Since Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca returned to Italy after the Australian tour, there has been a lot of new news that has brought many new things.
First of all, we recall that the boys had said that as soon as they returned to Italy they would prepare the Christmas event and for those who don’t remember, Il Volo will sing in Bethlehem, Palestine, in front of the grotto of the nativity.
This news had already been given by Il Volo during this year’s Porta a Porta(see the post Porta a Porta 2022 of 12/05/2022).
But where will this beautiful concert be broadcast? At the beginning it was said RAI1, but recently Mediaset has published this news:
“In prime time, on Canale 5, among the various appointments scheduled there is the one with a new concert that will have the three tenors of Il Volo as protagonists, the concert event of Il Volo will be broadcast on the evening of Saturday 24 December in prime time evening on Canale 5 and will mark the return of the three tenors in prime time.”
Mediaset also announces two event evenings with Il Volo, probably in 2023, but nothing is known about it.
Regarding the news, from Il Volo in Bethlehem, OlgaMaria made this nice video, great job!!
Then, these photos of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were published, made in the Sony recording studios in Milan to record…….
….we read the news in this article, of which I translate only the final part.
Il Volo is ready to write the history of music again with a new song that will certainly galvanize the beloved audience.
Everything is still in working in progress mode, but the dream for enthusiasts will soon become reality. The new project of the three tenors, Ginoble-Boschetto-Barone hasn’t discovered all the cards yet, but it won’t be long before everything is realized.
Fans can already raise their antennas, also because the date scheduled for the release of the new single is in December, on the occasion of Christmas.
In the last photo published by the group, we can highlight the commitment and dedication that the three tenors are releasing to make their new ‘creature’ full of twists and turns.
However, the fans have no doubt that the boys will do their best to create an unforgettable atmosphere, typical of major events, as indeed has happened so far.
Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca had just been in Italy when Gianluca published the news that they are returning to the US, but only for a couple of days. Destination Orlando, Florida!!!
After a moment of perplexity, from the clues our boys sent us, it was immediately clear that they were coming to Orlando to participate in the “Disney Christmas Parade”, immediately the fandom was shaken by the good news.
And indeed here they are, in these few “stolen” shots, in all their beauty…..damn what sparkling jackets!! 🤩
And what about this short video, I really like their version of “So This is Christmas”, will this be the single that will be released this Christmas?
I hope so, I really like this song and sung by them. It seems very beautiful, I hope to hear it many times everywhere this Christmas.
Moments recorded in the Disney Park will be broadcast like this:
“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration”, Sunday 27 November (20:00-22:00 ET). IL VOLO will sing “Adeste Fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful)” and it will air on ABC and stream the following day on Hulu and Disney+.
“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade”, Sunday 25 December (10am to 12pm ET / 7am to 9am PT), and Il Volo will sing “ ”Buon Natale (War is Over)” will air on ABC, streaming live on Hulu for all subscribers.
And then, of course, as you already know, their new book was published:
“IL VOLO What I Carry in the Heart”
I can tell you that I read it all in a few hours. It’s not very long, but really nice.
Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero have expressed their feelings with words that come directly from their heart, once again they make us understand the love for their families, they have carried out an introspective research with such humility. In a couple of steps I was moved.
I want to conclude this post with a sentence written by each of our beloved boys, in the new book:
“I am perfectly aware that I would not be who I am today, that I would not live this wonderful life, that I would not be able to enjoy the immense gift of doing what I love, were it not for my family……Each of my family members is an example for me, an inspiration, a model to look to to bring out the best in me.
A source of energy, when sometimes fatigue risks and has risked taking over.
A ray of sunshine on the grayest days.” ❤
The last two years have not been easy at all: the pandemic and the loss of my father have contributed significantly to my anxiety about wasting time and an ever greater will to live. I have become more vulnerable ………… I know that from the outside I give the impression of being a light-hearted, cheerful person. The fact is that the job I do often carries with it a profound contradiction.” ❤
“There were not only applause and successes, but also difficult moments, decisions that were not easy to make. And we did it together. If on the one hand the fact of being three meant the constant presence of two friends to refer to, two people who fully shared my hopes and my uncertainties, on the other it also meant always being a third of something and therefore risking never being able to fully express myself, because between us there is no frontman, we are three leaders and each in a different way.” ❤
I was about to send the post to Pat for publication, but the news follows one another very quickly, and in fact, the release of the new single has been published on Il Volo’s official website.
This photo is beautiful and Il Volo’s performance of one of the Christmas songs par excellence will certainly be beautiful: “HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER), by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, out digitally on Friday 18 November (Epic / Sony Music) and now available in pre-save and pre-add here:
IL VOLO comments on the choice of song as follows: “HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER), song from 1971, published then to launch a message of peace against the Vietnam War. Today, despite more than 50 years having passed, the madness of war continues to be part of our world. As Christmas approaches, we feel even more the desire to sing and continue to give life and strength to this song, an eternal Hymn to Peace.”
Wow, Wow, Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero, how many beautiful surprises you are preparing for us and we are here, ready to receive them, to support you and to show you, as always, our great love!!
But now let’s enjoy this beautiful Christmas gift from your wonderful voices, what a great gift!! ❤❤❤
Here is a snippet of the song and video:
(You will need to have an Instagram account to view this – it was slow to load for me. I had to click on it more than once. Also try clicking on the blue words “View more on Instagram”. The video is there. I’m sorry if you cannot get it to work.)
You read that right, “When the Stars Aligns!” I’m talking about our guys, not the planets. This is the part of the story where I see the guys on a road trip to their destiny! Destination Ti Lascio Una Canzone. Gianluca starting from Montepagano, Ignazio starting from Marsala and Piero starting from Naro! Put that in your GSP and let’s go! It is the road trip of a lifetime.
I wonder what their parents were thinking! Were they thinking, “If my son doesn’t make the cut will he be very disappointed and how will I console him?” Or were they thinking, “If my son makes the cut what happens next?” They were probably thinking how do we get to Rome and deal with this audition! Let the chips fall where they may!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, they have to be invited to audition. No one just picks up a phone and says, “Hey! How would you like to audition for the second edition of the hottest new show on RAI, Ti Lasci Una Canzone!” Or do they?
Let’s see how the guys were invited to audition.
We begin, as always, with Piero. He is at the point where his voice is changing. So, we listen to what happened over those two years and where Piero went from there….
That moment of change is something excruciating because you cannot sing, so no longer being a white voice, I had to leave the chorus. But Marisa Bonfiglio did not let me go like this, ‘Goodbye, Piero, see you soon,’ she cared about me and then helped me again: she took me to Palermo to a conservatory professor, a tenor. That master’s verdict was again: ‘Let’s wait.’
But in the wait I could not remain completely silent.
In reality, the wait for the change of voice lasted less than I thought, because towards the fourteen and a half years my voice had already matured.
In the meantime, every now and then I would sing the Ave Maria at weddings (very little, in order not to risk ruining my voice), and so I earned my first money with music: they paid me a hundred euros and I settled with that money.
To say, in times of ‘crisis’ my mom wanted to buy something for the house? ‘Mom, I have the money,’ I told her because I could always put the money aside, always.
I went to my grandfather to make a musical base with the keyboard, and he gave me ten euros, tips and gifts that I saved to make me a nest egg.
And then there were the cups. At home I have a full wall. In Sicily it is used to make things big, so when you win a festival they give you huge cups, two meters by four, heavy, bigger than you.
But how did I start making regional festivals? With the school.
And here a great chapter opens up.
So, I went to school, of course, but I never liked school. I just went there to have fun. I was there and I had fun with friends, always sitting at the first desk, but I was also the one who made the most mess.
In elementary school no music was played, so I had less fun. But I knew that in middle school there would be the music lesson. But not only that, I was even told what was done in this lesson of music and how was the teacher.
And what did we do as a first lesson on the first day? We sang! Professor Nisi called everyone one by one in alphabetical order and made everyone sing.
I could not wait because the teacher was not from Naro, so she did not know me, she did not know that I was already singing.
So, I was looking forward to that day to arrive the first day of school, the first hour of music, getting up to sing.
I was the second on the list. The professor calls ‘Baldacchino’ and Baldacchino sings; in short, a normal thing. Then she calls ‘Barone’ and I sing, ‘Un Amore Così Grande’, my battle horse from that afternoon under the carob tree in the garden of Riolo.
In practice, from there I started, and I never stopped: with the schools there were musical reviews, and the music teacher brought me to make them all.
I did the first Valledolmo festival singing ‘Un Amore Così Grande’ again, and I finished third. I remember it as it was yesterday: I with a tuxedo, all classic, pulled.
After Valledolmo I went to Vallelunga, I won that festival and from then on, I won them all.
Three years of middle school, three years of regional music festivals. Until it has arrived, and their return, the change of voice, between the thirteen and fourteen and a half years.
