Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins at The O2
This Friday the O2 hosted a particularly cosmopolitan concert with classical crossover group Il Divo (Swiss Urs Buhler, American David Miller, French Sebastien Izambard and Spanish Carlos Marin) co-headlining with Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. The group collaborated with Jenkins as part of their celebratory tour, commemorating not only ten years in the business, but also the minor matter of 26 million album sales.
The boys commence with My Heart Will Go On, an opener that goes down well with the predominantly female audience, ranging from early 20-somethings to those who would have thrown underwear at Tom Jones several decades earlier. Il Divo dress immaculately in Giorgio Armani, like a latter-day operatic Rat Pack but lacking the easy banter of Sinatra, Martin and Davis, and with less cigarettes, whiskey and salty language.
Taking turns to introduce themselves, they attempt unsuccessfully to project charisma, with the exception of Carlos Marin who overdoes the louche Latino lothario routine. Requests for the phone numbers of any single ladies in the house occur with regularity, as do compliments to women in the crowd. But he’s easily forgiven, solely and simply due to his magnificent baritone voice. All four are vocally agile and consummately skilled, but Carlos soars, those formidable booming lungs beating the audience into pleasurable submission.
As they take a brief break, Jenkins arrives with the breathtaking Habanera from Carmen, a highpoint unmatched by any of her other solo performances of the evening, equalled only by her collaboration with Il Divo on Somewhere from West Side Story.
Much of the material is unchallenging but crowd-pleasing – notably Without You, I Will Always Love You and Can’t Help Falling in Love. Their finale is particularly potent and rousing: a cover of Time to Say Goodbye, famously sung by Andrea Bocelli, the inspiration for the quartet’s creation.
The group have been oft derided as “opera-lite” and vehicles for the dumbing down of high art, but try telling that to the beaming faces leaving the venue. Il Divo know their audience, they know what buttons to push, and they do this ever so well.
Photos: Bartek Odias
For further information about Il Divo and future events, visit here.
For further information about Katherine Jenkins and future events, visit here.
Watch a live performance of Somewhere here