Recently I had a revelation. I always knew how fantastic Piero was but when he stepped on that stage in Verona, he blew me away! That amazing voice stepped up so many levels I couldn’t believe my ears.
After hearing Piero sing in Verona, I wrote, “I want to give you some of my thoughts about our spinto tenor. Piero’s voice which always was amazing, always was powerful, and his presentation which always produced phenomenal climaxes in the concerts, has now become such a vibrant sound in our ears! His voice has expanded so much in the last two years.
Over this period, Piero has had the opportunity to spend unlimited time on his opera lessons. This is something that is not possible in his normal schedule. The intense opera lessons of the last two years have paid off with Piero standing at the door of La Scala! The intensity of his voice sends shivers up and down my spine! A truly amazing voice that has become even more powerful than it was! Phenomenal! Bravo Piero!”
As you know, Piero has been intensely studying the opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, these last few years and he brought to the stage at Taormina, for the first time, the beautiful aria, “Mamma, quel vino.” Taormina was the perfect setting for this opera because the opera is set in Sicily on Easter morning.
Opera isn’t only about the song it is about presentation. In an opera you need to feel the person who is singing the aria. You must feel the character. The words tell a story, but the character gives it life.
Piero makes you feel Turiddu’s final farewell with his mother and makes you understand that he knows he will lose the duel. You grieve for his loss even before he’s gone. That’s what opera and arias are about. With Piero’s delivery, you feel him bring the opera to a climax even before it’s over. The intensity of Turridu’s final moments with his mother are highlighted in this aria. I hope someday to hear Piero sing this opera at the La Scala.
This video presents Piero in 2014 and 2022 singing “No Puede Ser.” In both presentations he is fantastic.
The final story can only begin when THE TENOR has arrived! You have arrived Mr. Barone!
In my story about Ignazio and Gianluca, I wrote about passion. What about Piero’s passion?
What were his passions?
A while back I wrote about Piero’s passion. Yes, he certainly has a passion for his opera but, his passion went in other directions too.
Piero had a passion for Chemistry and Math but not for all of his school subjects. And, so, I introduce my personal favorite story about Piero, the Story of Denise!
We know if Piero had a passion, it had to be for music but, in this story, we find out he had no great passion for school but, he did have a passion, so to speak, for chemistry and math!
Piero tells us that he had good grades in school because of his secret weapon Denise….
Denise’s Wedding Day
Piero said, “For Denise I should make a monument.”
Denise was Piero’s classmate for twelve years. The good grades were thanks to her. In the afternoon Piero would pick her up in his electric car, an E50, and they would study together. She repeated the lesson and he learned by what she was saying. Well let me have Piero explain it to you….
I did not like reading books, what could I do? The songs have always remained in my head right away, I listen to a song and after two, three times at most, I know all the words, but the lessons no, these do not come into my head even with the hammering. You imagine that once, out of despair, to memorize a history lesson, I gave it a reason, that is, I put it to music. But when I could not do this – that is, most of the time – I sat next to Denise, and I listened to her repeat the lesson. Or, in classwork, she wrote and did it, zac! She put the paper in the middle of the desk and, I copied. The professors probably knew but they never caught me and so they always gave me that half vote less than she, even if the tasks were the same. But, who cared, I was very happy.
I only liked two school subjects. All of you are thinking physical education. No. Physical education I did not like, I did not want to put on the tracksuit because I was fat and, I felt clumsy with the tracksuit. Today everything is different.
Piero lost fifty-three pounds and he likes to go to the gym. He also helped Ignazio to get involved with exercising when he was on his diet….
At school, I did not like gymnastics instead I loved chemistry. I had good marks which I earned by myself. No Denise. And I excelled in Math, in fact, I am so good, that I am the one of the three that runs with a bag full of all of our accounts.
As for the other school subjects, I was always ordered, 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.
I was known in the country, I never smoked a cigarette, never used drugs of any kind, never went to the disco, I never did stupid. In short, never.
