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206 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Responses to some unfounded (and uninformed) criticisms
Il Divo's debut CD has subtly bridged the gap between pop and classical but positioning itself in a new musical niche. I won't spend too much time praising the singers' wonderful voices since I think many of the reviews also allude to that.

However, I've noticed that many of the more negative reviews seem to be based on some rather incorrect, inaccurate, or...
Published on May 21, 2005 by Emmanuel Chan

versus
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This review is for the dual-disc only....
This review is NOT about the 'content' of the dual-disc containing the CD and the DVD.

The content would get a five (5) star rating, although the lighting on the DVD side is a little dark in some spots.

The 'sound quality' (I am not much an expert on techology, so I do not believe I can use the correct terminology to make my point)is less than great...
Published on June 12, 2005 by Judi Fryer


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206 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Responses to some unfounded (and uninformed) criticisms, May 21, 2005
By 
Emmanuel Chan (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
Il Divo's debut CD has subtly bridged the gap between pop and classical but positioning itself in a new musical niche. I won't spend too much time praising the singers' wonderful voices since I think many of the reviews also allude to that.

However, I've noticed that many of the more negative reviews seem to be based on some rather incorrect, inaccurate, or downright ignorant perceptions or conclusions. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to respond to some of these flawed criticisms.

First, many criticisms attack the CD has being a "mockery" of pop music or classical opera. Well, anyone who is familiar with the purpose of Il Divo will realize that the CD was never meant to be pop music nor was it ever presented as classical music. Instead, the purpose of the group was to sing romantic songs using classical vocal techniques. Therefore, those who criticize the CD as being neither pop or opera are missing the whole point.

Second, many chastise that the songs have little variation in style. The CD was meant to really feature a collection of romantic songs, so it's highly unlikely that you'd find much upbeat music here. However, anyone with a good amount of musical training would realize that the 12 tracks on the CD exhibit quite a variation of styles, ranging from aria-type music to ballads, Broadway musical-type songs to straight pop/adult contemporary music. The one common thread that ties them all together is Il Divo's interpretation using classical vocal technique.

Third, a lot of the negative comments focus on the supposed lack of harmony and the observation that it sounded like all four singers were trying to outsing each other. Anyone with any classical music training would understand that in classical vocal music (i.e. opera/oratorio), the interpretation of "harmony" is quite different from that of pop music. If people were looking for pop-like harmonies where all four voices blend seamlessly into each other, they won't find it here. Classical vocal techniques don't really create that type of sound. The harmonies produced by Il Divo are more consistent with the sounds you'd hear in traditional operas (i.e. Verdi, Wagner, etc.).

Fourth, don't compare Il Divo to singers like Josh Groban. That's like comparing oranges to grapefruits. Yes, the type of music that they sing is similar, BUT the method of interpretation is very different. Josh Groban's techique is NOT classical operatic/vocal technique. As a result, Il Divo and Josh Groban are really in two close but different music genres.

Fifth, some reviewers quite ignorantly comment that Il Divo represents a sad decline in American music. Well, guess what? Il Divo does not purport to be singing American music (they're imported from Europe, in case they haven't noticed). And since when did American music become the global standard anyways? Perhaps these reviewers need to open their eyes and ears and realize that there is a much larger musical world beyond the shores of the United States. Europe has a much more developed and vibrant musical scene than the USA and when it comes to genres such as classical music, Europe is much more developed than the United States. There is a reason why Il Divo has done so well in other parts of the world even before arriving in North America.

Sixth, some reviewers suggest that the songs were not written for Il Divo's type of singing. Well, that's why Il Divo is deemed as being daring and innovative. They're taking songs from other genres (e.g. Unbreak My Heart) and reinterpreting them using new techniques. There is no point comparing it to Toni Braxton's interpretation because they are two DIFFERENT works of art. There is no right or wrong here. The same goes for Broadway musicals, which essentially was a reinterpretation of the classical opera. Again, they are two different spheres all together and trying to compare one with the other is rather silly.

Okay, after that discussion, here are some of my general comments about the CD.

1. Some improvement in the production can be strived for. Like some reviewers indicated, some tracks are softer than others, for some odd reason. However, this is a minor glitch and doesn't take anything away from the CD.

