Just knowing that American Idol's Simon Cowell was somehow involved in packaging and promoting the four multi-interNational Singers known collectively as Il Divo left me a bit wary about seeing them perform live. But, these good looking gentlemen with their operatic voices definitely have that certain "something" that appeals to a wide range of people. And, judging by the response of the crowd at the Fox Theatre (July 10, 2009), they're likely to be around for a while.
A lush overture by a four piece band complemented by a dozen or so string players kicked off the night, setting the proper mood before Il Divo took to the stage. Your tolerance for their unique mash-up of pop tunes with operatic vocals will dictate how much this show will appeal to you. This is a very slick production with a wonderful set and dynamic, dramatic lighting. In fact, the entire show is very tightly structured, maybe even a little too structured.
Some of the numbers they covered for this performance included: "Somewhere" (West Side Story), "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon/Garfunkel), "Without You" (most would say Harry Nilsson, but Pete Ham from Badfinger actually penned the tune), "Unbreak My Heart" (Toni Braxton), "The Winner Takes it All" (ABBA), and a host of other ballads. As you scan this list you're probably asking yourself, "Wait, aren't all of those songs ballads?" Well, that's my real issue with the group. They're superbly talented vocalists; each with an identifiable style, but the set list leans too heavily on down tempo tunes full of bombast, and sung with exaggerated emotion. But, hey the crowd ate it up, so there is definitely an audience for this type of hybrid material.
The group consists of: French singer Sebastian Izambard, Spanish baritone Carol Marin, Swiss Tenor Urs Buhler, and American tenor David Miller. Each singer gets their individual moments to shine, whether trading off verses, or taking the lead on a particular number. The lyrics are sung in a variety of languages, but the music is so familiar that you'll immediately recognize the songs in spite of this.
Il Divo is unique, and if they experiment a bit more with tempos and harmonies, they stand a strong chance of getting some singles on the pop charts (their albums are already selling quite well). I may not be much of a fan of Simon Cowell, but damn, he does seem to have a knack for ferreting out talent.