If you ask Piero’s father, he will surely tell you about the wheelies with the motorbike. It was the only thing that he did not do right. His friends told Mr. Barone that Piero did wheelies and he got angry….
When I arrived at the roundabout in the center of the city, voom, I did a 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 sheets of newspaper, I put them on my chest, under my shirt and I went around so the wind did not enter my chest, understood? Full helmet, strictly integral.
If you’re wondering, yes, I was a little weighed in those years but, I was so controlled because, I had a thousand allergies that put my respiratory tract “in danger.” 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 home I 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 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, so as not to ruin his voice, and not to get some asthma attack, would never have imagined becoming a singer. He had other plans.
Given his asthma and allergies, the one place you would never find Piero as a child was on a soccer field. So, it’s no wonder when he played in the Partita del Cuore for Charity everyone was blown away but no one more so than Alessandro Del Piero.
This is one of my favorite videos
Let’s begin with the fact that Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on a soccer field. They played every day. In the video you will notice that the reporters, who were making fun of the guys when they went into the game, changed their tune when they saw Ignazio and Gianluca play. But the big surprise was Piero.
So here, our Piero, who doesn’t know the what for, of a soccer ball, decides he is going to tackle Del Piero.
Piero played so well that when he went up against Del Piero he surprised everyone with his moves. Especially the guys! You could tell Del Piero was enjoying the game as much as the guys! He was hysterical laughing when Piero took him on! I don’t think he expected it! You need to know that Del Piero has a wonderful sense of humor. He can be very funny.
NOTE: Alex Del Piero is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, and as one of the best Italian players of all times. If you don’t believe me, ask Ignazio. Go Juventus!
Many of you may know Alex Del Piero. He joined the ESPN sports roster last year. Del Piero currently lives in Los Angeles where he opened a world class Italian restaurant called No. 10, representing his jersey number when he played for Juventus.
They say the hero of the game was Gianluca because he scored a goal and tied the score, but I say it was Piero. When questioned by one of the reporters about his moves against Del Piero our dear Piero didn’t even understand what the reporter was talking about! The reporter said, “he doesn’t understand but he has taken up the invitation of his friends and he is playing more advanced.”
No matter, the important thing is he played well, and the guys were very proud of him!
So, if he wasn’t playing soccer in his youth, what was Piero doing?
To answer that question, I would like to go back to an interview that Piero had with Marcella Lattuca in 2013. Marcella and Piero were in the choir together.
In the interview Piero talks about his beginnings but also about where he and the guys are in their career. The 19-year-old Piero is truly amazing, red glasses and all! It is a very interesting interview.
Marcella: Dear viewers, welcome to this new episode of Agrigentini Bella Gente (Inhabitants of Agrigento, beautiful people).
This episode is very special because I have the privilege to talk with a real star of international music. 19-year-old, Piero Barone, who I thank for the interview, has reached goals that perhaps, artists cannot reach, over a whole career.
Thanks Piero, for being our guest.
Piero: It’s a pleasure. We did the chorus together and today we are here to do this fantastic interview.
Marcella: It’s true, you and I started in parallel, with a fairly considerable age gap, alas. You start from Naro, you were born in Naro, you have a family from Agrigento, and you start with the Little Cantori di Santa Cecilia. (The Choir of Santa Cecelia)
Tell us how you approached music.
Piero with his grandfather Pietro
Piero: I have always pursued this dream of music, I grew up in the middle of music with my grandfather, Pietro, and thanks also to my father’s constancy, because you know, sometimes there are moments, when you’re little, you play piano and you want to give up everything, but thanks to the constancy of my father, I always, always pursued this dream, first with the chorus of Santa Cecilia, studying with private teachers, and now fortunately, I’m here.
Marcella: Anyway, your career was born a few years ago, when you were really a child.
What was actually this turning point, which made you feel you wanted to do something more?
What was the spring?
Piero: In fact, there was not, because I always wanted to sing, but there was luck, thanks to my father, always, thanks to my father, to do a summer festival in Cosenza.
My father called me and told me “Do you want to do this festival? Let’s go and come back in 24 hours (by car), let’s go and come back.”