2. Il Divo is NOT a "tenor group" or "tenor quartet" as some have been calling them. In fact, Il Divo is really a mix of four very talented but very diverse singers. Carlos Marin is an operatic baritone (reminds me a lot of the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras). David Miller is a classically trained tenor but his voice resembles tenors that you'd hear in Broadway musicals. Urs Buhler is also a clasically-trained tenor but his voice resembles more the traditional opera/oratorio tenor. (Some have said that Urs' voice doesn't resonate and that he sings with no expression. Actually, Urs' voice is best when he is singing in the higher ranges. In the lower ranges, his voice doesn't project as well, which limits how expressive he can sound. But in the higher ranges, his voice is crystal clear and is quite beautiful.) Finally, Sebastien Izambard is a pop singer whose voice is interestingly quite compatible with the other 3 singers.

Overall, a wonderful start for the group. Their next CD should definitely be even better given that the group will have had more time to work with each other and to better understand each member's strengths and weaknesses. Eagerly looking forward to the next release.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This review is for the dual-disc only...., June 12, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
This review is NOT about the 'content' of the dual-disc containing the CD and the DVD.

The content would get a five (5) star rating, although the lighting on the DVD side is a little dark in some spots.

The 'sound quality' (I am not much an expert on techology, so I do not believe I can use the correct terminology to make my point)is less than great on the CD side. The sound of this group is amazing and the sound is what their work is all about. To listen to it in anything less than perfect sound quality is to deny yourself the true full beauty of their performance.

More importantly, there is a sticker on the disc (outside the sealed packaging) which indicates that the CD format may not play on all CD players. That is true, I have four CD players at home and in my car and one at work. This CD played on three of the five only. The lackluster sound quality discussed above was not related to any of the three players, but rather the CD format itself.

I cannot understand or explain why this information was not divulged before the purchaser has the CD in their possession. Of course, I can't explain either why the 'sticker' was added on after the CD was packaged, sort of like an after-thought.

Inside there is another printed notice loose in the jewel case explaining 'what' a 'dual disc' is. It also says at the end of the text that the CD might not play on all CD players.

I presume the consumer is supposed to use logic to figure ahead of time that they would not receive the exact same CD as the original as well as a DVD for the same price. Never mind that the buyer might think it is a true bargain. That isn't necessarily so. Perhaps one could be expected to know about the make-up and comlexites of a 'dual-disc'. I admit I did not have that knowledge.

If you have several players and aren't picky which ones will play the CD and if you are not necessarily interested in the fine sound quality of most CDs produced today, then by all means consider purchasing the 'dual disc' for the bargin value. Otherwise, purchase the original CD so that you can fully enjoy the great sound of this awesome group.
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323 of 366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Il Divo - A musical chocolate bar, April 20, 2005
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
Il Divo, Simon Cowell's latest brainchild, was put together through a two year search of singers from around the world. The group is comprised of David Miller (US), Carlos Marin (Spain), Urs Buhler (Switzerland) and Sebastien Izambard (France). David, Carlos and Urs are all classically trained, while Sebastien is self-taught. David was seen on Broadway a couple of years ago in <strong>La Boheme</strong>. Carlos has done several musicals and operas, notable roles including The Beast in Disney's <strong>Beauty & the Beast</strong> and Marius in <strong>Les Miserables</strong>. Sebastien appeared in <strong>Le Petit Prince</strong> in France.

Their talent is very evident on this album. Whether the lyric is in English, Spanish or Italian, these men have a great ability to express emotion through the songs, especially Carlos. Considering his stage experience, this is not surprising.

Their voices blend well together and it does not sound as if they are competing with each other.

The album is mostly mild ballads, but with varied lyrical content.

<strong>Nella Fantasia</strong> is about dreaming of a world that is just, where souls fly free .

<strong>Passera</strong> has a very interesting lyric about how songs help us through pain in life, pain that will pass.

<strong>Dentro Un Altro Si</strong> speaks of finding love again after a loss.

<strong>Regresa A Mi</strong>, a Spanish translation of Toni Braxton's <strong>UnBreak My Heart</strong>, is even better than the original.

<strong>The Man You Love</strong> is one of the most beautiful tracks, co-written by Steve Mac (<strong>Flying Without Wings</strong>).