So, what happens? When I resume singing, I’m in high school, an accounting school, and there’s no music, no music teacher and no festival.
But is it possible that I could quit like that, to participate in festivals?
My father took the situation into his own hands, and I started again.
I won them all. One summer I took part in six festivals, and I won all six.
I sang ‘La Voce Del SiIenzo’ and ‘Un Amore Così Grande,’ I arrived and all the guys who saw me already knew that I would ruin them the evening.
I had a lot of fun, I accumulated cups – always two meters by four – and I was more and more convinced that if there was one thing I want to do in life it was singing, living for and with music.
For Piero music was more important than school. He explains his studies this way….
…. I can say that I was always ordered, I was not rude and not even a licker (suck up to someone), but I was studying only the necessary, I did what I could. It is not that I did not study because of bad will, it was that I had other projects and the professors knew and understood it. I was not a tramp that ran from morning to night with the motorbike, I was one who was at home studying piano, solfeggio, I had many commitments, I always had something to do.
In the country I was known, I never smoked a cigarette, never used drugs of any kind, I never went to the disco, I never did stupid. In short, never. If you listen to my father, he will surely tell you about the wheelie with the motorbike. It was the only thing that did not go right down, the friends told him that with the motorbike I did the wheelies and he got angry. When I arrived at the roundabout in the center of the town, voom, and I did the wheelie with the motorbike. Just that. But even in those cases I was very responsible. Do you know what I was doing when I was driving the motorbike? My father gave me the sheets of newspaper, I put them on the chest, under the shirt and I went around so because the wind did not enter the chest, understood? Full helmet, strictly integral.
If you’re wondering, yes, I was a little weighed in those years. I always lived controlled because, having also a thousand allergies that put me ‘in danger’ my respiratory tract, I never went to school trips, I could not go to the disco, I could not do certain things that all my peers did.
But now, when I return to the country, I like being with them and recovering some of what I could not do then. We go to the disco, we are never less than twenty, twenty-five people, and Dad is calm because I’m even more responsible than before and because in the group there are also people older than me, even forty years and married.
I like being with people much older than me maybe because, even if I’m only twenty years old, I have to manage my life in a very serious way and at a certain point I had to grow by force. It’s strange if I think about it, because that little boy Piero, who was attentive to everything he did in order to not ruin his voice and not to get some asthma attack, would never have imagined becoming a singer. He had other plans.
If I have to tell the truth, my project was to become a tenor and a singing teacher. Many opera singers have this double life because, unless you reach certain levels, you cannot always live by doing only the singer.
I, who always thought I would sing alone for the rest of my life, imagined myself a tenor divided between theater and teaching. But before we got there the road was very long, and it was also in the strict sense of the word. From Naro to Vittoria, where there was the master who had advised me the teacher Bavaglio of Palermo, there are two hours’ drive in the first leg and as many as the return.
Having to travel to sing was not new to me, indeed for us, because I always traveled with dad.
Every Saturday my father took me to Agrigento to the rehearsals of the choir of Santa Cecilia, those afternoons were so beautiful. He sacrificed those afternoons he could have spent at the bar playing cards with his friends and he took me to Agrigento, a fifteen – twenty-minute drive from Naro.
I remember that we were following the Serie B because the time of the matches was the same as the choir rehearsals, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, so I went to sing and, my father listened to the radio.
On the return to Agrigento-Naro, we commented on the results and in the meantime, we stopped at the Eurospin to do the shopping, at the shopping center ‘The swallows’ of Porto Empedocle, and we did shopping, but not clothes, no! We were buying ham and food for the whole week. We came home with these three-meter receipts, and I was so happy.
Going to Vittoria was a different matter. Yet when the teacher told me: ‘You must study in Vittoria,’ my father answered only: ‘Okay’ and changed the car to travel more comfortable.
At the first lesson we get to Vittoria to see this baritone, all excited, and that makes me do the vocalizations and comments: ‘I expected more from you as the master Bavaglio spoke about it.’
I was really demoralized. But the goal was there, I wanted music to become my life and so, despite the disappointment, for four or five months I kept going to him. But, in the meantime I continued with the piano lessons.
My first master Stefano Tesè could no longer come to Naro and had sent me to Canicattì to the master Pietro la Greca. He was young and good, I felt like I was with my contemporary and I was more motivated to study. Sometimes, since my father worked, my cousin Giuseppe was bringing me to the teacher La Greca.
Before the baritone of Vittoria, for about two or three months, I had studied with a soprano from Caltanissetta. It was at that time that Giuseppe had begun to accompany me to singing lessons when dad could not. So, from the teacher La Greca my cousin brought me and, on the way back I was given a ride by a boy from Naro who was studying the next hour to mine.
Phone Call number one!
I waited for him to finish, and we would go home with his father. What happens one day? Usually, as the boy who gave me a ride lived near my paternal grandmother, he always left me with my grandmother, where my father came to pick me up when he finished work. Only that evening my father was already at my grandmother’s and was talking on the phone.
‘Who was that dad?’ Was the first thing I asked him when he finished speaking. ‘Wait, let’s go home and I’ll tell you.’
It was strange that he acted so mysterious with me, but I always trusted him blindly and if he said ‘after’ he meant that it was okay. I was curious, for sure, but I waited calmly. We finish dinner, and daddy keeps his promise and tells me: ‘On the phone was a lady, a certain Isabella Abiuso. It’s part of the casting Ti Lascio Una Canzone and she gave your name to the Tour Music Fest.’
Stop all and take a step back: what is the Tour Music Fest? It’s a festival that I did not want to do. It’s not that I was undecided, I wanted to think about it. No, I did not want to do it just because I won all these festivals, and I was a little tired. Yet it is a great European festival dedicated to emerging music born in 2003. It has several stages, runs throughout Italy and not just singers, but also bands and musicians participated. The stage closest to us was that of Cosenza. ‘I have to drive,’ Dad had told me. ‘We have a comfortable car, you sleep, and we go, you do not even notice. Twenty-four hours to do Naro-Cosenza, Cosenza-Naro.’ We arrive there, I sing, and they do not give me more news. But they gave to someone else.
Isabella Abiuso, one of the talent scouts who selected children for the broadcast, called the editors of the festival and asked for a name to try, someone interesting for that kind of television program. The organizers of the Tour Music Fest tell her, ‘Mrs. Abiuso, here there is nothing that we can give, apart from a certain Piero Barone, which for us has not gone well because it is not the kind of music that we deal with, but he certainly has an innate talent.’ I was not sixteen yet, it was November 2008. ‘Dad’ I immediately said, ‘Ti Lascio Una Canzone, I’d like to do it. Let’s try, why not?’ The first edition was very successful and the second was aired from April 4 to May 30, 2009, every Saturday evening for a total of nine episodes. The director would once again be Roberto Cenci, as in the first edition, produced by Ballandi Multimedia, and the management would have always been entrusted to Antonella Clerici. My father thought about it and said: ‘Wait, let’s talk with the maestro in Vittoria.’
‘You are crazy’ was the teacher’s answer. ‘You ruin him with these things because television takes the boys’ heads, it spoils the future.’ Possible? Before I was not good enough and now, I could not do the audition because I could ruin the future? My father did not see this anymore. ‘No, I have to make him do it.’ But if you ask my father what he remembers about that audition, he certainly will not tell you about the master of Vittoria, but the first answer will be a number: 1280. These are the euros that he spent to buy two or three complete clothes in a very nice Naro store, because as a good Sicilian he said, ‘How can I bring my son to an audition RAI, I have to make a good impression, no?’
I felt like a king with those clothes.
And so, Piero’s road trip begins! Set the GPS for via dei Gracchi, Roma! Next stop The Audition….
Back in Marsala we find Ignazio still playing football and going to singing lessons with Arianna the pizzeria customer’s daughter. But soon a big decision about football would have to be made. Let me let Ignazio tell you what happened next….
My main project when I went to school was to get home and spend the afternoon playing football. It has been less so since I started studying singing, I had less free time – and then no free time – and then I realized that singing was more important than all the rest. But in general, soccer was really a big passion for me. From an early age I had a passion for football, also because my sister played football when we lived in Bologna and then she continued, even in Marsala. She played volleyball first, and I also inherited that passion, then she moved her passion to soccer.
The issue of soccer needed to be resolved but, in the meantime, Ignazio continues his singing lessons, but soon the atmosphere will change. His beautiful relationship with Arianna, a person who he enjoyed being with, has suddenly changed….
In general, I used to go with Arianna, the little girl I went with to meet Liliana; indeed, with Arianna, a beautiful friendship began. On those occasions we had a lot of fun, she always came a step ahead of me: I third, she second; I second, she first. We just had fun, without envy.
At least until she changed teachers, and our streets became a bit divided.
We still found ourselves in competitions together, but a rivalry was starting that was not as healthy as before.
