Orlando: “I will love Dalida until my last breath!”

A very great complicity and total trust bound the brother and sister.


On May 2, 1987, Dalida decided that her house, screwed to the Montmartre hill, would be her tomb. Tired of fighting, she puts an end to her life. She will have, in ten languages ​​and all over the world, obtained all the triumphs but never happiness. While the biography* that he dedicated to her stands out like one builds a mausoleum of love, Orlando opened his heart to the flower of memory to France Sunday.


France Dimanche: Dalida ended her life 35 years ago and we are still talking about it… What is the secret of this timelessness?


Orlando : I never talk about her in the past tense. This longevity, we owe it to the public who carried it and was always faithful to it and to the fact that Dalida was a pioneer. She did everything before anyone else, whether on an artistic, personal or societal level. She has always known how to reinvent herself.


FD: She went through all the fashions…


O : She has always been a free and avant-garde woman. She never followed fashion, she always preceded it! His songs are the result of a crossbreeding. From an early age, she rubbed shoulders with music from the Mediterranean basin to the United States. Unconsciously, she included them in her repertoire. Her songs often illustrated her life and, towards the end, she inspired the authors who were blotters.


FD: Has his dream always been to be a star?


O : She wanted to become an artist. Hollywood made her dream. Above all, she had the will to rise. She would not have contented herself with a folding seat. She had the courage to go to Paris in 1954 to try her luck. With my cousin Rosie – who became Dalida’s secretary and confidante – we followed her six years later.


FD: What prompted you to take care of his career, when you were a singer in the early 1960s?


O : I had a voice and I made my way as a singer in Cairo, then in France. However, I am lucid. I had given myself five years to succeed. At the end of 1965, I decided to stop everything when it had already been five years since Dalida had separated from Lucien Morisse, who was taking care of her. She was managing everything on her own and was tired. So I went from singer to producer and my vocation was revealed: to put others in the light.


FD: Have you ever regretted it?


O : No. I started as an artistic director at Eddie Barclay and after four years we founded our own label [International Show devenu Productions Orlando, ndlr]. I then became the first independent producer of the song.


FD: What relationship did you have in private?


O : We were accomplices. We had the same passion for the show. Our father was concertmaster at the Cairo Opera. Dalida trusted me. I was telling him the truth. We didn’t always agree. The tone often rose because we are hot-blooded [rires]. When I am told that I have lived in Dalida’s shadow, I say that for a shadow, it’s more like sunburn! After her divorce, she became a star. I helped make him a star. She was my sunshine and she told me she was lucky to have a brother like me.


FD: What is striking about you is the love you have for him…


O : I will love her until my last breath. I have always admired the generous and strong woman. Professionally, she didn’t need anyone. I just gave him the opportunity to express himself, to flourish. You can’t make gold out of lead. I brought him a certain artistic serenity, but I couldn’t appease him in his personal life.


FD: Yet life was an offering for her. But she had difficulty in receiving it, the suffering screwed to the soul…


O : Few things could soothe her inner turmoil and yet we had the same childhood, but it’s true that young she suffered from her strabismus.


FD: From what moment did you feel that her life hurt…


O : From February 1967 when she tried to end her life in San Remo. She was never the same again. She needed another food, more spiritual, because she had no education. During what she called her “four winter years” [de 1967 à 1971, ndlr], she read the great philosophers. She did a retreat in an ashram. A sage in India convinced her that her mission was to sing.


FD: His repertoire then becomes more serious, with poignant interpretations…


O : There was the “Dalida” Bambino “, then the singer with texts. Songs, which in his eyes were deeper. Then there was the more solar period: that of disco. I am proud to have made him sing the first disco in France. During her visit to Carnegie Hall in November 1978, she caught the eye of the choreographer of Saturday Night Fever, Lester Wilson, who wanted to make her dance. Then she was the first woman to perform at the Palais des sports in Paris.


FD: In 1985, she burst onto the screen in Le Sixième Jour, by Youssef Chahine, by agreeing to grow old. The reviews are rave reviews. Didn’t she miss out on a career in the cinema?


O : She started out as an actress but was caught up in singing. She was a singing actress. As Frédéric Mitterrand so aptly put it: “We believed for a long time that she hadn’t had her chance at the cinema. The truth is that the cinema has not had the chance to find enough Dalida in its path. »


FD: She was afraid of growing old…


O : If Dalida succeeded in her career, she missed her intimate life. She was reaching an age, childless, where one becomes aware of this loneliness, with dark thoughts.


FD: Why didn’t she adopt a child?


O : She thought about it before giving up. Because of his profession, she was afraid of not raising him as he deserved, with a stable man by her side.


FD: When did death slowly dig its furrow. It was said that in his house, which attracted festive friendships, the absent had washed up…


O : For a year it had been darker and meals were scarce. The trials had consumed her. Once again, she wanted to take her destiny into her own hands to be around us like stardust…

Dominique Parravano

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