(photo credit: Courtesy)
Fate has had a guiding hand in opera singer David Serero’s choice of vocation.
When he was in his teens, the Jewish French baritone, who performs at the
Felicja Blumental Concert Hall on March 6 and 7 (at 8 p.m.), was developing his
piano playing skills nicely when he had a roller skating accident. “I broke my
right wrist and couldn’t play the melody on the piano, so I began to sing it,”
says the 29-year-old Serero. The rest is history.
He says that after a
number of years in the profession, he prefers to follow a naturally evolving
route through his multi-hued musical tapestry. “Of course, I am an opera singer,
so I sing works by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and other composers, but there are
also Broadway musicals in my programs. I also do world music numbers like
Yiddish songs, Russian and Gypsy songs and some Israeli
Considering the fact that both Serero’s parents are Israeli-born,
the latter would seem to be a given.
The Felicja Blumental audiences can
expect to hear items from most of the above genres, and a few more. “It has
become like a game for me,” says Serero, “to take people from opera to other
music, like popular music, and to take fans of popular music to opera. In the
same program you can have Mozart, then “Besame Mucho,” followed by maybe “Avinu
Malkeinu,” Verdi and “Jerusalem of Gold.’” Serero feels it is an efficient means
of drawing the public into musical areas they may not otherwise consider. “It is
like a child who doesn’t want to take his medicine, so you put it in a candy and
the kid says, ‘Mmm this is good.’ It may be poison,” laughs Serero, “but I am
killing people with music – it is a nice death.”
One might think that
mixing his programs could present Serero with a marketing conundrum. Opera
goers, for the large part, take their opera pretty seriously.
does he manage to get them to embrace, let alone enjoy, the more “downmarket”
musical offerings he performs? “To do what I do, you need to have one foot very
very strong in pure classical and opera music, and the other one very very deep
into popular music.
My musical education always went into both sides on
the same level. So no one can accuse me of, let’s say, prostituting
Serero says he has the necessary street cred. “Look, people like
[iconic opera singer] Placido Domingo talk about me as one of the future stars
It must be said that Serero got himself a solid grounding in
the “serious” side of the music business before venturing into his tailored mix
and match direction. “I spent two years in St. Petersburg at the Marinsky
Theater. I was one of the first non-Russian singers to perform there. I spent
three years with teachers from the Metropolitan Opera in New York,” he declares.
“I fell in love with Broadway musicals while I was there.”
providing quality entertainment, Serero also feels he has an educational mission
– to enlighten people in a fun way. “When you say people are very serious about
opera, it is because most of the time we criticize what we don’t know. By the
way, that sometimes happens with Israel [in the world media]. It is my job, as a
passionate and professional musician, to explain things. So I explain: ‘In this
aria, this guy is in love with this girl, but there is another guy who loves
that girl, so he is sad and crying.’ I don’t talk about things in a dry
I try to educate people and bring the music to life.
I try to
go beyond the traditions with the audience.
I know that if they want to
see the traditions, they can see me perform in a big opera. When they come to my
concerts, with my program, I want to show them something they can’t see in the
At the end of the day, Serero wants to give people their money’s
worth and as varied a musical diet as possible. “If there had been no variety,
there would have been no one after Mozart. Variety gives you the evolution of
the music and the people,” he says.
There are also a number of young
children, particularly one eight-year-old boy, who are also delighted that
Serero is around. “I do benefit shows, and I did a small concert for the
children at Hadassah [Ein Kerem] Hospital in Jerusalem a few days ago, and there
was a young boy who was particularly excited to see me,” Serero recounts. “He
told me he plays piano, Mozart, and I decided to bring him to Tel Aviv so he can
play for the audience.
That, for me, is a very important part of being in
Israel.”For more information and ticket reservations, call (03)