It was the same period in which I also started taking piano lessons, with various teachers: I changed three in three years.
In the end, let’s say that I can play something, but a little, just enough for me to compose. I am not prepared like Piero, who has a very classical education.
After two and a half years, three that I was studying with Liliana, one day she tells me that for the genre that I was going to sing, I started to approach what I do now, another teacher was better suited to give me lyrical singing lessons.
So, I was convinced and started to follow another singing teacher, Roberta Caly, in another school. In practice (pay attention because it is complicated) I went to singing lessons and interpretation with Liliana, lyric singing with Roberta and also a diction course from Liliana and a course of diction by Roberta but held by two other teachers in the school. And I also attended a jazz workshop.
The study of singing was used to learn the technique and interpretation of a song so that I would understand what I said when I sang, so that I could express my emotions with the words of the songs. However, I must say that despite the studying I have remained a more pop voice than, for example, Piero who is a pure tenor and even today studies and dreams one day of singing in an opera.
I went to class every day except Sunday.
And on Sundays we went to see Nina’s football matches. She was now playing in Serie B.
Between the school, the singing lessons, the piano lessons and diction I was always busy, so much so that I was forced to leave the school of football.
The choice is now made. Nothing is more important than music! And so we come to a turning point in Ignazio’s life!
I could not do everything, also because of the not fantastic economic conditions in which my family was.
But I did not really want to miss anything and so I immediately found another thing to do: an extracurricular musical laboratory.
Although I was so busy, I did not want to give up that workshop, it was about setting up musicals, one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. That is, it started with a musical, but then they became three.
The first I did when I was small and fat, was Streetlight, which tells a story of rivalry between two bands in Chicago of the seventies.
We staged it at the Teatro Impero of Marsala on May 31, 2007, it was beautiful.
I was the protagonist, the voice was certainly not like the one I have now, but there I was with this baseball cap, something to see.
Then I did Grease, the American musical from which the film of the same name is taken with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and then Rugantino, the musical comedy of Garinei and Giovannini of 1962 still represented today with great success all over the world.
In Rugantino I played the lead role. I still remember the songs ……….. and that time mom made me a fantastic hat with a fishing net: grip, dyed blue and adapted to the size of my head. Spectacular.
Returning to my education, in 2007, I stopped studying with Roberta and I met Giovanna Collica, a very good soprano who gave lessons in Siracusa.
I met her thanks to one of the first works I had, opening a fashion show. The gentleman who organized fashion shows in summer around Sicily had called me to open a fashion shows.
And so, in Palazzolo Acreide in the province of Siracusa I met Giovanna and I arrived at her school.
Geographically speaking, this city is exactly opposite of Marsala, but studying with her was too important because she was a very good soprano I knew because she had even duetted with Luciano Pavarotti.
Her lessons were a great opportunity, so once a week what did I do? I took the bus with Nina, or I would leave with my parents in the car, and we would go to Siracusa.
Every time I entered Giovanna’s house, I asked her “How is the cat?” because she had a very plump white cat that threw himself from the balcony at least once a week.
It took a lot of money to cover the travel expenses, the lessons and in the meantime also the registration for competitions that in many cases were not free.
So it was that at a certain point, mom and dad found themselves not having enough money to send me forward.
They were more hurt than me. Having always worked and being accustomed to face sacrifices for the family, they did not want to surrender to this obstacle but at the same time they did not know what to do.
In the end, however, it was necessary to make a decision.
And the decision was to ask a person dear to us, a loan that, as soon as mom and dad had settled a little, would be returned.
This person has helped us with great generosity so as to allow me to continue to pursue this dream.
Being able to go forward, Ignazio continued with the lessons and competitions until the day it all stopped. No, it didn’t go away, Ignazio pushed it away. He had all he could take of the competitions. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do them but, I’ll let Ignazio tell you what happened next….
Instead, I felt like a crap. No, not when they called me to audition, before I felt like a crap, so much so that I almost lost it that night when they talked to me for the first time about Ti Lascio Una Canzone. The fact is that competition after competition, year after year, perhaps because I grew up and became less naïve, now I was fourteen, at a certain point in 2008 I realized that, as wonderful as it was, the music world was starting to give me the first disappointments: people who paid to see their child win, recommendations and various scams.
My problem is that I have always been for healthy competition, getting to the first place because a person really deserves to be rewarded as such. But it was not like that anymore. I did not want to participate anymore in any competition. I began to give up many proposals. I was in this terrible mood when, in September of that year, I was offered a competition in Caltanissetta, which was presented by the great Nico dei Gabbiani and had as president of the jury Franco Fasano, author and composer of songs like ‘Ti Lascero ‘ who won the Sanremo Festival, and also singer songwriter as ‘E Quel Giorno Non Mi Perderai Piu.’
Instinctively I said no. I did not want to take part in any competition that could turn out to be made up. But after so many evenings talking to my family and Liliana, who was always present and always ready to give me some advice, I convinced myself. I am happy to say that there are no recommendations in that competition: I reached third place. But the greatest satisfaction was not the result.
No phone call for Ignazio. Even better, an invite at the end of the competition!
At the end of the final evening Franco Fasano took the stage, proposing to do a test in Rome. He did not promise me anything for sure. The test was for a television program that, having seen the great success of the first, had reached its second edition.
That program was Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
We leave Ignazio starting on his road trip. Set the GPS for via dei Gracchi, Roma! Next stop The Audition….
Even when I sang, I did not forget instinct. What does it mean?
As I said, I have never studied singing. I learned to ‘use’ my voice only thanks to my musical ear, to the music I listened to, and which transmitted everything I know. And thanks also to the Little Choir of Roses.
When I was about eight or nine, all those who knew me gave me the same advice: go sing in a choir. In Roseto there was the Piccolo Choir of Roses directed by the master Susy Paola Rizzo.
We sang the songs of the ‘Zecchino D’oro’ or other famous songs with arrangements in that style, with music for children. The Mago Zurlì, that was the presenter of the situation, was my dad, he has been for at least a couple of seasons.
(The “Zecchino D’oro” was a very famous television program in Italy where the children sang and the presenter was Mago Zurlì).
I started there. It was nice because we studied the songs throughout the winter season, not the technique of singing, the songs. It is the same thing, but it is different, because we did not study the notes and how to do them, but we went, as I said, a little instinctively, following what the teacher said and what our ear said. Then, in the summer, we demonstrated the work of winter: we did essays at the municipal villa of Roseto, sang in the squares during the local festivals, in the lidos, in the bathing establishments, around the whole of Abruzzo, all these tiny villages of I do not even mention the names, because I’m sure you do not know them. Instinctively, then, I acted once in particular just during one of those shows.
During the performances with the choir, besides the repertoire of the Zecchino D’oro, I sang the songs of Bocelli: ‘Miserere,’ ‘Il Mare Calmo Della Sera,’ ‘La Voce Del Silenzo.’ The teacher often had me do the soloist and this gave birth to a little envy among the parents of the other kids because none of them believed that my parents were not pressing to make me have that role but, as I said, my parents always left events followed their course.
One evening we were on the seafront of Roseto. I had to sing in a duet with a girl A Star In Bethlehem.’
She starts singing, considering that there were three hundred, four hundred people on the waterfront and my mother sitting in the audience listening. The little girl who sings with me ends her part, I begin and I forget the words. At that point what do I do? I’m leaving, I leave them all there, the little girl, the music that went, everyone. And it’s not like I’m running away and I’m hiding behind the stage, no: I got off the stage and started running like hell. I was ten or eleven, my father still remembers: he had to chase me for a while before he could stop me.
So, we come to the point in Gianluca’s story where he recognizes his destiny! Gianluca continues….
Do you see destiny?
The story of Ignazio shows that things come and, you do not have to force them to arrive.
My story is not different from his. Better, a little bit is different because, apart from the Little Choir of Roses and those modest performances with my father’s theater company, I’ve never done anything else, no competitions, no festival. At home we do not have a bulletin board with the prizes that I won in the singing competitions because I did not want to do them, I never thought about it.
I participated in the Festival of the Adriatic, it could be 2006, and I won it, and in 2007 in Ascoli Piceno to that of young talents, always at the local level and always for fun. I sang at weddings, that’s it. I sang Schubert’s Hail Mary, and they paid me. My first money earned with music. And for fun, in 2007 I recorded a CD in a studio in Roseto degli Abruzzi: it was called Start from Here. The study was by Vincenzo Irelli, a very good musician. His band has accompanied names like Pierangelo Bertoli and Giuni Russo, as well as many others. I remember he’d heard me sing, probably in one of the Little Rose Choir’s performances, and he said to my father, ‘He’s good, Gianluca. Take him to me.’ I had chosen songs by Bocelli and Alex Baroni, the singer who died in 2002 and famous for songs like ‘Change’ and ‘Write Something For Me’ and that was another of the voices I liked a lot. We spent a couple of weeks recording the CD and then we gave it to all the relatives. If I think about it today, it makes me smile. But never, never would I have thought that it would not be the only one, that I could make music my life. I told you: I only sang because it made me feel good, when I was singing. I was happy.
