In just a couple of weeks, Palm Beach Opera is presenting one of the most famous operas ever, La Traviata for three nights. On January 18th and 20th, the opening and closing nights, patrons will see world-renowned soprano, Joyce El-Khoury and tenor, Georgy Vasiliev take on the roles of Violetta and Alfredo Germont.
On Saturday, the 19th, the opera-singing couple of David and Sarah Joy Miller will perform opposite each other as Violetta and Alfredo Germont. David is one member of the opera/pop singing quartet, Il Divo. Il Divo has many fans that travel around the world to see them perform – and David without the rest of the group is no exception. There are at least 30 people traveling far and wide to come see David and Sarah Joy right here in West Palm Beach.
I reached out to one of these super-fans because I just had to know what it’s like to be such a dedicated fan. Sue Blancato is a 60-something year-old woman from North Carolina who says she loves great music and will go wherever she can to support great musicians. Blancato credits her husband and two sons who have helped make her musical adventures possible. She is the driving force behind a large group that is making its way to our area from all around the country.
The following is how Sue answered some of my questions:
Amanda Kahan: Can you tell me a bit about the large group you have coming?
Sue Blancato: The group is made up of Il Divo, David, and Sarah Joy fans as well as their friends. We have members of the group coming as far away as Seattle, Detroit, Ohio, Pittsburgh, New York City, North Carolina, and several from all over Florida.
AK: How was the group assembled?
SB: I initially posted on Il Divo’s official forum when we found out David and Sarah Joy would be performing. I also tweeted and posted on Facebook that I was organizing a group. Thank goodness for social media!!
AK: Do you have any history with David and Il Divo in terms of fan club interaction?
SB: I became a member of Il Divo’s Official Fourm in 2006 after I was told of the group by a friend who had heard them in Europe. From what I understand there was more personal interaction with the group in the early years, now it is more difficult due to the number of fans. I have made many wonderful friends from the members of the forum.
AK: Have you met David and Sarah Joy or the group?
SB: I’ve been to over 35 Il Divo concerts on 3 continents and an island with several Meet and Greets. In 2007, David had a solo Christmas Concert in Chicago where he introduced us to Sarah Joy. That was where my true love of their voices started. In September of 2008, I went to NYC to hear David participate in Broadway Gives Back at the Town Hall Theater. I followed Sarah Joy while she was a member of the fabulous Three Graces for several concerts and am still an active member of her “Street Team.” We do grass roots PR. I was fortunate to meet David and Sarah Joy at a reception for a benefit concert they participated in New Jersey in 2008.
I have made several quilts that Il Divo has signed and were auctioned on eBay for their charity, AMTM (Assistance Medicale Toit du Monde). It’s a Paris-based organization that helps the Buddhist refugees from China settling in Nepal.
AK: What first got you interested in Il Divo?
SB: Years ago I started listening to Josh Groban. I enjoyed the way he would give popular music that ‘operatic’ flavor. When I heard Il Divo, it was all over. Their music has an ethereal sound. I grew up with opera, so hearing them sing in different languages wasn’t an issue. I’ve learned to hear the voice as a instrument of it’s own. The Il Divo ‘instrument’ is enjoyed by all ages and they have created a genre of their own!
AK: How long have you been following them?
SB: Since 2005.
AK: What is the farthest distance you’ve traveled to see David and/or Il Divo perform?
SB: The farthest I’ve gone to see Il Divo would be South America; Peru, Argentina and Chile. I’ve gone to Detroit to see David and Sarah Joy and plan to go to Dallas in May to hear Sarah Joy. I once said I’d go to the moon to hear them sing but now that our space program has been dissolved guess I’ll have to stick with here on Earth.