By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — With a vocal range of more than four octaves, David D’Or is considered one of the leading musicians of his generation – Israel’s most acclaimed modern singer.
The 50-year-old Israeli vocalist, composer and songwriter said his true joy comes from the discovering and sharing of his musical roots.
D’Or has collected music that inspired his forefathers for centuries — ancient chants, Holy Day songs, and Yemenite Jewish songs of prayer — and transformed them into a magnificent melting pot of colors, rhythms and sounds.
The popular performer will share this music at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25 — during his highly anticipated Dallas concert in the Aaron Main Sanctuary at Congregation Shearith Israel.
This concert is co-sponsored by the Israel Dallas Center and Congregation Shearith Israel’s Music Committee’s Small-Waldman-Cohen Signature Series.
D’Or’s status as “one of the premier vocalists of this generation” has been directly bequeathed to him by reviewers from the Washington Post, The Beijing Daily, the Italian La Republica, the BBC News UK and Israel’s major newspapers — Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv, explained Anat Solomon, director and co-founder of the Israel Dallas Center.
“In his own special style, he (D’Or) harmoniously integrates elements of classical, Jewish and world music into his albums,” Solomon said during the brief Monday interview.
She said co-hosting this event is a natural extension of the Israel Dallas Center’s mission to build an active Israeli-American community in the Dallas area.
Cantor Itzhak Zhrebker, meanwhile, said the Shearith Israel music committee selected D’Or for this performance because they were looking to spotlight a strong musician from Israel.
“His voice is amazing — breathtaking,” Cantor Zhrebker said. “He is a big deal to have come here. We look forward to hearing him.”
One great example of the performer’s musical versatility was his unique approach to a duet while performing for President Barack Obama:
He sang both parts.
Indeed, D’Or rendered the vocals for both the Phantom and Christine Daaé during the Phantom Of The Opera duet from the Broadway musical.
In an email interview from Israel last week, D’Or confirmed his Oct. 25 concert will center on “a representative fusion of Israeli and international classics.”
“In order for the flowers to bloom, they must be connected to their roots,” D’Or said in his correspondence. “It’s the same in music. In order for our original Israeli music to develop, we must build it on the solid foundations of our origins.”
D’Or is descended from a family of Libyan Jewish cantors with roots in Spanish Andalusia. During his musical explorations, he discovered his great-grandfather was one of the most important rabbis in Libya, coming from a Jewish family expelled from Spain during the Inquisition.
D’Or has approached rabbis from the Libyan community in search of the source of the beautiful prayer songs he heard as a child in his home and in synagogue.
These songs were sung by the Levites at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and used by the Libyan Jewish community in the prayers of Yom Kippur and the High Holy Days.
As indicated by his rave newspaper reviews, D’Or is no stranger to accolades. He’s a three-time winner of the Israeli “Singer of the Year” and “Best Vocal Performer” awards.
He was chosen to represent Israel in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest (at which he placed 11th in the semifinal). Nine of his albums had gone platinum by 2008.
His wide variety of music ranges from Yemenite prayers to ancient chants, holy music, classical, opera, baroque arias in the original Italian, to klezmer, dance, folk, rock and pop.
Putting these sounds together remains a labor of love for the acclaimed singer.
“As an Israeli I was exposed since I was very young to many kinds of music,” he said. “There is no style of music that can sound strange to my ears.”
D’Or said he looks forward to returning to Dallas, where he previously performed for members of the Chinese community here some time ago.
“I have a gold album in Taiwan and a strong connection to them,” he said. “In our upcoming concert in Dallas, we prepared a very exciting musical journey, based on original famous Israeli classics, Jewish popular music and an international classics.”
D’Or — who has performed for a long list of world leaders — said he adores his magical connection with the audience “through the language of the heart, which is music.”
For him it doesn’t matter if his audience is the pope, President Obama, or anyone else.
“We all share the same feeling,” he said.
He said he has many beautiful musical memories of performing, ranging from the concert for President Obama, to the pope, to 70,000 people in Australia.
During his Australian concert, D’Or noticed a group of Palestinians were in attendance.
“When I started singing, I saw then dancing and excited after a while,” he said. “I could almost feel in this moment that peace is possible.”
D’Or said his favorite vocalists are very diverse in range.
“From Pavarotti to Whitney Houston, the human voice is fascinating to me,” he said. “… I love many musicians in many styles … but the combination of modern and classic music is my favorite. I love so many artists that I find it hard to mention only one.”
Believe it or not, he is a big believer in destiny — especially the musical kind.
“I believe that sometimes our talents are leading us and it is not really a matter of choice,” he said. “Music always directed my life.”
D’Or said he’s right where he wants to be.
“I wish to sing and perform for all my life, even when I get old,” he said. “I wish I will always be able to touch the heart of the people through my music.”
For ticket information about D’Or or Shearith Israel Signature Series sponsorship opportunities in general, email Sandi Burt or call 214-939-7315.