The music video for IL DIVO’s monstrous
international hit song "Regresa a Mi" is marketing at its best, and, I
have to admit, successful, employing that time-tested
rags-to-recognition story. In this case, the nearly cliched storyline
is given a new face and it works.
More than this, short films and music
videos have to focus on expressions and body language that advance the
story quickly and with less effort than regular feature films. This is
tricky because the performances can easily slide into maudlin,
disastrously cheeseball and overtly dramatic. Here, the performances
are reigned in well enough to avoid this effect, on the whole.
As the video begins, we see the tenors
leaving their homes, families, and countries to travel to their new
home, which in this video is a crowded sound stage complete with an
orchestra. They’re in the act of preparing the song, "Regresa a Mi" for
a debut performance. Their vignettes of the past, of leaving, are woven
in with scenes of their rehearsal. For example:
Urs not only is leaving his family and
homeland but his lover. We see him followed by a throng of townspeople
down to the old fashioned train that he hops on. As the train pulls
away, he stands at the window and waves to his dark-haired,
Sebastian, on the other hand, worked
with his brothers and father at the shipping dock at the local village.
When he leaves, we see him approach his brothers and father to say
goodbye. His brothers give him a hearty goodbye hug. But his father
stands aloft, continuing to work. Sebastian begins to walk away but
turns, as if he is going to approach his father. And though his father
stops working, and for a split moment appears as if he himself is going
to turn toward his son, he holds back and looks to the wood planks he
so solidly standing on. Sebastian turns slowly and walks away.
Carlos has much more at stake by
leaving. We see him standing on the street, looking up to an open
window on the second floor of an old Spanish villa. A young woman
stands there, holding a wrapped infant tightly in her arms. She is
obviously not happy with him and Carlos reaction is one of reciprocity
and understanding. He’s torn from this decision. We can see it in the
way he looks at her, in the way he stands, and in the way he carefully
David’s story, however, is not as
emotionally involved as Sebastian’s or Carlos’. We simply see him walk
away from his job as a steel worker. (I’d leave that job for anything,
even working the fryer at McDonalds.)
One by one, these three tenors and
a baritone walk onto the sound stage, complete with a full orchestra
and a smiling conductor who comes up to greet them. As they rehearse
the song with the orchestra and voice coaches, we see forlorn glances,
a telling worry peeking out behind their eyes and sitting upon their
brows, wondering if they made the right decision in leaving what they
had and knew. We see them holding a bound catalog of sheet music, each
worn from nervous rolling and bending and marking and dog-earing. We
sense they are making this work because they are sacrificing so much.
And as they practice, we can’t help but
be caught up in the haunting melody that took Toni Braxton to the top
of the charts when she sang the English version "Unbreak My Heart" back
in the 90's.
But this Spanish version is utterly
mesmerizing. The translation has a soft, airy quality in which the long
vowel sounds dominate and allow the flow of the song to move you. You
could bask in them forever if you could. There exist no heavy guttural
sounds or disrupting cacophony throughout the song. And regarding their
voices, these four tenors have rich voices that dance perfectly around
each other’s harmony.
So, by the time that these four tenors
walk onto a stage in an old opera house filled to capacity with erudite
and sophisticated patrons, we know they have the quality to impress.
And impress the audience they do, as they sing the final chorus with
that tenor-like fortissimo that makes opera the beloved spectacle that
it is. The video concludes with the audience on their feet. They’ve won
over their hearts and we’ve gone along for the journey.
To see the video Regresa a Mi, click here
Who is IL DIVO?
Simon Cowell, yes, the very Simon of the American Idol
fame, and his marketing team have put together a noteworthy boy band
called IL DIVO –David Miller, Urs Buhler, Carlos Marin, and Sebastien
What makes IL DIVO different than New
Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, etc. is that they are four
formally trained tenors. So, ummmm.....they can really sing. Check out
the link to their video "Regresa a Mi" and see for yourselves.
Consider for a moment their biographies:
David Miller (America) is a graduate of
Oberlin conservatory in Ohio; he has a BA in Vocal Performance and a
Masters in Opera Theater. He has sung over 45 operatic and musical
leading roles with opera companies throughout North and South America.
The latest role on Broadway was in Baz Luhrman’s acclaimed La Boheme.
Urs Buhler (Switzerland) studied voice
at the Amsterdam Conservatory and spent over seven years singing
oratorios and performing with the Netherlands Opera.
Carlos Marin (Spain), the baritone of
the group, has established an illustrious resume that includes leading
roles in the Spanish versions of Les Miserables, The Man From La
Mancha, Beauty and the Beast, La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, La
Boheme, and Madame Butterfly.
Sebastien Izambard (France) is the only
self-taught singer in the group, which isn’t meant to be taken that he
is not skilled or experienced. He’s an accomplished songwriter and
performed a leading role in Richard Cocciante’s musical Le Petit
IL DIVO’s first DVD is a world-wide
phenomenon. Sales for their album are impressive. They are 4x Platinum
in Britain, 3x Platinum in Ireland, 2x Platinum in Australia and
Canada, and Platinum (sold over 1 million units) in Finland, Hong Kong,
New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the United States. Sales have passed
Gold status (sold over 500,000 units) in Austria, Belgium, France,
Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
My favorite songs from their CD are
"Regresa a Mi" and "Nella Fantasia", which is the song based off of
Gabriel’s Oboe from Ennio Morricone’s score to the motion picture The Mission.
There are many fine songs in this
collection, especially "Moma" which pulls at your heart-strings a bit
too much but nonetheless is touching. Maybe in their sophomore effort,
they will limit the pop-opera aspects and rearrange some classical
works, like Sarah Brightman did with "Nessun Dorma."
To visit there website and sample a few of the tracks that have been released (Regresa A Mi, Mama, and Nella Fantasia) go to http://www.ildivo.com/
Note: Thanks to the members of the
IL DIVO forum at ildivo.com for pointing out a couple of silly
discrepancies with my article. Yes, Carlos is the baritone. (I
referred to them as the four tenors because that is how I was first
introduced to them.) And Regresa a Mi is Spanish, not
Italian. For this latter error, I am most ashamed of.
11:17:15 PM | |