

Halle County Theater. This
was followed by a position as
Kapellmeister of the Erfurt
and Leipzig opera theaters. In
1955 he was named a conduc-
tor of the Dresden Philhar-
monic and, in 1958, returned
to opera as general director of
music of the Mecklenburg
State Theater in Schwerin.
From 1960 to 1964, he was
senior director of music at
Berlin's Komische Oper,
where he collaborated with
Walter Felsenstein, one of
German opera's most influen-
tial directors. In 1967, he was
appointed chief conductor of
the Dresden Philharmonic, a
position he maintained until
1972. In 1975, he was named
a professor at the Leipzig
Academy of Music.

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