Gianluca, your phone is ringing!
I do not know exactly, because everything happened very quickly. I mean, I won Sanremo and I still do not believe it. I think about it, I look in the mirror and say: “Yes, I won Sanremo, I sang with Barbra Streisand, I did all this”, but I swear that these years have passed too quickly. If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio a Ti Lascio Una Canzone,’ it seems to me yesterday. Instead, six years have passed. To tell you the truth, seven years passed from the casting sessions because it was 2008 when my father received a call from Licia Giunco.
It is difficult to explain who this lady was, an incredible woman, known throughout Italy for being the creator of an annual event called Sport for life, a great international ice-skating gala. The event has reached its thirtieth edition, although the last one organized by Mrs. Giunco before leaving was the twenty-sixth and continues in honor of this extraordinary person who has decided to use the sport to raise funds to donate to charity. For the gala, skating champions come from all over Europe and singers like Alessandra Amoroso and Biagio Antonacci also take part. It is a very well-known event throughout Italy. The reason for Mrs. Giunco’s phone call was my performances with the choir. ‘We have a great talent here in Roseto’ she tells my father. ‘We bring him to RAI.’ My father had never thought about it. My parents had never even imagined me to participate in competitions, let alone send me for an audition for television.
‘Let’s try,’ he replied to her. ‘It would be a great opportunity.’ What dad thought was just a different experience, something that could make me have fun. Mrs. Giunco has made available to us her contacts: we would have talked to Franco Fasano, whom Licia knew, and he would have taken us to audition with Roberto Cenci for a broadcast of RAI. It was not a talent, maybe it was this that I liked: the idea that it was only a life experience to do, an experience that would allow me to sing for a while. My parents, as they had always been until then, did not force me in the least and, as enthusiastic as they were of the idea of what I could do, they completely left the decision to me. I had not the slightest idea of what awaited me, but I decided instinctively, with my belly, that yes, that audition I really wanted to do it.
So Gianluca is now ready for his road trip. Set the GPS for via dei Gracchi, Roma! Next stop The Audition….
With their GSP set for via dei Gracchi in Rome our soon to be super stars are headed for their destiny! What was going on in the minds of our guys? A million different thoughts, I’m sure. I don’t think anyone of them went there thinking this is my moment. This is when I become a super star. More likely, they were trying to deal with what will happen at the audition. How will I present myself. Will they like me? Will they like my music, my voice? I’m getting butterflies and jitters just thinking about it! Talk about pressure!
So, let’s review where their thoughts were when they started out from their homes! We know Piero said to his dad, “Ti Lascio Una Canzone, I’d like to do it. Let’s try, why not?” But thinking about his father Piero said, “If you ask my father what he remembers about that audition, he certainly will not tell you about the master of Vittoria, but the first answer will be a number: 1280. These are the euros that he spent to buy two or three complete clothes in a very nice Naro store, because as a good Sicilian he said, ‘How can I bring my son to an audition RAI, I have to make a good impression, no?’ I felt like a king with those clothes.”
And Ignazio said, “After so many evenings talking to my family and Liliana, … I convinced myself to do the competition at Caltanissetta. I reached third place. But the greatest satisfaction was not the result. At the end of the final evening Franco Fasano took the stage, proposing to do a test in Rome. He did not promise me anything for sure. The test was for a television program that, having seen the great success of the first, had reached its second edition. That program was Ti Lascio Una Canzone.”
Gianluca said, “My parents, as they had always been until then, did not force me in the least and, as enthusiastic as they were of the idea of what I could do, they completely left the decision to me. I had not the slightest idea of what awaited me, but I decided instinctively, with my belly, that yes, that audition I really wanted to do it.”
And so, we leave our story this week with the three guys on the road to via dei Gracchi to audition for Ti Lascio Una Canzone and the moment “When the Stars Align.”
Let’s take a look into the future of our super stars.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email: email@example.com
As promised, I am posting more reviews of the concerts. They are shorter than Leena’s and so I thought I’d put them together in one post.
The first review was sent to us by email, the others that follow, are comments to the concerts and perhaps not all of you have read them.
Everything that has been written reflects exactly our feelings towards Il Volo, therefore reading these beautiful words makes us relive special moments of lived concerts.
Happy reading, I await your comments : Daniela 🤗
Let’s start with the Clearwater concert review sent to us by Judi Edwards.
Ciao Daniela & Pat,
Another wonderful concert for our guys, and the full-house audience with some Latinos and Italians in attendance was extremely enthusiastic and appreciative—with partial to full standing ovations on most of the songs. My sister and I had fantastic seats – 3rd row, but with no one in front of us—a few steps and we could have grabbed a foot or two! Slightly different repertoire, with Here’s To You and Nella Fantasia replaced by El Reloj, Historia de Un Amor and El Triste, pleasing the Latinos—and me too. I was so happy also to hear Would She Even Know My Name as well—so beautiful! Plus I have to mention the excellent orchestra of about 30 musicians. Ignazio was his usual lively self, and at one point, when he was introducing My Way and wanting to sound like a boxing match announcer, he dropped to the floor when the other guys surprised him with a mic coming down from the ceiling (flies). I had my first Meet and Greet (this is my second concert) and it was a thrill, but there were estimated to be over 100 of us—obviously there are a lot of serious fans of our guys! I hope you like the photos from my sister Kathi–sorry we were too busy soaking up the glorious performance to take videos.
Toronto concert, review from Dolores.
I’m 90 yr. old, this was the third time I’ve seen them, twice at their earliest shows in Canada and then on September 7th in Toronto. My step-daughter and I took the train to Toronto from outside of Ottawa, and got a hotel room close to Meridian Hall. We had seats in the 7th row, with me sitting in an aisle seat.
When Ignazio came down the aisle he sat on the knee of the woman directly behind me, so I got an exceptional view of that wonderful guy and heard his voice like you wouldn’t on a CD!! The whole concert was unbelievable and the Meet and Greet afterwards was super. I told Gianluca and Ignazio it was my 90th birthday present to ME!! Got Piero to sign a CD insert for my good friend, Roz from the UK, who I’ve been writing to since January (meeting through your Flight Crew columns)..
This was an experience I will remember if I live to be 100 yrs. old. and, hopefully, I’ll get to go to another concert before I check out of this world!!
Hugs to you all!
Phoenix concert, review from Martha Lukaszewski
Daniela and Pat, Thank you both for your joint efforts in bringing us all the spectacular highlights of the US tour. I saw the Phoenix concert and I witnessed their growth and maturity as artists and performers.
As a group, superb harmony. As solo performers and in duets, they have reached new levels. Piero’s voice has matured and the audience was in awe. Gianluca’s “If I can Dream” was an emotional ride with a physicality, that showed a confidence in movement. As a soloist and in the duets, Ignazio shines. But as the “Ringleader of Merriment” he is an original. The contrast from 2 years ago allowed the time to grow, and mature as men.
We are all in awe. We are here for them for years to come. Grateful : Martha
Maryann Schlessinger wrote this nice thought:
Only heard them for the first time about 1 year ago, but I was hooked immediately! I need to have my IL Volo fixed every day, so I have many of their songs on my playlist. Saw them in concert recently and they were just wonderful. They are so talented, so beautiful, so generous, so humble, so filled with love & joy that it comes through in all their songs. I am so glad to have found them & will love them forever.
…… and to her, repliedJil Shaw
Maryann Schlessinger you sound just like me. Heard the guys first last year – instantly obsessed with their beautiful voices. I saw them in Melbourne – have all their CDs and listen every single day. Don’t know what it is about Il Volo that is so special but there is something unique – in their voices, their affection for one another, their sense of fun on stage and I am just so glad I found them!!!!!!
Before I get into my story this week, I just want to take a moment to talk about the great news we received this week. The guys have written a new book with a beautiful title! “Quello Che Porto Nel Cuore” (“What I Carry in My Heart”) The title draws up images of beautiful moments that the guys experienced and probably some that we’ve experienced with them.
In the description of the book, it says: …. the bond that the three artists have with their lands of origin, with their roots and their families and traditions, remains very strong, and always represents an emotional and sentimental comfort.
In the book the three boys talk about themselves, precisely in the light of that indissoluble bond that characterizes their artistic expression: an intimate, personal and extremely intense story of their past, their present and their future.
I know your first question is, “Is it in English?” Right now, no, but down the line, let’s wait and see. In the meantime, you may be able to buy an ebook in Italian and if you have the ability to translate into English on your computer or iPhone, iPad or Tablet, you can order the book in Italian and translate it. Read my message at the end of this story about signing up for the eBook.
