Twelve years ago, PBS introduced America to three teenage Italian boys.
From their first concert on October 27, 2011, at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people and the support of PBS. These three teenagers stole the hearts of the American people, and now these three men continue to do so today. They have done several concerts with PBS over the past twelve years.
Their most recent PBS Special was the Tribute to Ennio Morricone.
There’s no question that PBS played a major role in the career of Il Volo in America.
In this first Raiuno live for TV concert in Verona, we noticed that the guys had matured in body and mind and their voices have gone to another level of magnificence!
We watched them grow but this is different. There’s a beautiful presence about them now. A certain elegance! After fourteen years they haven’t waned, they’ve increased in strength and intensity! There is a certain power in their voices that grabs you from the first note of the concert to the last.
Each guy has grown into his voice and is showing a maturity and style the likes of which men who are approaching the end of their careers can only have imagined! Fourteen years of a lifetime! I use that expression a lot because each year is like a lifetime with them. They never seem to stop. Like in this last Latin American Tour. Not only were there concerts but there were also late-night recording sessions. Thanks to the genius of Ignazio who turned his hotel rooms into recording studios. And when the tour was over, it still wasn’t over. It’s called bringing your work home. There were still the recordings to deal with. Yes, it’s a lifetime full of wonders. One can hardly imagine what goes on. The tour takes on a life of its own. It’s an experience which most entertainers will never know. Or should I say “have the honor of knowing.” For our guys, work is honor!
Let’s listen to what they had to say in 2013 when they were doing their 2013 PBS special Il Volo “We are Love.”
I’ve worked in this industry, and I’ve seen young people achieve fame and throw it all away on foolishness! Many have achieved fame but what they do with it makes the difference!
These men have shared the fruits of their fame. They didn’t take their fame and run with, they cherished it and used it to help others. They could have gone home to their families until the next tour but no they shared their good fortune. This is what makes them so great. This is what makes them incredible. For this reason, these entertainers are loved by their fans in the most incredible way!
Over the last year I have met with many fans at the various concerts I attended. I asked the fans what it is that they love about the guys on a more personal level. Many said their openness and generosity with the fans. They consider them like family. Some said they are the son they never had or the grandson they admire. Much like the fans who write to me each week. There is a beauty about the relationship between the fans and Il Volo. Il Volo is family!
The fans were the ones who got them through it all when they were young, and they never forget to say thank you! They attribute their fame not to their talent but to the fans who come back time after time, year after year to be with them. No, the fans are not followers in a sense that most fans are! No, they are family that always want to be there for their boys!
It wasn’t always easy for the guys but when they had a goal, they went for it! I remember Ignazio saying in a video when they first came to New York. “This is Radio City! We hope, I hope, everyone hopes to go there to do a big concert for the American people.”
What a dream! Who could possibly have thought that three Italian teenagers could have achieved this dream and stepped on to the stage at Radio City Music Hall and brought us all to absolute ecstasy with their voices!
Most entertainers want to perform at Radio City once in their lifetime! It’s a dream, it’s every entertainer’s dream! Our guys have done it year after year to sold out audiences! And every time is better than the last.
But now I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start by saying, all that followed was possible because of an appearance on PBS….
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011, at the Detroit Opera House, these three teenagers stole the hearts of the American people, and they continue to do so today. They have done 7 concerts with PBS over the past 12 years. Their last concert in Verona, Italy was their Tribute to Ennio Morricone.
In the beginning, they introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop and classical music! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Il Volo’s aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them.
On the Twelfth Anniversary of Il Volo’s concerts on PBS, let’s look back at how they started on this road.
Over the years, each boy approached his musical education in a different way.
After his discovery in the garden, Piero embarked on a classical music education. He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
Ignazio continued his singing lessons moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. His relationship with Lilliana Andreanò continued. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do.
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. Gianluca joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know, the three teenage boys came together on the Ariston Stage in Ti Lascio Una Canzone for the performance of “O Sole Mio.” They stepped off the stage and embarked on a phenomenal journey! Stardom was waiting for them!
As you know they came in first, second and third. Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero. But the biggest win that evening was becoming Il Volo.
They signed a contract with Universal and recorded their first album.
In 2010 when they arrived in America, they took it by storm. After their performance on American Idol, they sky rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts.
What happened next?
