Tzivi’s Report: Chicago YIVO Summer Festival favorites Stewart Figa & Ilya Levinson brought the crowd to its feet Saturday at the “Kosher Cabaret” sponsored by West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest.
Their 6 partners in the New Budapest Orpheum Society (Julia Bentley, Philip V. Bohlman, Dan Davis, Iordanka Kissiova, Mark Sonksen, & Don Stille) joined Figa & Levinson for a celebration of Figa’s 13th year as WSTHZ’s cantor extraordinaire.
Figa sang in German, Hebrew, & Yiddish, including my all-time favorite number “Ich bin ein unverbesserlicher Optimist” (“I’m an Irrepressible Optimist”) by Hermann Leopoldi & Robert Katscher. He also added a great rendition of Irving Berlin’s raucus “Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars” (in English).
Mezzo-soprano Bentley provided the female touch with German torch songs, including the wonderful “Black Market” solo Marlene Dietrich sang (in English) in Billy Wilder’s 1948 film A Foreign Affair.
To Stewart: Mazel tov on your Bar Mitzvah year at WSTHZ!
Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner (12/3/11)