The dynamic David D'Or
Israel's powerhouse countertenor leaves audiences breathless at two Bangkok venues
When he sings, David D'Or has a voice that demands to be heard solo, but last week he insisted his audience at Bangkok's Siam City Hotel sing along with him.
They tried, they really did.
"Now, God won't listen to that will he? We need to sing louder!"
Later on in the show he demanded - loudly - that the audience members stand up and dance.
It took a while, but some eventually did, reluctantly. Most just clapped along to the rhythm.
D'Or's voice belongs in a vast opera house, or in the great outdoors - certainly not anywhere that has windows - but the hotel and the Thai Cultural Centre, where he also performed last week, held up well.
The Israeli has a famous countertenor that became more famous in 1994 when he sang "Lehaamin" ("To Believe") in the European Grand Prix song competition. It became a global hit.
But he can back up the countertenor with baritone. Octaves are leapt in a schizophrenic journey of classic and opera.
Trained at the conservative Jerusalem Music Academy, D'Or regards his voice as a gift from God that must be shared with others.
"It comes from a soul that wants to sing, that wants to express," he says.
Touching listeners' hearts is made all the easier when he lends his classical voice to pop music and jazz. Fusion, he believes, is the future of music.
On his albums you can hear different cultural and ethnic touches. He sings a world language. Maybe that's what it takes for God to listen.
In concert, the fusion drew in well-known tunes from everywhere. He sang an Italian classic and, with Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, a Jacques Brel love song. Then he did a Hebrew song with Kamala Sukosol Nunbhakdhi, who matched his vibrancy so completely that every Thai in the house was beaming.
For His Majesty the King's birthday, D'Or offered the King's own composition "Candlelight", adding an operatic flair.
The concert closed with "The Phantom of the Opera", and in lieu of the spectral mask, he wore a mask of emotion. Feelings of deep despair contrasted with soaring elation within his variation of tone, which extended to soprano range, piercing the word "phantom". The switches from male to female accents were almost terrifying, but always moving.
D'Or composed all the songs on his latest album, "Like the Wind", mingling world music with some jazz and Thai and Indian elements. The wind in question blows from East to West.
"Sometimes it's stormy, sometimes it touches you gently," he says of the recording.
Also coming out this year is an album featuring a symphony he composed with David Eaton, conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra.
It represents the first time D'Or has attempted to write such a classical piece.
It also happens to feature Korean, Japanese and Arabian singers.
"It's about how humanity should choose peace," he says. It's a prayer for peace.
D'Or says he hopes that when Thais hear his music, they'll think of Israel and regard the album as an expression of affection from his countrymen to them.