Looking back over the last thirteen years, I see many changes along the way but never a departure from their style. They may sing different songs, but they never depart from their operatic pop. They introduce new music, but they never depart from where they started. They present the old with the new.
Their music is Operatic pop or popera. What is this movement? It’s singing Opera in a more classical style. While opera is very strict and regimented, popera is more ethereal it has a lighter feeling, and it moves freely. It takes away the hard edges of opera and replaces it with a more ethereal feel while still presenting the drama and the high notes of the opera.
This along with the classical Neapolitan songs became a big draw. Why did it work? One reason, three amazing voices! If the voices weren’t there, it wasn’t going to sell.
So, let’s begin this Musical Journey….
I’ve been writing about the lives of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca from the day they were born to the present day.
As I wrote each story, there were certain highlights in some stories that I thought should be put aside and revisited in another article. These were, what I consider, moments to remember.
Of course, before I begin, I have to mention the fourth episode of Ti Lascio Una Canzone and the boys singing, “O Sole Mio.” They walked out on the stage, sang “O Sole Mio” and walked off stars!
The rest is history!
Their musical journey begins in Los Angeles….
February 12, 2010 “We Are the World for Haiti”
I’m sure many of you have never seen the official video of We Are the World 25 For Haiti. It’s amazing! Look at our guys singing with some great American singers! Legends! Just the beginning of their journey but the guys would become legends in their own right!
In 2010 shortly after arriving in America, the guys were invited by Quincy Jones to join “We Are the World for Haiti,” together with 80 international artists such as Celine Dion, Bono, Lady Gaga, Carlos Santana, Barbra Streisand, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Natalie Cole to name a few. Il Volo were the only Italian artists to be invited. The three voices from the background caused such a sensation. “Who was that?” Everyone present couldn’t believe what they were hearing but, “Who were they?” Soon they would find out!
May 2011, Il Volo, American Idol
By far the performance that set them on the road to success! There was no turning back after this! They stole the heart of America!
October 25, 2011, the recording of “Tous le visages de l’ amour”
For me, this is one of those moments that you don’t forget. Look at these amazing teenagers. They are singing in French perhaps for the first time. Look at how professional they are. This is only two years after they met! Each one is developing his part and by the end of the recording they bring their three amazing voices together.
2012 “Back to Brooklyn Tour” with Barbara Streisand
In 2012 Barbra Streisand invited the guys to be an integral part of her “Back to Brooklyn” tour. They performed with her in America and Canada. They were not an opening act, no, they shared the stage with Barbara. To the guys this was a dream come true!
2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards
In 2013, “Más Que Amor” was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina. And this catapulted the guys into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm.
In February 2014, at the Latin Billboard Music Awards they receive two nominations “Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group” and “Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.” At the awards show they were awarded as “Best Group of the Year in the Latin Pop Album” category and they also won the “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market! What a win!
December 21, 2014, The Christmas Concert at the Italian Senate
Ignazio wrote in their book: “We want to talk about the thrill of singing in front of the highest offices of state! What twenty-year-old boy has something like that happen? It happened to us, and it seems to me a beautiful result, an honor. You cannot imagine the emotional feeling to be called “guests of honor” inside the Senate. We were accompanied by the, fantastic, Filarmonia Orchestra Veneta conducted by Diego Basso. Half the beauty of the song is in the orchestra.
The most exciting moments? Everyone! But the hymn of Mameli was the heart-pounding one, the first song, singing in that place, with everyone singing along with us, including Giorgio Napolitano, (President) and Pietro Grasso (President of the Senate). It is one thing that I cannot explain.
And then, of course, the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of the Republic and of feeling that he knows Marsala, he has been there.
I have to say that when the guys sang ‘O Sole Mio with the children signing in the background, I got very choked up. It was very emotional for me! And the whole Senate seemed to be emotional too! An absolutely beautiful moment!
2015 Sanremo Music Festival
On February 14, 2015, the guys participated in and won the Sanremo Music Festival with “Grande Amore.” This is the top award in the Music Industry in Italy. With this win the guys really came home. They were finally recognized by the Italian people. This win also gave them the opportunity to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.
As Italy is a member of the Big Five, Il Volo went straight into the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Vienna on May 23, 2015. Grande Amore came in 3rd with 292 points but, they won the televote with 366 points and won the Marcel Bezencon Press Award, as best song according to the collective voting of the accredited press.
The extended play Sanremo Grande Amore was released in Italy on February 20, 2015, and it was certified triple platinum by FIMI. The people speak!
July 1, 2016 “Notte Magica” Piazza Santa Croce in Florence
2016-2017 were the years dedicated to the “Notte Magica” project, the tribute to the 1990 event where the Three Tenors, Josè Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, enchanted the whole world from the stage of the Baths of Caracalla.
On July 1st in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence Il Volo presented on stage “Notte Magica – A Tribute to the Three Tenors,” which was broadcast in prime time on Canale 5. The guys were joined by Placido Domingo who conducted the orchestra. This marked the beginning of the world tour of “Notte Magica – A Tribute to The Three Tenors” which debuted on March 4, 2017 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. The show was sold out. After 15 stops in the United States, all sold out, the tour is extended to Europe from May 5, 2017, for 29 performances and from September it extended to Latin America. The concert “Notte Magica – Tribute to the Three Tenors” was filmed and broadcast in the United States by the national television network PBS, and in Italy by Canale 5 and, starting in June, it was broadcast in over 500 cinemas in Italy and around the world.
