Monday 26 September 2016

Popularisation or dumbing down: Il Volo sing The Three Tenors

Il Volo
Il Volo is an Italian singing trio (Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, Gianluca Ginoble), combining operatic style voices with a pop ethos, created in emulation of the success of The Three Tenors. Unlike the original Three Tenors, I am not sure whether the members of Il Volo have any stage operatic experience, but they have created a striking product, are certainly photogenic and they represented Italy in the 2015 Eurovision Song Competition. 

The group's arena concert in Florence in July, Un Notte Magica, is being released as a CD and DVD this week. Not a specially noteworthy event for this blog, perhaps, except that the concert included an appearance from Placido Domingo, one of the legendary original three tenors (and the event also had the support of the Fondazione Luciano Pavarotti).

I have to confess that I was always rather doubtful of the original Three Tenors phenomenon, but at least you knew that three (Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo) were able to give creditable (and more) performances as Calaf in Turandot live on stage as well as belting out 'Nessun dorma' in an arena with the benefit of significant amplification. Undoubtedly the singers in Il Volo have operatic style voices, but as none of them is over 25 even if they could sing Calaf they certainly shouldn't be singing that sort of repertoire yet. So you are left with the conundrum, if opera singers can turn crossover then why shouldn't other singers seek to emulate the same style? So is it popularisation or dumbing down?

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