The idea for the performance came from the wish to recreate the music of the biblical poem “Las Coplas de Yosef Ha-Tsadik” written in Ladino by Abraham Toledo in the first half of the 17th century. This is the oldest known Jewish musical and probably the first ever written. Based on “Judio de la korte” (Jewish representative in the royal court) type of leadership, Sephardic Judaism singled out the biblical prototype of Joseph as the most relevant for it’s own immediate experience of reality.

On one side, Toledo’s actualization of biblical drama, at times anachronistic on purpose, is obviously rooted in biblical story of Joseph. At the same time, its combination with high musical tradition of the Ottoman court, is one of the most refined examples of the continuation of the Sephardic elite culture in the Ottoman realm.

Unfortunately, the original melodies of the coplas – with few rare noted exceptions which were recorded down – are only indicated by the names of Ottoman maqams, introduced at the beginning of different pieces. These inscriptions describe the maqam (musical mode i.e. scale) and musical form in which a certain part of the poem has been originally performed. This is an attempt to (re)create this old musical, following those scary and general musical annotations, while completing the missing information with other Sephardic musical sources, who’s cultural synthesis with other musical traditions of the Balkans and Mediterranean region represent one of the richest Jewish musical traditions.

Written by Abraham Toledo
Adapted and directed by Stefan Sablić

Music composed by
Stefan Sablić
Nenad V. Khan (“Esclaviko” i “Ande hay rozas I flores)
Aleksandar Simić (finale)

Performed by
Shira utfila & The Baruch Brothers Choir (Conductor: Stefan Zekić)
Narrator: Vanja Ejdus
Jacob: Aljoša Vučković
Translated from Ladino by Drita Tutunović