Operatic crossover megastars Il Divo may come from the Simon Cowell stable of commercially sound investments but, for once, this should not denigrate the group's authenticity. In a rather old-fashioned way, Cowell had the idea for a classical crossover group, supposedly inspired by the popularity of Andrea Bocelli's version of 'Con Te Partirò' ('Time to Say Goodbye'), and set about a talent search.
That he did so away from the glare of a text-voting public bestowed a degree of sincerity on his four charges, Urs Bühler (tenor, Swiss), Sébastien Izambard (pop singer, French), David Miller (tenor, American) and Carlos Marín (baritone, Spanish).
The quartet came together back in 2004, before Cowell's every move, nip and tuck was documented in a leering press, and the result represents his greatest triumph. Alongside, of course, convincing the public to buy things they never knew they needed.
Since then, Il Divo have proved to be so much more than easy going, operatic Granny-pleasers, registering global record sales in excess of 25 million albums and venturing out on three world tours in the process.
A new record, their sixth, is set for release at the end of November and is sure to feature in Christmas stockings everywhere. The foursome will be hoping that 'Wicked Game' will bring them their fourth UK No 1 and their second US chart-topper. It will probably achieve both and no doubt will put Il Divo on top form for the UK and Ireland leg of their world tour next year.
Il Divo launch their huge spring tour at the SECC in Glasgow on 1st April, followed by arena dates in Newcastle, Belfast, Dublin, Sheffield, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff, before the final two dates at the Royal Albert Hall on 17th and 18th April 2012.
We will have tickets available for all shows when they go on sale at 9AM on Friday 14th October, priced typically from £29.50 for the UK dates and from around 50 for Dublin.