The play of Daniel

Also known as the Play of Daniel, LUDUS DANIELIS is considered a masterpiece, the most beautiful music-drama ever written in the Middle Ages: it has been called a Medieval 'opera'.

Created in France in the end of the 12th century, it revolves around two events of the Biblical story of the Prophet Daniel - the writings on the wall and the lion’s den - told through a vibrant music combining strong rhythms, catchy melodies, lyricism. It has seriousness and wit, pathos and humor.

Musical transcription and edition, casting, musical director: Myrna Herzog
Stage director: Niv Hoffman; Lighting: Dania Zemmer
Narrator: Benny Hendel

Singers: Eitan Drori (tenor - Daniel) , David Feldman (countertenor - King Belshazzar), Assaf Benraf (bass - King Darius), Eilam Rotem (baritone - Habakkuk) , Macarena Lopez Lavin (soprano - Queen) and Michal Okon (soprano - Angel) accompanied by vielles, recorders, harp, psaltery, saz, carrillon, percussion.

Our thanks to the Israeli Opera, the Ministry of Culture, Keren Rich, Sinfonietta Beersheva, the French Embassy and Institute.

The ensemble's superb musicianship was hailed by the press; the performance was considered vibrant, energetic, invigorating, appealing to the modern audience (Ury Eppstein, Jerusalem Post), delightful, a highlight in Jerusalem’s musical life (Pamela Hickman, Go Jerusalem).

"The Play of Daniel is a 13th century French liturgical drama amazingly beautiful and agreeable to the ear, from the Biblical Book of Daniel. It was staged by Ensemble PHOENIX under the musical direction of Myrna Herzog and stage direction of Niv Hofman. …excellent performance …impressive staging insights…This is the right way to stage a work of this period, in a way that it speaks to today’s public". Daniel Bloch, Reshet Bet, 12/03/08. 

"I was especially moved by the way a few deft cuts, the addition of Daniel's prayer and the Hebrew narrator, and the decision to stage the play in a theater rather than a church, made the play so strikingly Jewish. As a Christian, steeped in the medieval exegesis practices of the church, I am used to thinking of the Daniel of the play as a figure of Christ. Your production, with minimal changes, removed the traditional Christian overlay and made Daniel once again a poignant figure of faithful, suffering Israel. I found it very moving. The music, of course, was magnificent." Max R. Harris (scholar, teacher at the University of Virginia and visiting professor at Yale University).