Ever since Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" a became mainstream sensation back in the 1980s, crossover classical music -- or pop-opera or even "popera" -- has been a minor but constant presence in popular music. Whether it's the Three Tenors, Charlotte Church or Andrea Bocelli, there's always an act or two on the scene that combines classical training and style with familiar and easily digestible songs.
The biggest of those acts these days is Il Volo, the very young (the oldest member is 20) and wildly popular Italian trio who hit the international big time three years ago with a recording of "O Sole Mio." They'll be in Tampa on Friday for a concert at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble are in the midst of a massive tour of North and South America, with seldom more than a day or two off in a row from Aug. 25 (Vancouver) to Nov. 12 (Sao Paolo).
They have the kind of rabid following that's usually reserved for teen pop stars. People who don't care for pop arrangements of operatic songs -- or for opera-flavored versions of pop standards -- generally don't see what all the fuss is about.
But it's undeniable that all three members of the trio have really pretty, schooled voices and a polished stage presences, and that they have the kind of innocent good looks that appeal to both teenage girls and their moms.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20, Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets: $53.45-$104.85. Information: 813-301-2500, www.tampabaytimesforum.com.
-- Marty Clear