I know another question you have is will I write about this book like I have been writing about “Un’avventura straordinaria: La nostra storia.” Right now, no! I will certainly comment about the book, but I will not relive the story with you.
I only started writing about “Un’avventura straordinaria: La nostra storia,” five years after it was published. It’s only fair that the guys have the opportunity to sell their book without interference. As an author I understand how important that is. Maybe a year from now I will write about it. What I want is for all of you to buy the book, even if you can’t read Italian, and hold on to it until I can write about it.
Congratulations, guys! We’ve been waiting a long time for this.
So, it’s time to go back to where we left off in our story last week. Let’s listen to Piero tell us how he progressed in his musical education and let’s explore what happens When Life Begins to Change for the guys….
Piero begins, as he always does….
From that day in some ways my father has changed his life, for him I have become a priority.
Since then, he started taking me to the first festivals, but I was too young, we understood that I needed to “put a base”, because the voice alone was not enough. Then Dad asked himself: ‘What must Piero start to do?’ And the answer was: ‘Piero must start playing the piano.’
When dad thought I could take piano lessons, I was four or five years old. When I actually started, I was eight or nine.
In those four years between the cassette with the recording of ‘Un Amore Così Grande’ and my first time sitting at the keyboard of a piano, in practice who took care of my ‘musical education?’ My grandfather.
As I told you, he has a great passion for music, composes songs in dialect and is a popular singer of popular music in the country.
In Naro there are many folk groups because it was the capital of the Almond Blossom Festival, which today is still celebrated but with the name of Primavera Narese.
Keeping this traditional festival alive has meant keeping alive the musical tradition of folk groups. So many guys are singing in these groups, and I was singing too. That’s how I started, learning the songs of Sicilian folklore.
So, I started studying piano only at the age of eight, but, there are two thoughts.
First, my father really wanted me to train musically in a serious way starting from the piano, but economically we could not afford to face the costs of the lessons and the purchase of the plan. It was my grandfather who paid everything, and not just from the material point of view.
Yes, because every Monday it was he who accompanied me to class.
Stefano Tesè, my first piano teacher, lived right under his house. Or rather, the mother of the teacher Tesè lived in the floor below my grandfather’s house and the master came to see her every Monday from Realmonte, a town thirty kilometers from Naro. Taking advantage of the visit, he had agreed to give me lessons. So, every Monday at six I showed up at his door.
The road (to his house) was very short, I could even go there alone, but, and here is the second thought, to get there I had to face a dog that was going around in that area, that dog approached and began to bark furiously. And I have a fear of dogs.
Squeezed under my grandfather’s arm, he being blind actually need to be guided, I felt protected as behind a shield: when the dog approached, he shouted: “Passa arrassu!” (fast pass), go away, and the dog went away.
I confess there would be a third thought. Besides the nightmare of the dog, every Monday six in the afternoon was a nightmare for me, because I did not like going to the piano lesson. Or rather, I liked it only when the lessons were good, when I could play, but at the beginning I was bored a lot with the hammers, the solfeggios and all the things that you rightly have to do to learn how to play the piano.
Maestro Tesè was a tough guy, and I was always worried that he would scold me. After a while I started to understand how the piano worked and the lessons started to please me.
But dad wanted me to train with my voice too.
You will notice that Piero has a lot to talk about in these stories. He is a great storyteller. When he tells you a story, he leaves nothing out. At the end of the story, you know everything there is to know about the event! Piero speaks more about his life than Ignazio or Gianluca. He can go on for hours especially when he is talking about family.
At first not knowing how to do it, we attempted various things. My father on a Saturday night took me to Agrigento to buy one of those keyboards where they put the disks with the backing tracks and with that keyboard I sang at my grandfather’s house, alone and even with him.
But Dad had made up his mind that I had to study seriously.
The only advice everyone gave him was to take me to the choir that met in the church of Santo Spirito in Agrigento.
‘Why should I take Piero to the choir of the church, that they break my son’s voice?’ Dad used to say. But we did not know that this was not just any choir.
I remember it as if it was yesterday. the first Saturday afternoon we went, my father and me.
The first thing I find myself in front of these guys who are in a semicircle. I enter, I hear them singing and immediately I see in the center of this semicircle a lady and a gentleman sitting at the piano.
I had just made the acquaintance of the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association Santa Cecilia of Agrigento.
The association was founded in 1983 and has two choirs, one for white voices and one for adults. Until 2008 they also collaborated with the ‘Sistina’ Music Chapel of Rome, which led the choir to perform before the Pope during the Jubilee and which opened up to the best singers the possibility of doing an internship in Rome.
The master accompanist is Alfonso Lo Presti and the director of the chorus of white voices is the maestro, Marisa Bonfiglio.
I will owe everything in my life to this lady.
Marisa was right in the middle waiting for me because we had warned her that we would go to see the evidence to understand how it worked and to see if she would like me.
I arrive. I was ten years old and I was pretty chubby, and I find myself in the midst of all females and just two boys, Davide and Arturo.
After the greetings, ‘Buongiorno,’ ‘Buongiorno,’ Marisa asks me to introduce myself. ‘Hi, guys,’ I say. ‘I’m Piero, Piero Barone, I was born in 1993 and I like to sing.’
In a chorus what else should I say? If I was there, I had to like music, right? I thought it was the first thing to clarify.
At that point the master Bonfiglio makes me sit on the left, next to Davide and Arturo, while all the rest of the chorus, all females, were on the right.
Three males in a world of females: this number three will be my destiny, right?
Being three males in a world of females would be his destiny too!
Back to Piero….
We begin to sing: Easter songs, Christmas carols, church choirs.
With Davide and Arturo, we have established a very strong relationship, which continues today: we are still friends, we talk by phone when I’m far from Naro and when I come back home, we go out together as often as we can.
While we were in the choir, we were always attached to each other, we looked at the girls (with all that there!), But we were three losers of nine to ten years, losers! So, the girls did not look at us, and then in bottom we were interested only in singing.
I went there to be with them, I could not wait to have fun together. We were fine together.
Marisa never scolded anyone, but if we were disturbing, she looked a little like that and said ‘Guys,’ and we were immediately serious again.
We performed at Easter parties, Christmas, there was a real tour of the choir, four or five concerts during which we choristers had to always put a burgundy gilet that I will never forget.
I remember these entrances, because first we always sang the ‘big’ chorus and then we entered, the little ones: the first little girls entered, while I, Davide and Arturo closed the row. I remember that feeling of having all the eyes of the people watching us. Chills!
Even more chilling when the tour of the choir stopped in Naro, and I knew that there would be the whole family and all the people I knew and loved. It was an incredible emotion.
And then, at thirteen, there also was additional fun because my dad gave me a motorbike for my birthday. It was a big one, and I used to use it in the village even if I did not yet have a license. I did little laps, but one of those little laps was to get to the church when there was a concert by the Santa Cecilia choir. But I swear that now I drive only if I have a driving license!
As I have already told you, every year in the choir there was a selection for an internship in Rome held by the choir director of the Cappella Musicale Ponteficia ‘Sistina.’ (The choir singing for the Pope). Actually, the selection and the internship were for adult tenors, but Marisa Bonfiglio said to my father: ‘Take Piero, let’s make him listen to the master.
By now I was close to that period called ‘change of the voice.’
What is the change of the voice? It is the passage from the white voice, the acute one of the children, to the adult voice, to explain it in two words.
For those who sing is a difficult moment, we must stop if we do not want to risk ruining our voice.
When that moment arrived for me, we needed a technical opinion on what to do, and understand what my potentialities were at that point.
That day I had dressed in red, all red from head to toe.
They make my presentation, I start to sing, I could still sing, I was at the limit, and I start the ‘Ave Maria.’
The other tenors had arrived at the end of the piece all red in the face for the effort. Because singing requires a much greater physical effort than one imagines.
In short, I finish the song, the teacher looks at me, looks at Marisa Bonfiglio, looks at my father, looks at all the others: ‘Do you see this guy? He has everything red, except his face: he sang with incredible ease.’
And to my father’s question, ‘What could I do with my son?’ The master replied: ‘Mr. Barone, now your son is having a change of voice, in his throat there is a diamond. What would I do in his place? I would take this diamond, put it in a safe and hide the keys. Between two years we reopen this safe.’
And so, we did….
Let’s move on to Marsala to see what Ignazio is up to….
It is a mystery that Piero and I have never met in some competition. He has done almost all those in Sicily and I have made some of them and I also started in the same period, around eleven-twelve years, after more or less a year that I lived in Marsala.
Yes, in 2004, there had been this great change: the economic stability that mom Caterina and dad Vito were looking for had arrived, mom had also regained her health and then what do we do? We return to live in Marsala.
Let’s say that my parents had always thought that sooner or later they would be back in Sicily, but my sister also had her part in the choice.
