Schachat brings 'Elijah' to Jerusalem

Schachat's repertoire includes both classical music and Jewish liturgy.

Israeli baritone singer Colin Schachat, who will perform Mendelssohn's Elijah today with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir, is not only a world-renowned voice - he is also a businessman. His two careers may sound worlds apart, and indeed, Schachat admits he makes a special effort to keep his dual lives separate. "You have one voice for everything and you need to protect it," says Schachat. "On my trips, I try never to combine a concert with any business activity because I need to focus my mind on one thing. Your voice is a reflection of where you are internally. So if you are in a situation of tension or anxiety resulting from business activity, you will not sing well." Schachat, who was born in South Africa and immigrated to Israel in 1992, says music and singing have always been his major love, but due to his other career he can afford to "refuse offers to sing things which are not suitable to my voice, to its range and timbre." "My father was very keen for me to get an education outside music first, and then to pursue any career I wanted. I built a career in law and then in business, but I somehow managed to keep up my musical career. I never thought I would perform with orchestras such as Israel Philharmonic." Indeed, music has taken Schachat to many places, from Tel Aviv to Johannesburg. He is also the first and the only Israeli to perform at Buckingham Palace, where he appeared in a special concert with the Royal Philharmonic a year and a half ago. Schachat's repertoire includes both classical music and Jewish liturgy. "Elijah is a wonderful piece. Its baritone part sits well with my voice and is quite a challenge. A huge corpus of works is written on the Old Testament. I have not learned Christian pieces yet (like Mozart's Requiem, for example), but although I am an observant Jew, I have no objections to performing them. On the contrary, I see it as a privilege to sing this music." Mendelssohn's Elijah will be performed by tonight by the Jerusalem Symphony under Eli Yaffe with the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir at the Henry Crown Hall at 8 p.m.