Italian pop-opera trio Il Volo have taken America by storm. Adam Sweeting reports
Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre is famous for its neo-Grecian decor, as well as legendary performances by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Steely Dan and the Allman Brothers. But as I found my seat, I could only see a 10-year-old kid called Ethan Bortnick, sitting at the piano in a miniature dinner suit and impersonating Louis Armstrong in a bizarre guttural growl. Then he started wisecracking to the audience like some cranky old Borscht Belt veteran. It was freak-show hell.
Luckily, Bortnick was only warming up for the main event, the Italian teenage “pop-opera” phenomenon Il Volo. As the trio of singers took the stage with their band and string section, the crowd – or at least its huge female contingent – hit the hysteria button, and remained in a state of shrieking frenzy for the next 80-odd minutes.