Every time we went on holiday in Marsala in the summer, for her it was a pain to go back to Bologna, as reasonable as a speech given the beauty of Sicily and since she left a lot of friends and all the rest of our family in Marsala.
However, in the end, July 24, 2004, we moved permanently down.
At the beginning, however, I did not accept Sicilian life. It was difficult for me to set myself up at school because the programs were very different from the school where I had trained. The consequence? I was seen by everyone as “the polentone” of the situation, it will have been the Bolognese accent …….
Let’s say that at the beginning I did not take it very well.
Mom remembers a lunch at my paternal grandmother’s house when she was so hurt by my words that she started to cry because I had said this phrase: ‘I recommend you, if I die you must take me to Bologna.’
Fortunately, there are friends. I met some close to home that made me change my mind.
Let’s start from the assumption, if there is still any need for it, that being lively every now and then some damage I would combine it.
And when I combined the damage in Bologna, notes at school and various red crosses, my punishments were: ironing, washing dishes, cleaning the floors, in short, housework.
You imagine now the teasing that I had to take from Vito, Vincenzo and Ivan, my new friends of Marsala, every time I combined something, mom had me do the housework.
One day, I face my mother. ‘Dear mom,’ I tell her, ‘The pleasure is over, you are not going to make fun of me anymore.’
Bologna’s punishment ended up straight straight ‘nu puzzu’ (in the well): it was there that we went after school. We arrived at home, ate something and then everyone ran behind the house to the well, that is a square that had in the center this closed water well.
With Vito and Vincenzo, and sometimes Ivan, it was there that we decided what to do: build huts, play the game of the week, go for a bike ride, in short, everything and more, and right there we met to go to school football that was just two kilometers from our home.
And sometimes, in the middle of a challenge or under a hut under construction, you could hear shouting ‘Ignazio!’ and everything stopped.
We stopped breathing a second and descended silent.
Mom wanted me to go home and do my homework.
She wanted, but I did not always agree.
During the first year, mum has come back and forth from the center of Marsala every day to be able to realize her great dream: to open a pizzeria of her own.
First thing: she went back and forth from the office for the permits and all the bureaucratic things that were needed.
Second thing: she went to the ovens of friends and make pizzas.
I remember it very well. She went from one oven to another and tried so many types of flour, she tried the dough, she tried so many types of mozzarellas so when she finally opened the pizzeria, she already knew how to prepare the right dough.
Because it is different to make pizza in Bologna and make it to Marsala, take the word of a son and a brother of a pizza maker: it is different because it depends on the humidity, the temperature, the type of flour. It’s not a simple matter to make a really good pizza.
So, mom did these two things alone, but to build the pizzeria physically the job was for a team and involved the whole family, dad first because he had started working in a company that built wooden structures.
For a whole year, in every free moment, my father dedicated himself to building the pizzeria for my mother and I loved to help him, so much so that when there were a few days of school vacation I went to work with him. ‘
You will think that I tell you about the pizzeria under construction, but I am not a pizza maker. Of course, but if there had not been the pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously.
Because in the meantime, while the pizzeria grew, into me grew more and more the passion for electronics and music.
I had started to be part of the elementary school choir and my dad, who was more passionate about electronics than me, had bought me a mixer, a microphone and two speakers, with which we started doing the easiest thing that could be done with that instrumentation: karaoke.
I really enjoyed singing the songs of Andrea Bocelli and Giorgia.
A year later in 2005, mum inaugurated the Pizzeria dei Desideri.
Within a few months she already had her regular customers. And since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when I was singing at home, the customers could hear me. One day a gentleman says to my mother: ‘You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.’
As usual, we talked about it in the family and the enthusiasm was immediately great for everyone. It was decided: I would go and see what this singing lesson was like.
I remember it as if it were yesterday, and instead ten years have passed!
I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes. Fashion was never my strong point. With Arianna, the daughter of pizzeria customer who had heard me sing, and her mother, I waited for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher, to arrive in front of the school.
She arrived with a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car, and we entered immediately into school.
I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless.
In the studio we began to talk about music, what kind of songs I liked to sing, and it was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how.
But what did I like to sing? ‘You know, Liliana,’ I told her, ‘I like to sing Giorgia’s songs.’
‘Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song,’ she replied. ‘And which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?’
‘Gocce Di Memoria.’(Drops of Memory) I did not even have a doubt.
I start singing and Liliana is amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too.
I thought a little bit and then I said to her: ‘Sometimes I even sing ‘Con Te Partito’ by Andrea Bocelli.’
I started singing and, and when I finished Liliana told me: ‘Ignazio, this is your musical direction.’
This is one of my favorite videos. I listen to it quite often! So young and so emotional! He feels every word!
From that first lesson we began to study songs like ‘Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, Un Amore Cosi Grande’ and all those that came to mind – and that liked me – that approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic.
With Liliana, I found myself very well, we understood each other immediately because she is a sociable person, simple, as are all of us in the family.
After several lessons, she proposes me to take part in a bullfight organized in Paolini, a fraction of the Municipality of Marsala.
I was not completely convinced that I wanted to get on a stage. Until that moment I had only thought about singing, but I had never seriously thought that all that singing one day could bring me into the spotlight.
In short, I was afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to face the stage, but just to gain mastery on stage, Liliana urged me to participate, and so in the end I decided.
I was about to get on the bullfight stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I had decided to participate with the song by Bocelli ‘Con Te Partirò’ (Time to say goodbye), a song that we had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started, I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words.
So, what did I do? I watched all the time down. So, the audience in that place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens to forget the words even today that we have become professionals, the emotion continues to take us despite everything – and I came third.
Once the ice was broken and the stage panic was over, that ended up being just the first of many competitions.
And so, with the ice broken for Ignazio, his life is starting to move in a new direction. He’s realizing that his music is his greatest passion and he’s facing the reality that his life is all about music.
Let’s move on to Montepagano to listen to Gianluca’s continuing story….
Yes, we were lucky all three to have the families we had. Ignazio and Piero were able to study music thanks to the sacrifices, and even big ones, of their families.
I’ve never studied it, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there.
My grandfather Ernesto, as my father says, has been a musician since he was a boy: he played the contralto flugelhorn in the band of the town, he toured all of Abruzzo doing performances with the band, and has always been a lover of the opera.
My father Ercole, instead studied music, played drums and sometimes he still does it. Let’s say he’s more rock than grandfather!
Dad and mom Leonora realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing the initials of cartoons, at three or four years. But, as it has always been, they let things take their way without ever forcing me.
My grandfather was the first to think of bringing me closer to music. He prefers Claudio Villa to Domenico Modugno, he has very classic tastes, more ‘popular’ I would say. He is one of those gentlemen who fifty years ago listened to Luciano Tajoli, but he is also an opera lover.
So, around the age of eight or ten, I began to listen to classical music, opera, especially Luciano Pavarotti, and some genre of music from the Fifties to the Sixties.
My grandfather took the tape recorder, put in the cassettes and, my parents told me, it seemed like I was immersing myself in those notes.
As they tell me that, when I was three years old, I sang ‘O Sole Mio’ in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.
They were my first audience. Too bad I do not remember!
Grandfather also wanted me to study music, he always told me: ‘Gianluca, study the piano, study an instrument.’
Unfortunately, I’ve never done it. It would be a dream to sit down on the piano and start playing and singing. Let’s say it’s one of my next goals: learning to play the piano and take the license!
In the same period in which my grandfather made me listen to classical music, Pavarotti and music from the Fifties-Sixties, my father made me feel Fabrizio De Andrè, Francesco De Gregori, Giorgio Gaber, Antonello Venditti and, as I grew older, I became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all Frank Sinatra.
This was the moment when they ruled the Latin Market. Look at how José José is watching and listening to these three amazing young men. When a National Treasure looks at you that way, you know you have arrived!
So, let’s say that as a child I had a beautiful musical culture.
What was left of that period? The classical opera no, because today I do not listen to it, it is not part of me, and I do not feel it particularly mine. The only opera singer I keep listening to is Andrea Bocelli, but I have come to him by another road.
My father began to follow me in 2009 when we signed the contract with Universal and began the adventure with Il Volo. Until then, dad and mom have always worked, my father was a worker, and my mother was responsible for the quality control of the product, always in the factory.
So, when I went to school, in the afternoon I went to a kind of after-school session with nuns. We were about ten children in class, and we had a teacher named Gabriella.
One afternoon, while we were doing homework, all of a sudden, I got up and started singing ‘Time To Say Goodbye,’ as I had heard from Andrea Bocelli. I had no CD of my own, but I happened to listen to him on the radio and I liked to go crazy.
The teacher was speechless.
‘What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,’ she tells me.
‘But do you know Andrea Bocelli?’
She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind.
‘Of course, I know him, he’s my idol, my favorite singer,’ I reply, with a certain pride.
