Hey Folks! I’m leaving this up another day. Please re-read the comment section. Myron has given us great music lessons throughout. Thank you, Myron.
Il Volo – January 2015
A three-way look: the last year, the Senate concert and what’s coming ahead.
A brief look at last year
Compared to previous seasons. 2014 was a different kind of year for Il Volo. The
format set in 2011, 2012, and 2013 was dropped in favor of minimal touring and more scattered concerts. It also meant a major change in the usual recording schedule (much later than previous years). A new album release date (from fall to early spring -maybe). Promotional work on network TV in the USA/Canada (none in 2014). Perhaps the best thing for their benefit was that they finally gave their home country of Italy a bigger spotlight. We fans in the USA/Canada wished they would have done more concerts than they did in the USA and spread them out a bit more but the chance to do several full-length concerts in Italy was very important for them.
One of the items that I, as a voice coach and music director, paid attention to was the vocal-health condition of the guys’ voices. Christmas of 2013 following a very long, hard and condensed tour found the voices raspy and very tired. To be honest, they probably should not have sung the Christmas program at Assisi on December 14, 2013. If you listen carefully each guy was still harboring a little bit of a tired/raspy
voice – especially Piero. Aside from that they performed beautifully and the concert
was very well produced and professionally done. In contrast, later last spring they
went to Russia to sing with Toto Cutugno. That concert was poorly presented by the
local producers and it was very sloppy in staging BUT, by this time, our boys’ voices
were back in shape again and they sang beautifully. They were back to normal (thank God) .
It is interesting that, for a second time, Il Volo comes to sing on behalf of an older,
well-established singer who has ruined his voice long-term. Two years ago they came to Miami to sing El Triste on behalf of Josè Josè (66 yrs.) who can barely talk now and this last April they went to Russia to sing the beautiful song “ L’amore e’ . . amare l’amore” (I would like to see this song on one of their albums) with Toto Cutugno (71 yrs.). Both men have a history of bad vocal usage habits and/or alcohol, drugs and smoking.
By the time they did their spring programs and the USA June tour they were solidly
back to full power and elegance. I have already written two reviews of superb
concerts one was live: L.A. June 7 at the Greek Theater and the second from a video
of the wonderful Taormina pair of concerts. This time in an actual Greek theater.
They were superb. Some of Il Volo’s best work ever. By the end of the fall I had
adjusted my list of the three best Il Volo concerts up to this date: The incredible Oslo
Nobel Peace Prize concert in December of 2012 (this orchestra was the best Il Volo
orchestra even up to now and the boys were in perfect vocal condition); The Radio
City Music Hall concert of fall of 2013 where the boys were obviously very “jazzed”
to sing in an iconic venue that they had dreamed about since they were little kids; the Taormina pair of concerts from June 20 and 21 of 2014. Right now those are my three best.
How are they doing now – end of year 2014/beginning of 2015
Let’s look at the Concerto di Natale Senato della Repubblica from December 21
Italian Anthem – Mattinata – Surrender
Silent Night (It.) – No Puede Ser – Ave Maria
White Christmas (It.) – Memory – O Holy Night
Caruso – Anema e Core – O Sole Mio –
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The Senate chamber is a very elegant place for our guys’ concert – no doubt, but I
wonder if that made the audience so timid in their response. Any other audience
would have been on their feet and cheering the quality of this concert. Some small
staging items include: The guys were facing few people directly in front of them. The
audience was off to either side because of the main door hallway directly in front of
them. It made for little audience relating. I wish the teleprompter were located at a
higher location so the guys were not locked into looking down. Thank goodness they
broke loose from that as the program went on.
The orchestra was really quite good even as they had to deal with cramped location.
The program had a nice variety of music although I would have changed the order of
about three songs for better program flow. Silent Night even in Italian is not a good number to use as an opener (I don’t count the Italian anthem) because it does not push the singer to use the larger vowel shapes.
The singing – THE most important part of this article
After the opening anthem and Silent Night, White Christmas really got our guys to
use better vowels and breath support. It was interesting to see that Piero and
Gianluca gave up the earphones in favor of the monitors at their feet for a more “live” singing reaction. Ignazio had the earphones but did not rely on them all the time and even pulled them out sometimes. With live orchestra, I think the monitor speaker system is a better way to go because it does not leave the singer feeling isolated so much.
Caruso, once again, inspired the boys to their best singing (and some other songs) of the night. Great technique – breath control, large vowels, great head tone, wonderful projection, and great musical phrasing. That technique was topped off by such passion and heart that I had tears – – again on this song. Piero grows more and more mature each time he sings No Puede Ser this was wonderful. (once again, what a timid audience !). Ignazio poured his soul into Memories even more than usual. Gianluca’s Anema e Core was beautifully sung and he is ever more the crooner but with an even better voice. With each of the guys I wish they could have had more connection with the audience. I would have brought the accordion player in for this – not the soprano sax.
The other songs went well but O Holy Night was (after Caruso) the vocal summit of the night ! For all three; What projection! What glorious vowels! What passion!
Everything was just right on. Better than the PBS Christmas show
What may be coming ahead ?
We have been told very little – at least that can be made public- about this year
except there is a new album ahead followed by a long tour. That all sounds good. I
would like to have seen the new album earlier (you know, the “out of sight, out of
mind” business), I hope they do another PBS special or some major television. I hope they do the rounds of American TV shows – Tonight, Today, Ellen, The Talk (where they started), Good Morning America, Kelly and Michael Live, and other nationwide network shows ( I know they did “Un Nuevos Dias” on Telemundo last spring but that is a little different market). Naturally, I hope that they do more touring in the USA Canada this year. There are still some major cities in the USA they have yet to visit or have only been to once.
The major changes that happened to their company. Moving from Live Nation to
CAA for tour promotions and going to Sony Latin for recordings have had some
benefits. I hope this new year brings about improvements in marketing and
For four years I have had a special place in my heart for these gentlemen. They have talent that is superior to most any singer on the market today. They work very hard, present a great concert, are absolutely charming in person and especially one-on-one, and they deserve the best that their management can get to support them. They also deserve the full support of you and me – the fans – to make sure they get the kind of success they deserve through their album sales, concert ticket sales, TV shows and insisting that management do their best.
Sharon Osbourne on the tv show The Talk once discussed the difference in music
quality from Bieber, One Direction, Miley, etc. etc. and Il Volo. The former presents
trite, silly and forgettable songs or what she called “ disposable music” (what a great
term ! ). Il Volo presents well-written, beautifully melodic and very meaningful songs that last for decade after decade. It is my hope and prayer that this progress continues upward in 2015 . The boys have gotten a number of awards recently but when they were younger they said they dreamed of winning the American Grammy Award . Maybe this year !