And, so, we arrive at PBS. But let me turn the story over to the guys. In this video the guys will tell you about what happened after Ti Lascio Una Canzone and their appearance on PBS. Listen to what the guys had to say about their beginnings and their future! This is a PBS Spotlight Video.
The guys have grown in their music and now they continue to bring their bel canto around the world.
Their Buon Natale Blue Christmas PBS Special made Christmas 2013 very special.
I always love the videos of the guys recording. This one has to be among one of the greatest. It certainly is one of my favorites for so many reasons as I have told one of my readers recently! It was when their dream came true, and they recorded with Placido Domingo. Listen to what the guys have to say about recording with Placido Domingo. This is when the dreams are becoming realities. Notice how far they came in such a short time. Totally amazing teenagers.
The guys catch up with Placido Domingo again this time for their Notte Magica PBS Special in Florence, Italy.
The night of magic at Piazza Santa Croce!
We move on to that magical night in Piazza Santa Croce. When there was magic in the air! The night of the Tribute to the Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras! A truly magical event.
One of the highlights of the concert was the guy’s duet with Placido Domingo. It was totally awesome! What I love about this video is Domingo is just as excited as the guys are! And during the video Domingo looks over at each guy with absolute awe and admiration! An awesome event!
In the middle of the video, we find Ignazio speaking to the Maestro.
Ignazio: Maestro Domingo, before performing the next piece I have to say one thing. You know we as children found ourselves dreaming, watching the videos of the three tenors, the video of Maestro Pavarotti, Maestro Domingo and Maestro Carreras, and you know, as little ones it was unthinkable that today we had to be here, on this stage in Florence with Maestro Domingo, for us it is a great honor to share this stage with you (Domingo) because for us it was something unimaginable, thank you very much!
Domingo: I would like to say two things, before we go to the end of the concert. Really, I must say that my grandchildren made me discover these three great artists, because they were already enthusiastic more than 4/5 years ago, when you started and they are here and they are very happy, now that we have sung together (they greet Domingo’s grandchildren with their hands in the stands). I would also like to say that really, I thank you so much for doing this (concert) remembering our concert, and we are also thinking of Luciano (Pavarotti) who we miss so much, Josè (Carreras) could not come because he had a concert, but I hope that on another occasion we will all find ourselves. Thank you.
Let’s go back a minute to another exciting PBS concert. It was their first US concert from Italy on June 10, 2015.
When we think of Pompeii we think of Italy. Take a picture of Pompeii and show it to anyone and they will know it is Pompeii, Italy. That is why this concert was so important. Not only was it their first US concert in Italy but it was a true representation of Italy! From this area of Campania, in the region of Naples we find the most romantic music in all of the world ~ Bel canto! The songs the guys sing in concert come from this region. They have brought their Bel canto around the world and now they have brought it all back to Italy where it all started. This was a true blend of all that is beautiful about Italy and Bel Canto. And the guys brought it to the world through their PBS Special.
Il Volo – Live From Pompeii
At the time of the Matera concert which marked the 10th Anniversary of Il Volo, our sweet Daniela Perani took the time to translated everything the guys had to say in the video.
This is truly the guys summing up all that they did and all that was important to them over their ten years together. What better time to do it than on a PBS Special.
Matera ~ The Ten-Year Anniversary of Il Volo!
PIERO: Everything started as a game, three strangers put together, now after 10 years we are really like three brothers, we weren’t really aware of what we were experiencing, but the game, now it’s over, and it’s become our job, our daily life, our future. We hope to celebrate another 10, 20, 30 years of career together.
GIANLUCA: We met when we were children, and we grew up together, we created, really a unique alchemy, because we share the stage, we travel constantly together.
IGNAZIO: We will never have full awareness of what we are facing, because we always see beauty, we also see things with naivety.
Our goal is to bring the Italian tradition, through music, to different stages and different cultures.
“Arriving in America” is always a bit of everyone’s dream, and getting to that audience was very exciting, because you realize how much you can be attached to a culture, a tradition, a flag. It is very varied, as an audience, of all ages, from the two-year-old girl to her mother.
PIERO: There is that Christmas song that says, “From 9 to 92”.
GIANLUCA: And also, the prestige that gives you this kind of music, because we do nothing but follow the steps of our greatest idols, like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, the bel canto that is truly appreciated all over the world.
IGNAZIO: Surely, we must say thanks to the American public that is the first who discovered us. Because after Italy, after that famous show, we immediately went to America, and with “O SOLE MIO,” they immediately sent us great affection and it was certainly nice to be able to share the emotions with all the American audience.