I replied, “Dad, are you crazy?” and he “Come on, let’s try, I drive, and you sleep in the car.”
For that selection they did not take me, but they gave my name to the editorial office of Ti Lascio una Canzone, Antonella Clerici’s program.
One day I was returning from the piano school, and I found my father on the phone with a lady Isabella Abiuso, and from there it all started, in fact my father asked me if I wanted to do that program and I replied, “Why not, let’s try.”
Marcella: You started as a soloist at Ti Lascio una Canzone, and then maybe fate played a special role.
Piero: Oh yes, we started this program as three singers, and now I, Ignazio and Gianluca are the group Il Volo. In the fourth episode, the producer Roberto Cenci, had the idea to join our voices, and from there started … the three tenors …. the Tryo, we changed name, but in the end, we decided to call ourselves Il Volo.
Immediately after the program, we signed a contract with Universal Music in Los Angeles.
Marcella: A little thing of nothing….
Piero (about the name): They wanted a short Italian name. Il Volo was a metaphorical name, Il Volo, to fly.
Marcella: Anyway, what I understood from your words, the one that followed you the most, was your dad, also because, being a minor, you could not go around alone.
Piero: My father and my grandfather – my grandfather discovered my voice, my father helped me. He is great and he has been a great support.
Marcella: So immediately after Ti Lascio una Canzone, you signed this contract with Universal, and you started your flight.
Piero: Yes, we signed a contract with Universal, with our producer Tony Renis and Umberto Gattica and our manager Michele Torpedine, and from there, the first TV, the first album, with the first album we sold 1 million copies. And now the new album “We Are Love” has been released, where there is also a duet with Eros Ramazzotti and with Placido Domingo.
Marcella: But when you tell these things, do you realize where you’ve come from and all the way you’ve come in such a short time?
Piero: This is nothing, we made this new album, but behind this album we have done lots of experiences, like, a tour with Barbra Streisand, 12 dates with her. She was a great teacher for us, and we learned so many things from her, like from many other great artists.
Marcella: I can afford to mention some reviews I read on the internet.
“EL PASO TIMES: Electrifying: the name of the group means the flight in Italian, perfect name for a trio of young tenors who conquers ever higher peaks,” just to name one, another:
“Beautiful and intense voices accompanied by beautiful harmonies that enchant the public by giving strong emotions,” this is the enthusiastic comment of the NEW YORK JOURNAL.
You are a trio, so you are dealing with two other guys who are the same age.
Piero: Ignazio and Gianluca
Marcella: Perfect. What is the relationship between you three? Is it really difficult to keep united, even if you go in one direction only?
Piero: This project was born as three friends, you know, living every day together, we have established a great relationship, we are like three brothers, because we share everything …. not everything. There is a great relationship, a great agreement.
Marcella: But you also perform individually?
Piero: No, no, our concert is the concert of Il Volo.
We have just finished a tour of 48 dates in America, this is the fourth tour. We have done an American tour, a South American, a European and another American just finished and now in 2013 we will do another South American, American and Europe.
Marcella: But for a boy of your age, you have spent most of your adolescence ….
Piero: On the plane
Marcella: In fact, what effect does it make, having left your friends, your country, was it tough? Then you had to approach even with a language that was not yours, you had to learn English.
Piero: English is fundamental, and we also had to learn Spanish.
Marcella: You have learned Spanish because now, however, you will start a tour, if I’m not mistaken in South America.
Piero: The second tour, and now there are great future projects, but I’ll tell you what we did in the last two months. We started at Rockefeller Center in New York, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, the Christmas season opens all over the world, the Christmas time. We were there, Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Tony Bennett, everyone was there.
Immediately after we sang for the Nobel Prize presentation in Oslo. We represented Italy because the Nobel Prize was given to the European Union.
There was Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gerald Butler, Sial, it was a great experience.
Marcella: Informing me on the internet, I read that you have also become a style icon, because your fans have adopted this red eyewear look, is your brand?
Piero: If you come to our concerts, you find all the girls with red glasses, it’s really nice!
