The Foundation for Jewish Culture is proud to announce the North American tour of The Yellow Ticket – a live multimedia concert event featuring the eponymous 1918 Pola Negri silent film with a performance of an original score by Alicia Svigals, one of the world’s foremost klezmer fiddlers. The score is the newest commission from the Foundation’s New Jewish Culture Network (NJCN) and marks the first feature-length film composition by Svigals who will perform live with virtuoso pianist Marilyn Lerner at each of the screenings of this cinema classic. Set in Poland and Tsarist Russia, the film portrays a woman’s struggle to overcome adversity in a story of secret identifies, heroic measures, and triumphant love.
Alicia Svigals, who has composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Kronos Quartet and helped found the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, has crafted a lush score inspired by klezmer and other Eastern European folk forms, 20th-century classical composers such as Béla Bartók and Ernest Bloch, European café music, and contemporary improvisation. She will be joined by the exhilarating Canadian pianist Marilyn Lerner, whose work spans the worlds of jazz, creative improvisation, klezmer and 20th century classical music.
Remarkably progressive for its time, The Yellow Ticket (1918) is the first film to explore Jewish discrimination in Tsarist Russia and stars famed Polish actress Pola Negri, Hollywood’s first European silent film star. It tells the story of Lea, a young woman who hides her Jewish heritage to study medicine. Pushed towards prostitution to pay the rent, Lea is saved by a beloved professor with a secret of his own. The Yellow Ticket, directed by Victor Janson and Eugen Illès and filmed partly on location in German-occupied Warsaw during the last year of World War I, was one of Pola Negri’s first films for Germany’s leading studio UFA and was released in the U.S. by Paramount in 1922. The film is based on Abraham Schomer’s 1911 Yiddish melodrama, Afn Yam un “Ellis Island” (At Sea and Ellis Island) which was subsequently produced on Broadway in 1914 in an un-authorized English-language version written by Michael Morton.
NJCN commission funds of $10,000 helped Svigals to further refine and develop a score initially commissioned by the Washington Jewish Music Festival. In addition, each of five “hub” cities – Vancouver, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, and Houston – receive subsidies for production and a wide array of public programs such as performance workshops, master classes on klezmer music, a film scoring lecture-demonstration, as well as panel discussions and talks to help contextualize the film.
For booking inquiries please click here.
2013 New Jewish Culture Network Presenters
January 10, 2013 (8:30 pm)
Walter Reade Theater
The New York Jewish Film Festival, a collaboration between The Jewish Museum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center
February 17, 2013 (2 pm)
Presented by Chutzpah! The Lisa Nemetz International Showcase of Jewish Performing Arts at the Norman Rothstein Theatre
March 3, 2013 (3 pm)
Presented by Next@19 at Coral Gables Art Cinema in collaboration with the Miami International Film Festival
April 21, 2013
Southwest Michigan Jewish Film Festival
April 29, 2013 (7:30 pm)
Co-presented by Boston Jewish Music Festival and the New Center for Arts and Culture at Coolidge Corner Theater in collaboration with the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Followed by a panel discussion with scholars from Brandeis and Harvard.
May 9, 2013 (8 pm)
Co-presented by The Gershman Y and the National Museum of American Jewish History
October 26, 2013 (8 pm)
University of Chicago, Logan Center for the Arts
Composers and Klezmers: Alicia Svigals on Bartók, Bloch, and the Score to The Yellow Ticket
November 6, 2013 (8 pm)
Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston
November 7, 2013 (7:30 pm)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet Street
Presented by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, the Houston Cinema Arts Society and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
North Adams, MA
November 16, 2013 (8 pm)
November 17, 2013 (7:30 pm)
Chisuk Emuna Congregation
May 12, 2014 (7:30 PM)
Presented by Music of Remembrance, at Benaroya Hall. With clarinetist Laura DeLuca of the Seattle Symphony.
The Yellow Ticket performance was commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s New Jewish Culture Network, a league of North American performing arts presenters committed to the creation and touring of innovative projects. The Yellow Ticket debuted at the Washington Jewish Music Festival, presented by the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, through a commission made possible by the Arthur Tracy “The Street Singer” Endowment Fund. The New Jewish Culture Network has received major support from the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by Sylvia M. Neil, the Milken Family Foundation, and other donors.
National outreach partners for The Yellow Ticket tour include the Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Goethe-Institut New York.