IL VOLO IN BACKSTAGE

Article by Patrizia Ciava – Translation by Susan J. Ambrosini

Being able to witness the preparations of the artists getting ready for the stage is perhaps an even more interesting and engaging experience than the concert itself. Only members of the staff and a few friends and relatives are allowed in the backstage and in the dressing areas, so being there is a rare privilege. This is the time when the artist, away from the spotlight, shows his most real and vulnerable side, as he is subjected to the tension of “stage fright”, which affects even the most skilled and experienced artists.

Backstage of the Rome Palasport, there is little more than an hour before the beginning of the Il Volo concert and preparations are in full swing, but there is no hint of tension or nervousness as one might expect.

In the corridors, some orchestra players, still in jeans and T-shirts, are seated on the floor, talking quietly. Some try their instruments in a corner. In turn, they enter their reserved changing rooms to put on their stage suits.

The members of Il Volo, Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero, are closed in their dressing rooms but occasionally one of them comes out, wearing only half the stage suit, to chat with others or to take a selfie. They hug those who have just arrived and, when passing by, they always have a word, a smile or a pat on the back for everyone.

Their friends, relatives and staff members chat and joke among themselves in the corridor without showing any sign of worry or anxiety, as if they were in a relaxed family reunion.

At a certain point, a couple arrives at the entrance of the barrier zone, pushing a wheelchair where a disabled boy is seated, but they are stopped by a guard who tells them “you cannot go through without a pass.” Ignazio notices them and goes towards the little family group, calling out loud his two colleagues who join him immediately to give a hug to their young fan whose face lights up with joy and emotion. It’s a completely spontaneous action, there is no manager suggesting in a whisper ” take pictures with him, it’s all publicity,” instead we are told not to take pictures or shoot videos for privacy reasons. The three artists have a friendly conversation for a few minutes with the boy and his parents then, apologizing for the short time available, they leave and return to the dressing rooms.

Memory took me back then to other backstages with the “stars” passing by without even giving a glance at those present, as if they considered themselves semi-gods, followed by a swarm of breathless and frightened assistants. Even those who seemed nice in reality showed nothing more than compliance, exhibiting boredom and annoyance to make it clear that they were famous and the others were no-one. Their angry voices resonated from their dressing rooms shouting at the poor costumers who had missed a crease or made a mistake with an accessory. I still remember my disappointment at finding out the haughtiness and arrogance of artists who had been described to the public as “friendly and down-to-earth”.

But filtering out of Piero’s dressing room you can only hear his powerful trills while he is “warming up” his voice. Then, suddenly, a Latin American rhythm resounds at full volume, the door opens and Piero comes out dancing, wearing the trousers, the dress shirt and the bow-tie of his stage suit, and swirls around grabbing orchestra members, already in their evening dresses, who laugh. His father, standing in front of the door, smiles understandingly. Ignazio and Gianluca come out and join the improvised dancing, then someone reminds them that there are only a few minutes left before the beginning of the concert and they return quickly into their respective dressing rooms. A few seconds later, Ignazio comes out again in his socks and with his shirt unbuttoned and runs to the entrance of the corridor screaming at the manager as he passes: “I have to go and get Alessandra’s cousin, they won’t let her in.” He returns shortly afterwards with the young girl and introduces her to everyone before locking himself in again.

A costumer, hurrying to bring Gianluca’s suit, knocks into someone, the jacket slips from the hanger, falls to the ground and someone involuntarily steps on it, leaving it all wrinkled; it needs to be re-ironed immediately. An episode that would surely trigger the wrath of others, ends up in laughter and jokes: “I told you it would have been best to wear non-ironing clothes … better even, disposable clothes!”

Therefore Ignazio and Piero are ready first, and while waiting for Gianluca, they joke with the orchestra conductor. When there are only five minutes left to the beginning of the concert, a production staff member announces that there is a journalist who would like to interview the boys. Michele Torpedine, their manager, argues that there is very little time but they say they are available. Ignazio and Piero invite him into the dressing room and Gianluca joins them shortly afterwards.