‘Only I do not have his CD yet.’ It was something that really displeased me.
‘I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you’ was the teacher’s answer.
I was seven, maybe eight years old. And thanks to her I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.
If you are wondering why I suddenly sang ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ at that age?
The answer is simple: because it made me feel good.
When I was little, I sang only for that. I only did two competitions, small things in the country. Usually, I would sing at home or in situations where I felt protected as if I were at home – the afterschool, for example and I was happy. I did not care to make myself heard from others, others were asking me (to sing).
It also happened at school.
The teacher knew about this particular voice of mine and in the classroom, in front of my classmates, about twenty children of my age, every now and then she would tell me: ‘Gianluca, sing for us, guys, let’s listen to Gianluca’s voice.’
Do you know how I reacted? I sang, of course, because it was the teacher who asked, but first I went to hide behind the blackboard and put myself face to the wall. I was ashamed to die. I still remember that feeling of being hidden, while I sang, without seeing anyone.
Also, because I was already singing with this voice that tended to the baritones, it was really special. I understood that it was a beautiful thing, which everyone liked, but I was still ashamed. Dad says I also did it at home to turn my face to the wall while I was singing.
What could I do? I was a very shy and a little insecure child. I’ve always been looking for confirmations since I was a child.
At school I was the most loved by teachers just because I was the sweetie, the most sensitive because of my shyness.
Today I have forgotten the shyness, it is one of those I consider defects of when I was a child that now I managed to overcome.
Instead, what I have not changed is the constant need for confirmation.
On social networks, for example, you see my selfies and people think I do it because I’m vain, but in reality, I need constant fan approval, I need to know that they support me.
And when I was a child, I remember very well, with the kindergarten teachers I did more or less the same thing, because I went to them, and I always asked: “So ‘bavo me? Eh? So’bavo me?” (I’m good? Eh? I’m good?)
In kindergarten, though, it’s easy to be good. At school it was definitely more challenging.
I’ve always been a lazy man; I’ve never been a great scholar. I went to the after-school afternoon and my good grades I took them home.
I liked algebra in middle school, I did expressions with a lot of taste.
But most of all I have always been fascinated by languages: Spanish, French, English. I did not have a hard time studying them, I am naturally inclined to study languages.
I remember that when we sang the first songs in English and Spanish, I was the one who took the least time to do the right phrase, with the right pronunciation, because I immediately feel the musicality of foreign languages.
And then I listened to Sinatra who has a perfect pronunciation and I understand every single word of every song he sang. It was a great way to learn the pronunciation and even the songs.
If after middle school I did not choose to go to linguistic high school, it was only because we thought that with the work I would have traveled and I would have learned the languages directly.
So, in 2009, I enrolled in the classical high school as a privatist and studied the Greek and Latin versions, the French translations without errors.
Also, difficult versions. I liked Greek more than Latin.
Then unfortunately I had to stop in the second year, I could no longer support the rhythms, it was too demanding.
But when I can, I read, it’s a pleasure for me.
If I have any regrets about my school years? It is not having studied music when I was ten or eleven. But there is still time.
How was I at that age? Very shy and a little insecure I said, but also a little immature and too instinctive.
I am very critical with myself about my adolescence, because I realize that now I have really changed, even with the boys.
In quarrels, for example, maybe it happened that I also answered in an annoying way because I was the one, I felt at that time, and I could not wait until then.
Piero, for example, took some good kicks from me. Once, I practically threw a pizza at Ignazio in front of the Universal Canadian official in a restaurant in Montreal (a shrimp flew off the pizza and hit the official of Universal, I mean really). But I was small and very, very impulsive….
That was then….
Gianluca certainly had many issues maybe because he was so insecure. But that has all changed.
What I did notice from Gianlucas story was he realized at a very young age what their three voices were about. On other occasions he has said, “I thought there were three hundred thousand boys singing like me,” but of course he found out the first time they sang together that there were only two other voices like his. “Piero and Ignazio!”
I think Gianlucas description of his voice, “it was really special,” as a child explains all three voices. How very special they were. How important each voice was in his own range, weight and timbre even at such an early age. This was remarkable! Each had this special voice which was something that no child at such an early age should have but, in fact, each one had this unbelievable voice that just couldn’t be explained. Except if you attribute it to a higher being!
Can you imagine what their parents must have thought about their voices. Did they think it was rare and unusual or did they not recognize the miracle in front of them? An interesting thought!
This week the guys were on a journey to find their voices. It was the time When Life Begins to Change for them. They are now facing their fate for the first time. Starting with the choir for Piero, the stage for Ignazio and the realization of what your voice is about for Gianluca.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Signing up for the eBook on KOBO
These are some ideas about how you might be able to translate the book into English.
On your computer there may be a translator which will translate Italian into English. If you have the ability to translate, go to https://www.kobo.com/ and sign up. After you sign up, order the ebook. It will go into your KOBO account on November 8th.
On other devices, sign up for the KOBO app. If you don’t find it under KOBO try Rakuten Kobo and follow the same steps as signing up on your computer.
Of course, it is available on http://www.Amazon.it (Amazon Italy) in print and as an eBook in Italian. Use a translator as you would with KOBO.
Another possibility is to install the Google Translate app on you iPhone, iPad or Tablet and translate the story page by page. There is a camera mode that you use to take a picture of the text and it translates it. Then you can save it and send it to your email. It will take some time to do but it will be worth it in the end. And you will have an app that will translate other stories that are in Italian that are about the guys. Google Translate is a free app.
If you would like toshare a story with me, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia.
While the Italian summer tour was in progress and then the one in Canada-North America-Australia, I received some concert reviews you attended.
I could not publish them before, because I was busy following all the various stages of the Il Volo tour, but now that Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca are at home, I intend to publish them.
I start by publishing the Ostuni concert review that came to me from Leena.
Leena is a Finnish woman, married to an Italian and they have two children. They live in Finland and in the summer they come to Italy on vacation.
I have known Leena thanks to the publication of the Ostuni concert. You remember that in the comment of a video, I explained that a woman had raised a sign that read:
“I come from Finland and I love you.”
Well, Leena read our post published on the Facebook page and understood that we were talking about her, she wrote me a message: “It was me with the sign, thank you, because I didn’t understand that Piero had read and commented on it”.
So we got in touch and exchanged many messages.
Leena, in Finland teaches Italian to a class of nearly 50 adults. She also talks about Il Volo and sometimes she uses their book “An Extraordinary Adventure” to give lessons, isn’t it fantastic???
But here’s her review:
The concert in Ostuni on July 26, 2022
I could not believe my luck, that of having the opportunity to attend a concert of Il Volo, only because this year they had decided to stop over in Ostuni and only because at that time we were already in the neighboring region for the holidays. Even now, after three months, I still can’t believe it. It seems something detached from my everyday life.
I would say that the one in Ostuni was a routine concert for the boys of Il Volo. It was still too hot when the concert started, if I remember correctly thermometer in the center of Ostuni showed 34 degrees (93 degrees Fahrenheit) and the heat there of Puglia is a humid heat that suffocates.
I had already noticed on the streets of Ostuni that there was very little publicity for the concert, practically I only saw some billboards hanging near the town villa but that billboard also advertised all the other concerts of the “Soundtrack festival” of that one week, not just theirs. I was sorry about this because I couldn’t understand why there was so little publicity given their talent and international fame.
On the evening of the 25th, while walking in Ostuni, I heard an American tourist say to their phone, “Tomorrow they will sing there,” so maybe this person too was there in Ostuni for the concert.
About a week before the concert they sent us the message in which they said it would be possible to attend the soundcheck in Ostuni. I was overjoyed because I had hoped so much since I didn’t intend to attend the M&G after the concert. On the day of the concert they called us for 6:20pm at the main entrance of the Foro Boario, the place of the concert.
The Foro Boario is a former market square for the cattle, in the shape of a stadium where they now hold concerts, and is surrounded by high walls.
When they let us in we all lined up, maybe there were 8-9 people. They sang three songs: Grande Amore, Nessun Dorma, and No Puede Ser.
I could notice many interesting things: Gianluca had a little sore throat or was it mildly cooled and seemed very suffering from the heat, Ignatius seemed the most relaxed of the three while Piero was the one who entertained us talking into the microphone throughout the soundcheck. After trying No puede ser, Piero was not happy with the performance by the musicians . After that song, it was clear that it was all over and I think they were leaving without getting off the stage to talk to us, therefore, I took courage and I am rushed to Ignazio and I asked him if they accepted gifts, so I delivered him the gifts I had bought in Finland, he seemed to me extremely kind and good.
If I had had more courage I would have asked him for the autograph for their book “An Extraordinary Adventure” that I had with me at the soundcheck but since they hadn’t gone down, I didn’t want to disturb them.
Now I regret it bitterly, if only I had had the courage to ask for that autograph, I am sure he would have done it to me. Maybe there will be another occasion.
