Some call them a hybrid. Others say they’re a crossover. Urs Buhler, the group’s Swiss tenor, prefers to just be Il Divo — the divine ones.
Founded in 2003 by entertainment mogul Simon Cowell, Il Divo consists of Buhler, American opera star David Miller, French pop artist Sebastien Izambard and Spanish baritone Carlos Marin. The internationally beloved male vocal group sings classically arranged pop tunes in Spanish, English, Italian and French.
Touring through six continents and 30 countries in support of the album “Wicked Game,” the impeccably clad quartet performs Thursday at Comerica Theatre.
Last week, Buhler took time to answer a few questions for Il Divo’s East Valley fans.
Q: Il Divo has been defined as a hybrid or crossover group. How do you describe it?
A: To me, what we’re doing is pop. It’s not classical music and it’s not opera (a musical form that tells a story). We take pop songs and we put a classical twist (on them) with the way we sing and the arrangements. ‘Hybrid’ doesn’t sound very complimentary to me, but I kind of like the term ‘crossover.’ It encompasses crossing boundaries, being creative, melding the two together. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Just call us Il Divo.
Q: You’re in the middle of a very long tour. What do you do to stay fresh night after night?
A: That’s something I was worried about when I first joined Il Divo, but I just love what I’m doing. When we do four shows in a row I want a day off, but that’s enough to get me all excited again. It works out brilliantly. Every night the crowd is different and every note you sing is a balancing act. You can never take your voice or what comes out for granted.
Q: You were classically trained but were in a heavy metal band before joining Il Divo, so you’ve covered it all. How can you enjoy such opposite genres?
A: My two favorite genres are classical music and heavy metal. They have a lot in common, funny enough. What I like about heavy metal is the virtuosity of it. Guitar players like Randy Rhoads and George Lynch or the thresh metal drummers are incredibly good at what they’re doing. I’ve studied so many years and heard so many people practicing piano or guitar 8 or 10 hours a day, 7 days a week and what they get out of their instruments blows my mind. When you listen to classical pieces, there’s a lot going on. There must be a certain feel of emotion that I’m attracted to. The difference is that one’s been written in the 20th century and the other in the 17th or 18th century. They had different ideas about themselves, but it’s the same emotion.
Q: The ‘Wicked Game’ album includes interpretations of Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ and Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata.’ What inspired you to go in a more classical strain?
A: I think it has a lot to do with our new arranger, Karl-Johan Ankarblom. He’s been working on TV and film, so this is the first studio album he’s arranged. When I heard his arrangement of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game,’ I thought, ‘That could be interesting.’ He came up with something that takes it to a different level. We take these words and this melody and take it somewhere else, where we feel inspired. Oh my word, the emotion! I think that’s what inspires our fans. We put our heart and soul into it every night and it feels wonderful. It is so uplifting. We get so much back from the audience. We spend a couple of great hours together.
Q: Which songs from your new album ‘Wicked Game’ will fans hear you perform Thursday?
A: We do most of them. There’s only two or three that we don’t do. We do ‘Come What May,’ ‘My Way (A Mi Manera)’ ‘Un-break My Heart (Regresa A Mi)’ and ‘Time to Say Goodbye’--people love that one.
IF YOU GO
What: Il Divo
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix
Information: (602) 379-2888 or www.livenation.com
Contact writer: (480) 898-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org