Il Divo has 99 Problems but Variety Ain’t One

Good afternoon, dilettantes! I know this week I’m due to put up the next episode of the Podcast, and I will- but I’m also featuring this entry to tide you over in the meantime.

As you know, crossover artists are a hot topic of conversation here on Puccini’s Chronicles. We are continually examining the many forms it can take and whether or not it’s done effectively. And here is Il Divo: Simon Cowell’s baby, so to speak, and his contribution to the phenomenon that includes Susan Boyle and Jackie Evancho. The quartet is made up of four men from four different countries: France, America, Spain, and Switzerland. It can easily be argued that these “operatic pop stars” are a watered down Hollywoodization (pardon the phrase) of true opera singers, but they certainly have the pipes and tend to branch out into other genres of music as well.

That’s where their CD A Musical Affair comes in. On this record, Il Divo pays tribute to what they call great songs of musical theatre. While browsing Target one afternoon, I almost bought it- until I saw the track listing. Most of the songs themselves were indeed very good, but that’s just it…they were the most cliche numbers you could include on a musical theatre album, and done to death by other performers. I was very discouraged at the lack of variety. Bottom line, folks: when FOUR tracks on your “compilation” came from the Andrew Lloyd Webber songbook and NONE were written by Cole Porter, there’s a problem.

If I were in charge of this album, this is the roster I would put together. I’ve kept the same number of tracks as the actual record and even the same featured duet partners. I have just changed the songs…

  1. “Memory” feat. Nicole Scherzinger
  2. “All Through the Night” feat. Kristin Chenoweth
  3. “Some Enchanted Evening”
  4. “Maria”
  5. “Bring Him Home”
  6. “But Not for Me”
  7. “If Ever I Would Leave You”
  8. “Nine (Reprise)”
  9. “Circle of Life” feat. Heather Headley
  10. “Being Alive”
  11. “Luck Be a Lady” feat. Michael Ball
  12. “The Music of the Night” feat. Barbra Streisand

I think this is a much more well-balanced roster in terms of represented composers. As it stands, the actual CD feels like a missed opportunity to me. What do you think of Il Divo’s A Musical Affair?

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