Jul 5, 2017, Ignazio Conducts the Asti Symphony Orchestra
During the rehearsals of the last date of the Notte Magica Tour in Naples, Ignazio stepped in as conductor of the Symphonic Orchestra of Asti while Maestro Marcello Rota sang Ignazio’s tenor part! They sang “Libiam ne lieti calici.” Ignazio had everyone in awe of his performance as a conductor. The guys enjoyed singing with Marcello who usually conducts for their Concerts. Gianluca enjoyed it so much that he hugged Marcella in the middle of the song! All good sports! They all had lots of fun! A unique performance!
Jan 27, 2019 World Youth Day
If you ask the guys after winning Sanremo, which truly brought them home, “What was your greatest performance,” they would probably answer, singing for the Holy Father at World Youth Day. I know for Piero it was one of the most amazing events in his life!
June 5, 2021, The Tribute to Ennio Morricone
When I wrote about this event I said, “I’m going to use the word phenomenal a lot in this article.” Let’s relieve the opening of this fantastic concert!
I can write at least five pages just on the opening of the concert. If I wrote what I felt, saw, experienced in this concert, I would have to write a book!
Let’s set the scene!
The first note and we immediately know it’s “The Ecstasy of Gold.” The whistle of the wind!
The setting is gold! Then white! Then gold! Look at the gold flecks that come in and out! The orchestra vibrates! Each note intensifies our senses. We’re drawn to the back of the stage. To a tunnel where we know our guys will appear! The focus is always rear center stage! The lights change to intense red and now we are looking at the stage from the back of the arena. We are coming forward. The shadow of Il Volo turns into a force that is coming towards us! The theme of the concert is set!
Listen to the intensity of their voices! What force! Watch their motions. Look at Gianluca! Watch his body react to the music! The fist that comes at you saying this is the punch, just the beginning. Listen to how Ignazio rides the note that guides us into the story! Now we’re sailing on the wind! Piero intensifies the moment with his powerful voice that says the journey has begun! Follow us!
The scenery is in motion again. In the background, the movie comes into view and blends with the voices! Everything on the stage comes to life! We’re now inside the film. Even the guys are taken by the movement around them. They look around and they are feeling the moment! Andrea Morricone steps up the music and we step back and look, in amazement at what is before us!
What exactly is before us? A work of art! A Titian painting. In Venice there is a very magnificent painting by Titian called the Assumption. It is a painting in motion! Believe me, when I tell you what you are looking at on that stage is a Titian painting. Titian was known for his movement in painting! Titian was 24 years old when he painted the Assumption. Our guys are in their mid-twenties and they have painted the scene before you. If you don’t know the renaissance artist Titian, Google him! You’ll understand what is going on here!
Now let me explain what is before you. Movement. Lots of movement.
Take a look at the stage! You the audience are the spectators! You’re being drawn to the stage. You watch the guys’ approach and, you are in awe of their presence. You feel the intensity of the music, you and the guys are pulled into the movie. The music is all around you! Their voices are a force in your head. You look up in amazement! You are a part of the scenery! You are a part of the orchestra! You are a part of the movie! You are a part of ~ Il Volo! You have arrived and you are ready to follow the guys no matter where this journey leads you! It’s only the beginning! Fasten your seat belts. Phenomenal!
You will note this is out of order. Let’s backtrack…. I want to show you what has happened with these guys over the years. As I said in the beginning, they were with all these legends in the music industry. Now they have become legends! But what I want you to see is in the beginning they worked with many people to start on this amazing road. Now they have moved to another place. A place where they present themselves. A place where they bring all the magic together! We see this in The Tribute to Morricone, but this started long before then. Let’s go to Luna Park October 2019. Here you will see a magical moment!
October 30, 2019, Il Volo at Luna Park Buenos Aires Por Una Cabeza
I will end by going back to the beginning. This last moment tells me how far the guys have come and how the strangers became brothers.
When these three young men started out, they were 15 and 16 years old. Think of being 15 or 16 years old and you have a dream, and someone tells you that that dream, needs to be shared. To fulfill that dream you have to leave your family, your friends, your home, you have to go to another country, and you have to share this journey with two people who you really know nothing about except that they had the same dream you did. You have to trust that the decision that was made by you and your family, was the right decision. If not, it’s back to square one! You’re going to be lonely, and you have to learn to survive without the people you love. So, you learn to lean on one another. That dependence turns into a friendship and that friendship into a brotherhood. It enabled them to trust enough to collaborate and perfect something truly amazing. Something that revolutionized the music industry. Let me go further by showing you a collaboration by these three amazing, very, very talented, young men that is so unreal that it boggles your mind. This is a collaboration of love. You will notice that the whole Orchestra is in awe and Giampiero Grani can’t stop smiling. Stop and listen to this performance of “Por Una Cabeza”.
Look at how they smile at one another during the performance. A smile that says yes that’s it! Their faces are ablaze! Their expressions let one another know that it works. And, finally, when it’s over, they are so excited they can hardly contain themselves. Look at their faces lit up in joy and their embrace says it all! They are brothers who love one another! This is truly a moment to remember!
It’s ironic that when I started this story, I was randomly choosing moments in their lives that were very memorable. There are so many memorable moments, but I had to limit how many I could use. I had no idea when I started this musical journey that I would end up with thirteen events. How appropriate! One for every one of the Thirteen Amazing Years they’ve been together!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
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