A night of opera

10 Oct 2018 / 10:35 H.

LAST Sunday’s concert at the Arena of Stars in Resorts World Genting saw scores of fans, most of them the not-so-young, excitedly waiting in anticipation for a night of great music from the acclaimed crossover classical quartet Il Divo.
When the lights dimmed, the enchanting Claudillea Holloway, a Malaysia-raised, British-South African actress and coloratura soprano, stepped up on stage to open the show with a commendable rendition of On My Own from Les Miserables.
She then followed up with a high-octave Italian aria of O Mio Babbino Caro before blowing the crowd away with a rendition of the late Teresa Teng’s iconic song, The Moon Represents My Heart, in Mandarin!
It was indeed an amazing prelude to the main event.
The orchestra then struck up snatches of Il Divo’s music, accompanied by videos of the quartet – Urs Buhler from Switzerland, Carlos Marin from Spain, David Miller from the US, and Sebastien Izambard from France.
Then amidst a cloud of smoke and colourful lights, Il Divo made its entrance, and the crowd went wild.
A row of 50-something women in front of me were beside themselves, and kept snapping pictures and clapping. They were practically transformed into 16-year-olds, entranced by their idols on stage.
The opening strains of the first song generated gasps of “oh, I know this one ... what is it?”.
It was Hola, the group’s cover of Adele’s mega hit Hello – sung in Spanish, complete with a fresh orchestral arrangement.
This was followed by Right Here Waiting and All of Me, and a Spanish cover of Robbie Williams’ Angels – all superbly carried with aplomb by the four.
With no respite, they continued the show with a powerful Come What May, and Elvis’ romantic Love Me Tender as well as the unforgettable Titanic theme song, My Heart Will Go On.
Each member of Il Divo was also given a chance to showcase his vocal talent.
Urs’ Die Zauberflote was amazing, while Carlos sang Granada with gusto and passion, accompanied by flamenco dancers.
There was a 15-minute intermission before the second set kicked off with a Casablanca storytelling segment in praise of romance (or romance lost).
It started with Grazie Amore Mio (Where Do I Begin) from Love Story, sung in Italian, and followed by Unforgettable, Unchained Melody, and Smile.
In-between songs, the four entertained the audience with stories of their past, and how they became singers in their own right.
On their musical longevity as a group for 15 years, Urs attributed it to their passion for singing from the heart and shared values in their work.
“We also laughed and joked about each other,” David added, saying that it helped them get by when the pressures of travelling the globe wear them down.
Sebastien’s new solo track Kingdom Come displayed some of the singer’s eclectic influences, including from modern pop bands like Coldplay and The Weeknd.

It was a refreshing change from the classical tracks the group has been offering the audience.
But the most dramatic and expressive solo was by David, who gave an emotional and explosive Vesti la Glubba Pagliacci, which ended with him weeping, along with a lot of women in the crowd too.
Obviously, he got a standing ovation for his magnificent effort.
The four ended the evening with Somewhere, after thanking their fans for their support, saying that somewhere along their career, they hope to meet up again with them.
But as they left the stage, the insatiable fans refused to leave their seats and chanted for encore.
Eventually, the musicians and Il Divo came back to deliver their 2004 hit, Regresa a Mi (Unbreak My Heart) and Frank Sinatra’s A Mi Manera (My Way) before finally bidding the audience adieu for the night.


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