After the soundcheck I went back to our accommodation, ate and then, I am back to the Forum again. I immediately noticed that the audience was composed mostly by people older than me, people aged 50 upwards, mostly by ladies but also by their husbands. This thing surprised me a little bit because I was expecting a slightly younger audience but I was pleased see that Il Volo attracts this type of people (perhaps people a little like me). The audience was very calm and polite, the atmosphere was very familiar and in the air there was this great expectation and enthusiasm among all of us to see and listen to the boys.
The concert started almost on time, at around 9:37pm and lasted exactly two hours. They sang 24 songs.
Here is the lineup in exact order (I wrote them down during the concert):
1. The Ecstasy of Gold 2. Nessun dorma (short version, only the first verse and the first chorus) 3. Il Mondo 4. Se telefonando 5. Se 6. Granada 7. Your Love 8. All by myself (Ignazio) 9. Your Ssong (Gianluca) 10. Un amore così grande 11. Delilah 12. My Way (Gianluca and Piero) 13. Hallelujah (Gianluca and Ignazio) 14. La donna è mobile (Ignazio and Piero) 15. Io che non vivo senza te 16. Here’s to You 17. Medley from: L’ amore si muove – Musica che resta 18. Can’t Help Falling in Love (Gianluca) 19. Caruso 20. Volare 21. Surrender 22. O ‘sole mio 23. Libiam de lieti calici 24. Grande Amore
When they got on stage and started singing, I heard right away that Gianluca’s voice no longer seemed as cold as it had been at sound check. Really very good !! I don’t know how he could fix it in a short time. We had the fourth row seats on the left so I was a lot focused on him during the concert. I noticed he had put on, or a makeup artist had put on him, a lot of black eyeliner on his eyes, this thing stood out immediately. Instead Piero and Ignazio seemed without makeup either, at least I didn’t notice anything. They started by singing the first three songs and only after the third did they start talking. When they finished “The Ecstasy of Gold” or “Nessun dorma”, I don’t remember exactly which one, Gianluca turned towards us, and with a little bow and with his hand over his heart he told us : “Good evening everyone”. You couldn’t hear it but I read the lips. After having sung “ Il Mondo”, they welcomed us and gave some compliments on the beauty of Ostuni, Gianluca said : ”How wonderful!”looking at the old part of Ostuni on the hill (I laughed because Gianluca says always “how wonderful”).
Ignazio immediately started joking saying that those people who had gathered at the foot of the city walls were tax evaders because from there it was possible to follow the whole concert without paying the ticket. Then they continued to sing. I remember that after “Your Love” Piero and Ignazio were terribly serious and also sad, they remained in silence in front of the microphone for a while. I know they think of Vito when they sing this song and I know that too little time has passed since his death but in Ostuni they didn’t mention it in any way.
My heart breaks too every time I hear Ignazio sing this song (I presume to say that I know exactly how it feels because I too lost my father at 25 and in my opinion at 25 is too young to lose a parent). Perhaps others in the audience have also heard this because even if we were sitting scattered in the stalls and in different rows, far from each other, it occurred to us to raise the billboards at the same time to lighten the atmosphere a little. I had made a big billboard, sticking together with tape cartons made from four packs of brioches and pasting on some sheets of paper on which I had written:
“I come from Finland and I love you.”
It had taken me hours to make it. When I raised it I was so excited that Piero’s immediate reaction escaped me. I only heard his question, “How do you say I LOVE YOU in Finnish?” But I absolutely didn’t want to shout it at him among the nice ladies who were sitting around me, and then also because in Finnish it is long, there are eight syllables (MINÄ RAKASTAN SINUA), I don’t think they would have remembered it.
They sang several songs without introducing them. This got me thinking that they were in a hurry to finish because they were really tired. I could also be wrong, but I had the feeling that Piero was looking forward to reaching Agrigento for the long-awaited concert in his native land, and Gianluca was just really exhausted by the heat and the frantic rhythm of the tour (Ostuni was their fifth concert in seven days, the tenth in the whole month). I wanted to hear a lot of their speeches, too about their career , but they talked little about it. They only said that they three who had met on that program and who had put them together and since then they sing and go around. I think they were almost too modest !!! Maybe their modesty is something that goes away with the years … but this is their still being very young, they are all less than 30 years old, it is another thing that I only understood attending this concert. Just watching them on TV I didn’t realize. You almost want to protect them the way you protect a child.
(Leena at the concert)
Before “Your Song” Gianluca did a slightly longer monologue on the importance of parents during adolescence, he was very sweet.
When he speaks, an enormous wisdom transpires, it makes me think that perhaps he reads a lot or that he spent a lot of time with older people when he was little. Personally he is my favorite of the trio when it comes to vocality, I’ve never heard anyone sing so well. It opens completely to the public, sometimes when he sings in certain songs it seems to me that he cries, with his voice. In my opinion he is the foundation of the group. Also as a physical presence, he looks like a god of Antiquity or a man of Renaissance. I looked at him there in Ostuni from my place and thought: “Now I look at this singing god. “ There are no words. I have seen many of their performances on YouTube and you don’t understand it when you only see it on your computer screen, but now that I’ve seen it live, I immediately noticed that it has a lot of dramatic presence.
This was my first impression during the soundcheck when I saw him and thought that this man was born to be an actor. And he would also be good … But let’s hope not because we still want him for a long time singer. Or if he wants to, he has to keep singing too.
Piero is the one who on stage keeps the rhythm with the speeches with the audience, has a way of speaking a little “professor” while Ignazio knows how to be both, very playful and very serious.
Perhaps Ignazio is the one who is more in the hands of the three. His interpretation of the song “All By Myself” was wonderful. He has such a clear voice and crystalline voice that when he sings loudly, I sometimes think it’s as if he were screaming his despair to the world, and it’s beautiful. Immediately after “Delilah” he entertained the audience by saying that his pants were broken, perhaps he said it in all the concerts, but the joke was so well done it seemed improvised.
A lady sitting not far from me said to him: “Come here, we sew it for you!” And the other ladies around us agreed. Piero commented: “Here we have many expert seamstresses.”
Compared to previous years, in my opinion they have become a little more serious, they do not joke more, as well as before. In Ostuni Piero and Ignazio teased a little Gianluca and Gianluca defended himself but never belittling them or in a vindictive way.
However towards the end of the concert they appeared very worn by the heat. Gianluca’s hair had become full of small curls due to the humidity and because of the heat, he must have sweated a lot. During the last song “Grande Amore” I raised my billboard for the second time, which I had done with so much love and dedication. Piero was positioned exactly in front of me on the stage and had it revised. He smiled shyly and nodded his head. I did not think that even Piero was so shy … I knew of Gianluca, that he had been at least as a child but now after the concert in Ostuni I know that Piero is a bit too. When I think about it again and I get excited … Piero gave me an excellent impression during the whole soundcheck and the concert even if in Ostuni he has not sung his solo. He took us very seriously and wanted us to be well and kept a good memory of it.
After they finished the concert, they still had to welcome the people with a smile because they had purchased access to Meet & Greet. I felt bad for the boys because they were exhausted. There were maybe 20 people waiting for this meeting. I did not take the ticket because in my opinion the price is exaggerated and I had already paid a lot for the tickets for all of my family.
I was very lucky to be able to attend this concert because the next day we still had to go to another concert, that of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Puglia, in the same place, but they decided to cancel it shortly before due to strong wind.
My big dream is one day be able to attend one of their concerts in Finland. Here they are still little known but at least in my small way I try to spread the word thanks to my work.
They are the best trio in the world right now and it’s impossible not to love them. Besides, if they never come here in the North, I’m sure they will other occasions to see them again in Italy.
Now, my sign is here, hanging in my home, reminding me of a beautiful concert.
Thanks Leena for the wonderful review.
It is truly remarkable that you try to make Il Volo known in Finland by teaching Italian.
See you soon with more reviews: Daniela 🤗
LAST MINUTE NEWS!!
A new book has been released and written by Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero.
It goes on sale November 8, but you can pre-ordered it on Amazon.
The title is: Il Volo, WHAT I CARRY IN THE HEART
I’ll translate the presentation for you.
Il Volo is the Italian music trio that today more than anyone else represents Italy in the world.
Since the success of Sanremo in 2015, it has had an unparalleled escalation of notoriety, which has led Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio to perform in front of millions of spectators, during the various intercontinental tours, due to which they are often far away from home.
But it is not for this, indeed perhaps by virtue of this, the bond that the three artists have with their lands of origin, with their roots and their families and traditions, remains very strong, and always represents an emotional and sentimental comfort. .
In this book the three boys talk about themselves, precisely in the light of that indissoluble bond that characterizes their artistic expression: an intimate, personal and extremely intense story of their past, their present and their future.
………… I can’t wait to read it !!!!
Credit to owners of all photos.
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