Gregory Kirschling
July 15, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Four new classical crossovers

IL DIVO Il Divo (SYCO/Columbia) Brought together by the mad scientist that is Simon Cowell, this quartet belts out pop songs like Toni Braxton’s ”Unbreak My Heart” in opera-ish Spanish, and everybody’s calling this crossover glopera ”popera.” But for all its heaving bosoms and sobbing fat men, real opera is not this schlocky or shameless. D

AMICI FOREVER Defined (RCA Victor) More popera, only better. Unlike Il Divo, this could appeal to classical fans and nonfans, since much of it takes off from actual classical music. For example, if you dig Beethoven’s Allegretto from his Seventh Symphony (and you should — it rips your guts out), you might like Amici’s take on it, ”Land & Freedom” (and vice versa). B

BOND Explosive: The Best of Bond (Decca) Four international women of mystery whose fiddle playing sounds like stringy Muzak played at Chipmunk-voices speed. But snippets of it are honestly a little infectious after a while. For a minute, ”Caravan,” a hot salsa spin on Duke Ellington’s slinky standard, actually makes you want to start a conga line. C+

THE 5 BROWNS The 5 Browns (RCA Red Seal) This is actually straight-up classical, only with a gimmick: The Browns are five young Mormon siblings who all play scorching piano. Thundering down on five Steinways together, they’re button-cute and somewhat otherworldly. The album’s four great quintets are too few. Luckily, the sibs have a multidisc deal. B+

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