<strong>Feelings</strong> and <strong>My Way</strong> are two of the weaker selections. They don't quite have the depth of the majority of the songs.

<strong>Unchained Melody (Senza Catene)</strong> was added for the US release of the album and it is a pleasant surprise. Rather than just use this song as another overblown ballad, it begins simply with a single voice, Sebastien, and a harp and then progresses into a beautiful crescendo.

The arrangements and orchestrations are lush and a joy to the ears. The album never seems rushed and flows very nicely.

There is nothing musically ground-breaking or astounding about it. It is simply a collection of beautiful songs, sung by beautiful voices.

It is the musical equivalent of a chocolate bar. It is rich and comforting. Sometimes that chocolate bar is infinitely more satisfying than an entire meal.

For those of us who had to import the album for a pretty penny last year, the US release is somewhat bittersweet. But it is great that these talented men are reaching a larger audience. Having already sold over 3,000,000 copies in Europe, they are already a success. American exposure will certainly only further that success.

As dinner background music, roadtrip material or a de-stress tool, this album will be a great addition to any collection.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super brilliant!!, March 12, 2005
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
This album swept me off my feet completely. The guys' voices blend so well. My favourites include Passera, Unbreak my heart and Ti amero. Absolutely beautiful!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winning Concept and A Warmly Sensitive Quartet of Men, Singing!, November 2, 2006
By 
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
As a lover of classical music this listener is frequently sent messages to 'try Il Divo' and so somewhat late in the game of their fantastic careers their music finally hits these ears. And what a wonderful surprise it is. If this qualifies as a 'crossover' album then what a treat!.

The group, assembled after a huge media hype by some notable luminaries, is comprised of David Miller (US), Carlos Marin (Spain), Urs Buhler (Switzerland) - all classically trained - and Sebastien Izambard (France) who is self-taught and retains a very likeable voice. They have tremendous sensitivity as a quartet, blending beautifully when called to do so, and bursting forth in solo spots when the songs require it. The vocal sound is very fine and makes for easy listening, the inclusion of some rather dreary sentimental schmaltzy pieces not withstanding.

As lush and beautiful as these men sing this particular recording (their first and this listener has not heard the others) is marred by some of the worst orchestrations on record: one almost wishes for a capella singing, so fine are the vocals and so over-arranged the orchestral accompaniment. But that is a minor complaint when discovering, albeit late, of a fine young group of talented vocalists. Conversion here... Grady Harp, November 06
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully, uplifting music for the soul!!, March 15, 2005
By 
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
I first saw the video for "Unbreak My Heart" on TV and it totally blew me away! Not only did the guys have the looks but also heavenly voices. There and then I decided to get this disk. What grabbed me from the start was the passion and emotion that pervades all the songs. All the songs are great although I favour "Every time I look at you". It must be the most hauntingly beautiful song ever composed, and sung with such beauty it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. This may be a group put together by Simon Cowell but it still rocks! If you like great operatic type vocals combined with light popular music to create a union so exiting, you will love this. I highly recommend it!.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Singers Prevail, November 14, 2005
By 
Sam Hunckery (WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
What a blend of vocal music genres with astonishing sounds from four men from four countries singing in different languages!

For regular listeners of classical vocal music who tend to be musically conservative, this will open your eyes and ears. The men of "Il Divo" are, without a doubt, properly trained singers in the classical genres. The quartet applys their trained vocal techniques to certain "pop" sounding passages -- their imitation of "pop-ish" lyricism rivals any singers in the music industry. I my opinion, they are arguably better singers than most "pop" singers whose popularity is supported only by marketing without a true product of talent.

For those listeners whose ears are used to popular commercial vocal music, this album will sound strictly "classical" or "operatic" to you. If you refuse listening to operatic vocal music, this album is not for you -- it may be your subsitutute of sleeping medication. However, if you are musically curious, this is a very interesting album to have -- the sound of "Il Divo" may change your mind about "old school" music.

Enjoy the sea of beautiful harmonic sound of "Il Divo"!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multilingual Music, May 20, 2005
By 
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
Four young men with extremely powerful voices provide a rich collection of English, Spanish, and Italian music that I--for one--have thoroughly enjoyed.

