Itzhak Perlman to Take Center Court at Barclays Center

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When the Barclay’s Center opened last fall, we theorized about the kind of classical music that would be best suited for 18,000-seat Brooklyn arena: Some Mahler, perhaps, or a night of Wagner. To date, only Andrea Bocelli has materialized – he of the crossover singing fame.

But on Feb. 28, the classical void will be filled – partly, anyhow – with a visit from the violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Perlman will give a concert with Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, the cantor from the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan, who has been a leader in the revival of Jewish liturgical music. The two will be joined by several Klezmer musicians and an 18-piece chamber orchestra that includes members of the Perlman Music Program, a music camp on Shelter Island, NY.

The concert, which was first reported Tuesday by the New York Times, is the result of an unlikely friendship between Perlman and Bruce Ratner, the majority owner of the Barclay’s Center.

Ratner, who is also a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets and a controversial real estate developer, is a longtime friend of Perlman’s. Their daughters attended the Brearley School in Manhattan together and the two men were spotted together in court-side seats at a Nets-Knicks game last month. Ratner sang cantorial music in a synagogue while growing up in Cleveland.

Perlman approached Ratner with the idea for the concert, which grew out of a recording he made with Helfgot last year called “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul.” It features an assortment of Yiddish folk songs, Hassidic prayers and klezmer music. The show will repeat at the Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY on March 10.

The Times reports that there will be a section of the Barclay’s Center with separate seating for men and women, in accordance with the customs of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Also planned is extra catering from Avenue K, a kosher restaurant in Manhattan.