Il Divo with special guest Michael Ball performing their Timeless Castles And Country Tour at Belvoir Castle Nottinghamshire on Friday 20th July.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It was muggy and cloudy last night at Belvoir Castle but that did not deter this packed audience who were thoroughly entertained by Il Divo, a multinational classic crossover quartet who were the creation of music industry raconteur Simon Cowell some fifteen years ago.

But warming up the crowd was our very own Michael Ball, a singer who is simply a powerful musical machine having begun his career in the West End over 30 years ago. With his humble charisma and charming manner, he had this audience in the palm of his hand from the off. Starting his set with Labri Siffre’s (Something Inside) So Strong and following up with John Farnham’s You’re The Voice, Ball’s voice resounded around the ground magnificently.

Dressed in a baby-blue jacket and matching waistcoat, he was easy to spot on a stage that housed a 16 piece orchestra and as he treated his fans to The Lion King’s He Lives In You, it was easy to see why he has become a bit of a national treasure. An undoubted highlight was his note perfect, utterly stunning version of Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar, which clearly moved the audience who stood to applaud him, as they did for the song many had come to hear, Empty Chairs At Empty Tables from his time playing Marius in Les Miserables.

Bringing the set to a close with his trademark song, Love Changes Everything and Elvis Presley’s The Wonder Of You, Ball, with a perennial twinkle in his eye, left the stage to huge applause.

Then it was time for Il Divo who came onto the stage in front of screens which showed pictures of them over the fifteen years that they have been together. With a remarkable ability to blend operatically trained vocals with classical music, their fans were swept away by exquisitely, audaciously and at times chillingly performed songs from all genres.

Made up of French pop singer Sebastien Izambard, Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, American tenor David Miller and Swiss tenor Urs Buhler, Il Divo are individual singers who possess quite sizable voices, and who share vocal duties for most of their set list.

With a new album entitled Timeless not due out until August, they delivered some songs from it such as the delightful Love Me Tender, the lovely All Of Me and the moving Angels. Toni Braxton’s Un-Break My Heart (Regresa A Mi) was given a different slant and Leonard Bernstein’s Somewhere from West Side Story went down a treat with this audience who hung on to their every note.

With Marin flirting his way through the set, much to the delight of the ladies in the audience, these sophisticated charmers roused everyone with Senza Catene and their version of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love you.

With rain threatening to dampen proceedings, this audience was having none of it as they rose to their feet in appreciation as My Way was belted out in only the way Il Divo can, bringing an end to a thoroughly engaging and entertaining evening in a fabulous setting.