Pre-eminent opera ensemble Il Devu is to perform at Tohoku University's Kawauchi Hagi Hall on October 3.
The quartet of male opera stars is composed of tenors Takashi Otsuki and Tetsuya Mochizuki, baritone Takashi Aoyama and bass baritone Koji Yamashita. They are accompanied by renowned pianist Tadayuki Kawahara.
The troupe's name, Il Devu, is a play on words, a pun on the name of the internationally famous Il Divo. "Debu" in Japanese means chubby, so the name is a self-effacing jab at the robust stature of Il Devu's five members.
All the members of Il Devu have well-established solo careers, so when the idea of singing together was first raised, it was nearly impossible to find a common time in their busy schedules to connect.
In 2011, the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake inadvertently created the opportunity to get together, as many of their individual plans were cancelled because of the damage to performance venues around the country. "The first time we sang together, I got goose bumps," says Yamashita. "It was a great feeling."
Between them, they have a vocal range spanning 3 octaves, which makes for a rich blend of harmonies on songs arranged by the group. All live performances are without microphones, supported only by pianist Kawahara's artistic sensibilities.
Il Devu release their second album on September 16, and has been singing to full houses around the country as fans flock to listen to not only classical numbers, but well known Japanese songs as well.
"There's nothing better than giving a great performance and being well received," says Mochizuki. "Adjustments have to be made for every venue, and it's fun to interact with the audience. No one performance can be duplicated, which is an exciting factor of performing live."
The concert at Hagi Hall also promises to be an exciting test of the theatre's architecturally designed acoustics, engineered for optimal sound during musical performances.
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