Il Divo from left to right
Urs Buhler, David Miller, Sebastien Izambard, Carlos Marin
The idea came to Simon Cowell one night as he watched The Sopranos. In that episode, Andrea Bocelli provided the background music singing "Time to Say Goodbye" with Sarah Brightman. It dawned on Cowell that classical music could be made more approachable.
Cowell wanted to put together a younger version of The Three Tenors. It took him two years, but he ultimately found what he was looking for. Appearing on The Oprah Show Cowell told Oprah Winfrey, "For me, we did this like we were putting together an opera. We found, I think, four of the best undiscovered operatic singers in the world, asked them to make an album, which was classical, but at the same time popular."
Here, then, are the four men who make up Il Divo, which is Italian meaning 'Divine Performer' or a male 'Diva:'
David Miller, Tenor, USA
Miller is a graduate of Oberlin conservatory in Ohio where he earned a BA in Vocal Performance and a Masters degree in Opera Theatre. Miller appeared as Tony in West Side Story at La Scala in Milan and on Broadway as Rodoffo in Baz Luhrman's production of Puccini's La Boheme.
Sebastien Izambard, Vox Populi, France
Sebastien Izambard is the only self-taught singer in the group. He is also an accomplished songwriter who plays guitar and piano. He has lived in Paris and produced for many other French artists. In 2001 he performed with Johnny Haliday as a guest in his sold-out performances at the Paris Olympia. In 2002 Sebastien played one of the leading roles in the Richard Cocciante penned musical Le Petit Prince.
He was working on a solo album when he joined Il Divo in 2003 and plans to contribute original material to the group's repertoire.
Urs Buhler, Tenor, Switzerland
Urs Buhler began singing publicly at the age of seventeen with Conspiracy, a hard rock band based in his hometown of Luzern, where he attended the Academy for School and Church Music. He later moved to Amsterdam, where he studied Voice at the Amsterdam Conservatory under the tutorage of Udo Reinemann. In addition to a season at the Salzburg Festival, where he sang with the choir under the direction of Claudio Abbado, Urs has spent the past seven years in Holland singing oratorios and performing with the Netherlands Opera.
Carlos Marin, Baritone, Spain
Carlos Marin established a considerable reputation singing leading roles in the Spanish versions of Les Miserables, The Man from La Mancha and Beauty and The Beast. After vocal master classes with Alfredo Kraus, Monserrat Caballe and Jaime Aragall, in recent years Carlos has charmed audiences worldwide and won critical acclaim as 'primo baritono' in many operas, including renowned works such as La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, La Boheme and Madame Butterfly.
Il Divo: The CD
Some of Il Divo's songs will be familiar like Regresa A Mi (or 'Unbreak My Heart' by Toni Braxton), Nella Fantasia (based on Gabriel's Oboe from Ennio Morricone's penned score of The Mission) and A Mi Manera (Frank Sinatra's 'My Way').
Il Divo's goal is to remind us that great arias and classic pop songs are but two sides of the same coin. Based on what I've heard so far, they've succeeded.
Here's what Simon Cowell has to say. "'Il Divo have taught me more than I have taught them. I am actually intimidated and slightly in awe of their talent! I am more proud of this album than anything else I've ever been involved with. They are going to be huge."
Il Divo's debut album will be released on April 19 in the United States, but you may pre-order it now via The Rugged Elegance World Marketplace