Marcella: And then you also have some very important fans, like for example …. say you …
Piero: We were in Panama and a friend called us and told us “Guys, read the interview in LA REPUBBLICA”, we go on the internet and we read they asked Placido Domingo, what music he is listening to at the moment, and he replied: “I listen to Il Volo, they are three jewels that the whole world should know.” And the nephew of Pacido Domingo, is a wild fan, crazy about us, he wears red glasses, the vest, the tie…. and from there was born the duet with Palcido Domingo.
Marcella: In fact, because in the last album, in addition to the duet with Ramazzotti, you also have one with Placido Domingo, which is one of the three historical tenors.
Piero: Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti. We dedicated the song we sang together with Placido Domingo, “Il Canto,” to Pavarotti.
Marcella: It’s an extraordinary thing, and tell me, you said that you met so many famous people and I would like to know if any of these gave you advice, if they made you a “mentor” in addition to your grandfather and your dad.
Piero: The advice, be yourself, because the key to success is only one, talent and humility, because all the great artists are great people.
Marcella: The real ones.
Piero: Real ones, like Barbra Streisand, 70, and every night she entertains 25,000 people in America’s biggest arenas.
Now we have to start the tour with Barbra Streisand, in Europe. Unfortunately, it never happened)
Piero: American Idol, the jurors were: Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson. Steven Tyler is the singer of Aerosmith and in our new album we sang “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” but we did it in a classic Italian “Questo Amore Splendido” (Piero begins to sing the song), just beautiful. (This was one of Piero’s favorite songs.)
Marcella: Nice to even hear it live.
Piero: We did Jay Leno, it’s the third time, Jay Leno is America’s most watched Tonight Show, Jay Leno and Larry King are the most famous, we sang “Beautiful Day” two weeks ago, which is the cover of U2.
Let’s say that of our album, people ask us, but your kind of music, what is it? We did two duets, one with Ramazzotti which is the top of pop and Placido Domingo, which is the top of classical music.
Marcello: So, you are versatile, you have shown your versatility and even those who gave you a kind of emulation of the TRIO of Tenors, like a bad copy of the trio, in the end it was denied.
Piero: This problem was, and there is, only in Italy, but you know, Italy is a very, very difficult country, but …. let’s do everything in time.
But the thing that makes us angry, and I have to say this, we participated in the Nobel Prize, we have represented Italy, the whole world talks about it, who does not talk about it: Italy.
Marcella: It seems we are a little xerophilous.
Piero: But we love our country, so we love it as it is.
Marcella: With the merits and the defects.
You said you spent most of your teenage years on the plane, but how did you stay in touch with your friends and study?
Piero: I always say that what we do is what we like to do, so if you love what you do, everything becomes easy.
Marcella: But how did you study?
Piero: I study again, because I lost a year with my work. But this year I graduate, study in hotels, on airplanes.
I took the license. I did the theory in August and the guide in November.
Marcella: Even if in America? It’s not like you travel by car there.
Piero: Yes, I do. I drive my producer’s car. Sometimes I hire a Ferrari, or a Porsche, I like driving.
Marcella: And can you orient yourself? You are now a citizen of the world.
Piero: But the beautiful thing … “beautiful”, so to speak, because sometimes you lack freedom, especially in South America, we walk with the escort, in South America we have five bodyguards at the baggage claim because at the exit of the airport there are a thousand girls.
Marcella: They recognize you on the street, it is shocking!
Piero: We travel with cars darkened and armored because unfortunately South America is a dangerous country, but we love it and they love us, the girls chase us with taxis…. and shout, it’s nice!
Marcella: Are you afraid of this thing?
Piero: No, no fear, it fills you with pride and satisfaction because you understand that what you are transmitting reaches people.
Marcella: But this life is so stressful, how do you recharge? What is your secret to recharging?
Piero: It’s my family. Many people tell me “You have traveled the world,” and it is true, I miss only Japan and Russia, because they are two very strong markets, and we love them….
