Photo: Hillel Maeir, TPS / Il Divo's Urs Buhler overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem last Wednesday, December 16.
Il Divo's Urs Buhler recently visited Israel, touring the country's major cities and sites. The Swiss tenor, who has performed all over the world with Il Divo, the international pop/opera crossover quartet with millions of fans across the globe, had never before visited the Holy Land.
"It's been absolutely fascinating being here for this short amount of time," Buhler told Tazpit Press Service in an interview last Wednesday of his four-day visit from December 14-17.
Buhler particularly enjoyed visiting Jerusalem, which he said was unlike any other city in the world. "You can find similar beach cities like Tel Aviv but Jerusalem is completely different."
"I cannot imagine another city in the world where there is so much going on, so much diversity, and such stark contrasts between religions and ideologies," Buhler said.
"I haven't felt unsafe for a second," Buhler noted, in light of city's current security situation . "I'm really happy to be here and I'm enjoying every moment."
"I'm not really practicing religion these days, but even if you're not spiritual, there's something truly amazing about this city. It cannot be a coincidence that the largest part of the world population sees this city as the epicenter of the world's religions," he told TPS.
Buhler grew up Catholic in his native Switzerland and explained that as a child, he would sing biblical texts in the church choir and later on, as a classical singer. Church music became a major part of his solo career before he joined Il Divo. "I got to visit all these biblical settings in Israel that I've sung about throughout my career. To actually be on the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane was unreal."
"I should have visited Israel 20 years ago - being here adds a completely different dimension to everything I've done in my artistic life as a classical singer," said Buhler, who has been performing with Il Divo since the band was first formed by British TV talent judge and music producer, Simon Cowell, 12 years ago.
"I believe that anyone who is religious, should come here - it will change everyone's spiritual experience of their religion," he commented.
During the visit, Buhler also managed to pack in an Enrique Iglesias concert, who performed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, December 16. The classical singer, who is a resident of Andorra, also visited Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Zichron Yaakov in the north.
The Israel Ministry of Tourism helped to organize the trip for Buhler, together with Traci Szymanski, a Hollywood executive who works in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, and has brought many celebrities and music stars to Israel.
"I would love to perform here with Il Divo," said Buhler, who pointed out to Caesarea or Jerusalem's Sultan Pool as potential venues. "This country has the perfect backdrop for our kind of music and audiences."
"It's always been a goal of Il Divo to perform before an Israeli audience and I can't wait to do so in the future!"
The Armani-clad multinational male quartet sings operatic renditions of pop songs, which have sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Il Divo's new album 'Amor & Pasion' was recently released in November.
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