Some may consider the way they came together as "Il Divo" to be a cheesy revamped version of a Menudo-style boy-band endeavor, and I'll admit, it is a rather "commercialized" way of forming a singing group. I mean this group isn't the Beatles. But neither is it a Menudo remake. Personally, I could care less how they got together; after hearing their debut album, I'm just glad they did!

They come from a variety of countries, and each one brings his own strengths and talent to the group. I can certainly see "why" they were chosen. Aside from the handsome good looks (which is almost a given), the men can sing! Anyone willing to listen can see they put their hearts into the music. I'm glad they did.

Muchas Gracias para la musica, Il Divo.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It took my breath away!, October 1, 2005
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
I bought the first Il Divo album immediately after seeing the group on T.V. When I found out what a "dual disc" was I splurged and ordered that also just so I could see the guys perform. I was totally blown away. The DVD side shows these guys performing in their trademark Armani suits and looking so beautifully handsome. These are romantic songs and the guys sing so emotionally - especially Passera. I turned the surround sound up and got goose bumps. I could not believe anything could sound so beautiful: the voices harmonizing together, the solo parts, and the orchestra. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Needless to say, I have fallen in love with all the guys - especially Urs. It doesn't matter to me that some songs are in Spanish and Italian. Each song touches your soul. If you are a big Il Divo fan, you have no choice but to get the dual disc. If you have never heard or seen these babes sing, you are in for a real delight. I would recommend this album to anyone who likes pop and classical music and for those who think they might not like this, please give it a try. I don't see how you can not like it. My wish is that everyone who gets this will find the joy of listening I have found. Beware ladies, your heart will pound a little faster. That is a promise. If you're like me, you won't be able to get enough!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the young men of Il Divo, Love is still a many splendored thing!, May 24, 2006
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Il Divo (Audio CD)
It took two years for Simon Cowell and his team to assemble and ready the four men of the group now known as Il Divo. David, Carlos, Urs and Sebastien are highly talented performers with rich, vibrant voices that impart a sense of singular beauty and majesty. On this album, simply titled Il Divo, the men perform with aplomb and after they did the work we got the payoff!

The CD boasts some truly beautiful ballads that highlight the talents and skills of the four man group. "Regresa a mi (Unbreak My Heart)," is a strong yet sensitive start for the song set. The group also sings in English and Italian. For example, there is the touching honesty in the next song, "Mama." The men sing of how a person knows (only once they're older) that they weren't always easy to raise when they were growing up as a child. The song is also a type of prayer that "(hopes their mama is) happy with my life/At peace with every choice I made/How I've changed/Along the way...And I owe it all to you, mama." Some people may believe that it's lacking in style or substance or strength; but I think it's sweet. They also sing in Italian with songs like "Nella Fantasia" and the beautifully cascading "Passera."

Whether they are singing in English ("Mama"), Italian ("Nella Fantasia"), or Spanish ("Hoy que ya no estas aqui"), their voices blend very well and the musical arrangements are consistently lush. Although the lyrics are typical of pop songs, there is simultaneously a classical or even a dramatic operatic "feel" to the album that won't bore you even if you don't like classical music or opera!

The quality of the sound is excellent and the liner notes give all the lyrics and credits for the songs. There are some nice photos of the group as well. My only complaint, albeit a minor one, is that the songs in Spanish and Italian are not translated into English in the liner notes. I am obviously fluent in English; and I understood the Spanish as well. However, when they sang in Italian, I only knew that it was a song or a ballad about love or romance; I simply did not know precisely what they were singing about as the song progressed. This may bother some people but for others it will not be anything negative. It did bother me; so I am taking off one half of a star to make this a 4.5 star review. I simply couldn't enjoy the Italian songs in quite the same way as I could the others.

Overall, despite my giving this CD 4.5 stars instead of the full five stars, this excellent album displays the strong talents of Il Divo. I recommend this CD for fans of Il Divo (obviously), pop vocals, and people who just might enjoy a classical/pop twist to their music. You know, all the stars were in all the right places for this group of four men to be found and then for them to come together and record this incredible album. We are much better off for having Il Divo on the scene. Enjoy them--to life!
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Il Divo
Il Divo by Il Divo (Audio CD - 2005)
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