France may be increasingly inhospitable to Jews, given record levels of Arab anti-Semitism, but French Jewish culture continues to thrive.
Just ask David Serero, the French-accented Jewish baritone who will bring his “one-man musical” to New York next week. Serero will perform show tunes and holiday songs, many of them in French translation. Based on his recently released album, “All I Care About is Love,” the concert will take place on Thursday, Dec. 19 at the Bernstein Theater in Midtown (8 p.m., 1627 Broadway at 50th Street. $20.  921-7862).
Serero, whose father was born in Morocco and whose mother was born in Iran, grew up in Paris. Although he was deaf for most of his childhood because of an undiagnosed ear infection, he caught up quickly in his teen years after surgery corrected the problem, and set his sights on becoming an opera singer. After training in Russia, he premiered an operatic version of “The Dybbuk” in Israel, which was broadcast nationwide on radio. Although he has performed more than 600 concerts all over the world, he is best known for starring as Don Quixote in a Paris production of “Man of La Mancha.”
His concert will feature such gems as “Mexico” (from the French film, “The Singer of Mexico”), “Ah! Si j’etait riche,” (a French version of “If I Were a Rich Man”), and the Russian folk tune, “Les Yeux Noirs” (The Black Eyes).
In an interview with The Jewish Week, Serero described the concert as a “journey to several musical genres and repertoires with a healthy dose of Jewish humor.” Noting that his nickname in London is “The Phantom of the Oy-pera,” Serero noted that many of his jokes revolve around Jewish family life.
“I went to the funeral of one of the Rothschilds,” he joked. “I couldn’t stop weeping. They asked me if I was a member of the family. I said, ‘No, that’s why I’m crying.’” Or again, “I asked my dad if my intelligence came from him.” He said, “No, your mother gave it to you. I still have mine.’”
Serero’s first feature film, released in 2010, was “Et soudain tout le monde me manque,” (Suddenly Everybody Misses Me), in which he sang the Kaddish prayer.” They needed a French opera singer who was available in August, who could recite Kaddish and who was available to work on Shabbat.”
The singer brings a sly wit, along with a spirit of pleasure and optimism, to both his life and his work. “I want everyone to have a good time. I do everything with joie de vivre.”
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