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"SHEMA': Primo Levi - From poem to song"
Original music project

World Premiere:

 Flautissimo FestivalRome  November 13 th  2018, Teatro Vascello

European Day of Jewish Culture, September 15th 2019, Meis Museum in Ferrara, Sala Estense 


Shulamit Ottolenghi – Artistic initiative, lyrics selection and voice

Frank London- composition, trumpet

Shai Bachar- composition, piano

Concert duration: 1 hour
During the performance the texts will be projected on stage both in Italian and in the local audience language.

Vision and Program:

Primo Levi 's poems, first published in the collection “Ad ora incerta” (“At an uncertain hour”; Garzanti, 1984), remain an overlooked gem, unlike his world-renowned prose.

Written sporadically over the span of decades, Primo Levi's poems feel like a consistent whisper accompanying the more predominant voice of his prose. Yet it is in his poems he allows himself the most distilled, defenseless contact with his wounded inner core, giving them their extraordinary power.

Levi’s restrained, yet relentless style demands a contemporary sound capable of unfolding the poems’ innate harmonies, allowing the poetical and musical voices to enhance each other.


The desire to arrange and perform these poems as songs was a natural choice for Italian-born Jewish singer Shulamit Ottolenghi, who has treasured them since she first read them many years ago. It was a similarly natural choice to turn to Grammy winner Frank London and to Shai Bachar to compose the music for this program.

This same ensemble successfully collaborated on “For you the sun will shine - Songs of women in the Shoa," which has received major acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The album explored the little-known work of female composers whose lives were touched or cut short by the Holocaust. Described as "Innovative, different and essential, in view of the known music of the Holocaust'' (, February 2016), it received four stars from the Financial Times (Album review, August 2015).

In this current historical moment, marked by escalating and increasingly bloody conflicts fueled by identity politics, Levi's moral admonition against the dehumanization of our fellow human beings appears more pertinent than ever. It is this dehumanization that initiates the first steps toward the inevitable moral abysses of violence.

With Hebrew translation:




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