At this point it is quite normal to wonder whether the journalists who have often painted them as conceited and arrogant were trying to exercise a perverse power in shaping public opinion by presenting them in the opposite way as they really are. These three boys are in fact the antithesis of prima-donna behaviour, they are astonishing for their humility and simplicity. It’s as if they have been able to separate their artistic dimension from their personal one, preserving the solid principles and values given to them by their families, who still show an extraordinary example of loving, present, attentive, and never invasive parenting; a rare quality. This is even more remarkable thinking that these three boys, with similar characteristics, coming from different regions, have met by chance in the same place, at the same moment, creating a phenomenon that enchants the whole world. It really brings us to wonder about the power of fate.

Then time comes to move all together towards the entrance of the stage and the backstage corridor empties. The orchestra takes the stage first and plays the introductory song. Gianluca withdraws to a corner with his mother, who adjusts his bow tie, then takes a walk with his brother. Ignazio tells a joke to Pif, a popular journalist who came to interview them. Piero’s father gives a last clean to his son’s glasses, whispers something and hugs him. The orchestra is silent, the audience applauds and Michele announces, “It’s time to go up stage!” We follow the three artists who enter the crowded Palasport hall, welcomed by the roar of a frenzied crowd, and for a moment we all know what it must be like to be worshiped as idols by thousands of people.

Grazie Patrizia and Suzan for this wonderful article.  You have given us a rare and incredible look at what goes on BACKSTAGE!

All credit to article and photos to Patrizia Ciava.

~~Jane~~

11 thoughts on “IL VOLO IN BACKSTAGE

  1. Thanks Patrizia for the wonderful insight into the lives of our three most adorable and amazing men.They will always be the most terrific “stars” to all members of the Flight Crew.

  2. This is such a beautiful post Patrizia !! I was touched and brought to tears reading this. You were able to see first hand what we all know in our hearts already…..that at all times Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero are the most humble,kind,genuine,endearing and talented young men in the universe. It is a rare quality in Super Stars and quite amazing that all three have grown up to be the incredible human beings that they are today. They may have been born with their loving souls but I also have to give tremendous credit to their loving,supportive families and team for always being there to keep them humble,grounded,safe and loved. May they spread their very special Grande Amore worldwide forever !! For sure our world certainly needs it !! ♥️

  3. I agree with Joaniefl2. When I spoke with Piero’s dad in Las vegas, he was as gracious as the boys. I see where it comes from.Joanie G

  4. What a beautiful article, and certainly says what we already know-that they are not only talented but also sweet, humble, genuine and kind. I loved reading this article. It must be so much fun to be backstage with them. Thanks for posting.

  5. Nice post. Thanks for sharing this. I wonder, though, why anyone would expect them to be anxious before a performance. This tour has been well underway for a long time and their performances are brilliant.

  6. A beautiful post, showing again the wonderful character of these precious young men!!! Thank you, Patrizia. It would be a delightful experience to be backstage before a Concert!!! I will never be there but now we know their relaxed, fun loving natures continue to be evident in the important time before they take the stage!!!

  7. What a wonderful article Patrizia of our amazing young men.
    I am so grateful to Mr. Torpedine & Mr. Barone for travelling with them to keep them safe. There is so much distractions & cruel people they have to be aware of & protected from. As what happened to Ignazio a few years ago where he was
    found by the police asleep or drugged on a lawn. He was lucky that when he woke up he had the sense to get to the theatre because he knew he had to catch a plane & then when he got to the hotel they discovered he had been mistreated. Our boys are so trusting. I pray every night that God keep them safe & am so glad when I see pictures of them with their families. We are so lucky to have them in our lives & if they recognize one of us what a bonus.

  8. What an excellent article! Mille Grazie! So fun and interesting to hear what goes backstage. As you described everything so well it was almost as if I was there too.
    I swear introduce a child on the scene and these men are drawn to the child like the child was a magnet and they cannot resist! Maybe for the next M&G I am at, I will rent an adorable child and that way I will be able to spend a few more precious minutes with my much beloved IL VOLO.

  9. Good idea Piratesorka. I wonder if a pupply would suffice, I could keep it muzzled during a performance. Anything to have more time with our precious young men. Ha, ha, ha.

  10. Patrizia’s articles leave us speechless because in addition to experiencing our emotions he also succeeds in transmitting them to everyone.
    I had the pleasure of knowing Patrizia in Verona, it was supposed to be the first live concert, but had the chance to see them a couple of days before in Rome, and she too was impressed as all of us from the first live listening.
    You will surely read her article on her first Live VOLO experience, awesome.

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