Downtown Oshawa experienced a little Latin ‘fuego’ last week, as concertgoers were treated to a spectacle of spine-chilling harmonies and awe-inspiring arias from Il Divo at the General Motors (GM) Centre. With the help of the Ontario Theatre Orchestra, the hockey arena was transformed into a starlit venue of classic sophistication.
For those unacquainted with the group, Il Divo is a multi-national quartet put together 13 years ago by Simon Cowell, of American Idol fame.
Their style is classic opera blurred with popular music resulting in a unique sound that straddles both genres.
The new release, Amor y Pasion, is made up of Latin-inspired music, which, with the help of the background movie screen and dance troupe, transported the GM audience out of Oshawa to the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, the New York City skyline and to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Dancers were an integral part of the show. Although they were not present in every set, their appearances added character and visual impact to the stage without detracting from the strong vocal performances. The tango scene, danced during Por una Cabeza, was most notable in the second half. The dancers, dressed in scarlet gowns, partnered with the vocalists who donned dark suites and fedoras to create a gangster scene reminiscent of the 1930s.
The show started with a rapturous overture. Four handsome men appeared at the top of the steps at the back of the stage to an explosion of lights and flames.
Spaniard, Carlos Marín had no trouble with the Spanish lyrics which dominated the first set. He even pointed out the other members had been practicing the language. It showed. Swiss-born Urs Bühler, Frenchman Sébastian Izambard and American David Miller delivered the songs Abazáme, Histroria de un Amor, Contigo en la Distancia and Quién Será with impeccable style, to match their suits.
Solo performances gave each member a chance to showcase his own skill. Urs Buhler astounded the crowd by admitting he used to front a heavy metal band in his teenage years. His performance of his favourite aria by German composer Fritz Wunderlich’s, Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz (Yours Is My Heart Alone), was haunting.
Sometimes the vibe was intimate as when Izambard and Buhler strummed guitars to Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman, and other times the performance was spectacular, like the version of Sinatra’s New York, New York.
Years of working together have molded a relaxed style among the quartet, who were happy to engage in moments of cheesy goofing around in the second half.
In addition to performing the songs from their new album, Il Divo belted out a medley of original crowd-pleasing hits, including Hymne á l’amour, Everytime I Look at you and Mama.
When the four voices sang in unison, the result was goose bumps and chills. The crowd finally got to their feet and demanded an encore.
The final song, Time to Say Goodbye, had the whole place on their feet. This exceptional talent certainly knows a thing a two about getting an older crowd going.
Oshawa was one of a handful of stops scheduled in Ontario before the foursome head west to perform in Alberta and B.C. next month.
Although the Wednesday evening show was not sold out, the enthusiastic baby boomer crowd showed their love for the group with spontaneous cheers and screams during the music breaks