Everyone asks me “What is your favorite city? Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, Paris?” My favorite city is Naro, Naro is my world.
Marcella: What’s your relationship with Naro?? After singing in faraway places, with immense crowds, when you arrive at Naro, do you have to re-program again?
Piero: No, Naro is my homeland, so every time it’s always a party.
Marcella: What is your relationship with Naro’s inhabitants?
Piero: Fantastic, I love them!
Marcella: Welcome you?
Piero: Yes, I go to buy fruit, I go to the hairdresser … it’s very nice!
Marcella: Perhaps paradoxically your country is the only place where you can roam freely.
Piero: With my little car, now I go around with my friends, I greet everyone, I am a very open type.
Marcella: It is a practice of our program, to ask what advice you would give to a person who has become a public figure, like you, to the Agrigentini boys who want to approach the art of singing, in this case.
Piero: My advice is always to follow your dream, never give up, there will be people who will say, “But come on, change jobs, change profession.” Never believe in them, believe in yourself, but when you arrive, stay where you are. Returning to the previous speech, I learned this from Barbra Streisand, and from all the great artists.
For example, we were on tour with Barbra Streisand, we were in the dressing room, and we hear a knock, I go to open and there is Sting, or Michael Bublé, David Beckham, Tom Hanks, all these great artists who knock on our dressing room, to have a photo, to greet us.
Marcella: This proves the fact that these great artists that have such long careers, it means that they remained what they were, it means that goodness of mind pays, beyond talent.
Piero: And then the humility even if it is really difficult to say what you are, if you do not have great people behind, like a big family, I am doubly lucky because I am a person that could follow his dream and get there. Yet we have not arrived, but we are working, we study a lot, and my second fortune is my family – a moral support, a daily support, my father travels with me only when there are concerts, because the tour is very stressful. But for promotions, I travel alone, and you know, in the morning, when I call home, they give me the charge to start the day.
Marcella: As a good Sicilian you have left the roots here, however you continually feed from your family.
Piero: When someone tell me “You know, when you speak, we hear the Sicilian accent, the Italian accent….” Let it be heard!
Marcella: On the other hand, your pride, it is this and, I can say, you are also our pride and I believe I also interpret the thought of all the inhabitants of Agrigento who followed you.
Last question, what do you dream of doing “when you grow up?”
Piero: I’m studying lyric now, because that’s my dream, that world, it’s my dream, the lyric is another dimension, but you have to study … too much … and now I’m studying, thanks to my possibilities, I am studying in Bologna, with my teacher Sergio Bertocchi, a great teacher, and he is a great person. I’m studying an opera setting, however, always with Il Volo, Il Volo is always …. the group Il Volo …. IS IL VOLO. And so, my dream is that one day maybe, to do the Premiere to La Scala or in some theater.
Marcella: And we really wish you to stand out even more in this flight.
Piero: Before closing I have a gift, I brought you the new album of Il Volo, “We Are Love,” this is the deluxe version, with over eight unpublished songs, including two duets, and four covers, there are five Christmas songs.
Marcella: This is the advantage of interviewing these characters, but I accept it only if you sign it.
I wish you all the best.
Piero: It was really a huge pleasure.
Marcella: For me too.
Piero: When my father told me that they had called for this interview, I immediately said yes, let’s do it.
Marcella: I confirm it, because you have remained what you are.
Piero, thank you very much, Ad Maiora. (Towards greater things!)
What a totally amazing interview with a 19-year-old Piero!
I have to say for me, this was a strange story because I started at the end and went back to the beginning. But it was necessary to do that with this story because I needed you to see how far Piero has come. The absolutely powerful voice was always there, always, but the voice that Piero wants, the one that will bring him the greatest joy in life has just begun to appear. I know Piero always sang opera. That’s what a spinto tenor does but to be THE TENOR, to stand on the stage at La Scala that tenor has to present himself over the years. It’s a lot of hard work but Piero made it. He got there! And so, it seems, the final story has begun! All that’s left are the finishing touches!
One final note. The World Tour has begun! So happy you guys are back on stage. It was lonely without you!