When Il Divo’s inexplicable fame was at its height, they travelled with an orchestra of their own. But this is expensive, and eventually they started playing with local groups when bouncing from city to city. That was the idea when they played at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater earlier this month, which was billed as “Il Divo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra”.

In one sense, the billing was correct: the ASO was on stage with Il Divo. In another, more correct sense, it’s ridiculous, because Arts ATL reports that the orchestra was used as “musical props” and told to mime along to the music. Sources say that while the orchestra was on stage playing, the musicians weren’t mixed into the sound heard by the audience. Instead, the crowd paid between $40-$130 to hear the quartet sing to pre-recorded music.

“There was a sense of disbelief,” said one of the musicians. “I wondered why on earth they wanted to book the Atlanta Symphony for this gig if they didn’t want to hear the Atlanta Symphony.”

As one source tells it, Il Divo aren’t used to playing with such a major orchestra, and therefore had music pre-recorded to hide any inefficiencies, but the ASO are far from amateur. As the article points out, they’re the winners of 27 Grammy Awards. Il Divo have won zero.

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