From painting and opera to film and flamenco, Simon Griver previews a season of entertainment and enlightenment
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Israel Philharmonic: regular concerts until July at the Mann Auditorium
Tel Aviv is indisputably Israel's economic capital, but it is also at the heart of the country's cultural life. The city that never stops is home to most of Israel's leading theatre, music and dance companies and the coming months offer a richly varied range of performances, festivals, museum exhibitions and other events that overseas visitors can enjoy.
These are the last few weeks to see a unique exhibition of Andy Warhol's Jewish Portraits at Bet Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People (formerly the Diaspora Museum) on Tel Aviv University's campus. The Pop Art exhibition closes on November 19. Another highlight at the museum this winter will be an exhibition running from December 31 2010 to April 30 2011, entitled Mordechai's Orchard: The Story of Iranian Jewry.
On the subject of Mordechai and Purim, the fancy dress festival, March 19 to 21 2011, is a marvellous time to be in Tel Aviv and the closest the Middle East gets to the Latin American carnival, with flamboyantly-dressed Israelis parading in the streets.
The Eretz Israel Museum, near Bet Hatfutsot, is holding some fascinating temporary exhibitions, including one on Chinese coins until December 31 and another on 20th century clay figurines until January 29.
Jazzing up life on Nahalat Shiva
Opera lovers will be thrilled to hear that George Gershwin's Porgy & Bess is being performed from November 12 to 27 at the Israel Opera in the Tel Aviv Centre for the Performing Arts, on Shaul Hamelech Boulevard. The Cape Town Opera forms the chorus and soloists, accompanied by the Israel Symphony Orchestra.
From December 15 to 23, Israel Opera will be performing Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder and Bela Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, conducted by Ilan Volkov.
The opera season runs from September to July and features many other productions, from world-renowned operas to avant-garde Israeli compositions.
Not to be missed is the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs regular concerts through until July at the Mann Auditorium, at the northern end of Rothschild Boulevard. The orchestra plays under maestro Zubin Mehta.
The annual Felicija Blumental International Music Festival combines top-quality classical music with an accessible approach. Performances are accompanied by commentaries, interviews with performers and even comedy sketches. The annual festival takes place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Another musical highlight is the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival in the first week of February at the Centre for Performing Arts and the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, with top jazz performers from Israel and worldwide.
Also at the Tel Aviv Cinemathèque throughout May 2011 is Docaviv, an annual festival of the best Israeli and international film documentaries. Film fans may also want to take in the Tel Aviv Student Film Festival in June 2011, when student filmmakers from around the world present their movies.
Art lovers may want to visit the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, next door to the Centre for Performing Arts, to see an exhibition by Yadin Rubin called Plowed Color, running through to December 18. Rubin's paintings portray kibbutz life from the 1960s as the kibbutz movement as celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Spanish-dance fans will not want to miss Flamenco Days at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Neve Tzedek, with concerts and workshops throughout March 2011 on this most passionate of dance forms.
Tel Aviv is also famous for its theatre and you don't have to understand Hebrew to follow productions. Cameri Theatre, also based at the Tel Aviv Centre for Performing Arts, offers simultaneous English translations of productions like Moshe Naor's adaptation of A.B. Yehoshua's Woman from Jerusalem, which premières in January 2011.
The Habimah National Theatre also puts on plays with English translations.
Tel Aviv also has much to offer sports fans. Hapoel Tel Aviv are playing in the Uefa Champions League this season and will be hosting Portuguese giants Benfica at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa on November 24 in their final group stage home game.
A more unusual Israel experience is to visit the Nokia Arena in Tad Eliahu, the home of six-time European champions Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball time. European Cup games are on Thursday nights through until December 23.
For those who prefer participation sports, next year's Tel Aviv Marathon is scheduled for May 14 2011.
Among many other highlights are the White Night concerts and international festival in Jaffa in July, a series of events for the international LGBT community in June - and don't miss the spectacular firework display on Independence Day in Yitzhak Rabin Square, which in 2011 falls on the evening of May 9.