PIERO: Italy, in our career, has always given us great emotions, perhaps the greatest emotions, because from 2010 to 2015, we sang only abroad, we did many concerts in America, South America, Japan, but in Italy, we didn’t sing.
IGNAZIO: We must tell the truth, we suffered a little from this, we pretended nothing, but we suffered.
PIERO: Very much.
IGNAZIO: Arriving in Italy and being practically unknown.
GIANLUCA: But you know, perhaps the “Made in Italy” musical genre has been increasingly revered abroad, especially in the US, a musical genre appreciated perhaps even more abroad.
PIERO: But in 2015 we had …..
IGNAZIO: The revenge …..
PIERO: The courage to participate in the Sanremo festival.
GIANLUCA: … and to bring back the “bel canto”, also in Italy, after 20 years.
PIERO: With our song “GRANDE AMORE”, when Carlo Conti said Il Volo, the winners of Sanremo, it seemed like dreaming. But then, the Italian audience has always remained faithful, from the beginning.
IGNAZIO: I’m sure that if we commit ourselves for a moment let’s remember the emotion of the first time we sang at the Verona Arena. And knowing, being aware of being in that scene with your concert, is something that makes you think a little, and be excited, because a few years before it was unthinkable.
PIERO: In our career we have had the opportunity to do many concerts in the Arena, we hope to make thousands of them, yet. But I can say that I struggled to fall asleep immediately after the Verona concert.
GIANLUCA: It is precisely this, the point, also a piece of advice that we want to give to all the guys who dream of living for music, and they want to do what we are doing, that there will be many people who will probably not believe in you, but you must persevere, because you can truly reach the farthest dream. We believed in it and we still believe in it and we are studying, really hoping to continue to stay together for many years to come.
IGNAZIO: In USA for Haiti, we had the opportunity to have an experience, which we will never forget, we were three strangers, small, just arrived in America, and we found ourselves singing in the choir of WE ARE THE WORLD.
PIERO: We were among hundreds of artists, without knowing how to speak half a word of English.
GIANLUCA: Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Maroon Five ……
IGNAZIO: There was also Barbra Streisand, who knows, maybe it was the bell, which then gave her the idea to call us to do the tour with her!
GIANLUCA: Two years later, because in 2012 we went on tour with her, in America and Canada, and this too was an experience that made us grow, professionally but also personally.
IGNAZIO: I remember that the first time we met her was for my birthday, my 18 years (for us Italians is the age of maturity)
PIERO: Your 18 years.
GIANLUCA: You celebrated 18 years, on stage with Barbra Streisand, not bad!
PIERO: She perfectly studied our names and pronounced them perfectly, without the American accent, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, because the Americans, to speak our names …. what an effort!
GIANLUCA: One of the greatest emotions we experienced in our career was being able to share the stage with a great artist, Maestro Placido Domingo, in a concert tribute to the three tenors.
PIERO: The relationship with the master Domingo, was born thanks to his two grandchildren. He tells in an interview, that he returned to his son’s home in New York, and saw the grandchildren who were watching and listening on television on YouTube, our version of “O SOLE MIO”, and everything was born that way.
IGNAZIO: Surely, we must also say thanks to our manager, Michele Torpedine, who then, in the end, was his idea. He wanted to do it for years, and surely, we used a little the wake of the Sanremo festival and the success we had in Italy.
GIANLUCA: What then is a repertoire, almost untouchable, we didn’t even want to commit the sin of presumption, also because we are young, there is still so much to study, this is important to say it, also because we didn’t want to imitate or emulate the three tenors, but only to remember this great project, which really brought the “bel canto” the opera, out of the theaters, around the world, and it was an incredible success, which excited millions of people all over the world.
Being able to be joined by the great master Placido Domingo, after 30 years of that great concert, was a great honor.
IGNAZIO: And then we realized that 70-80% of the repertoire, was what we were already singing.
PIERO: It wasn’t so difficult to choose the songs.
IGNAZIO: This year, to start the 10-year celebration, we started with a very special, very exciting event, we found ourselves on a gigantic altar, which was then a stage, turned into an altar, in Panama, for World Youth Day. We had the honor of singing for Pope Francis, being able to share the stage, with our music, with faith, above all, to see 700 to 800 thousand people praying in silence, to have Pope Francis in front of you, to pray together with all those young people.
PIERO: We are believers, and find ourselves, the only ones, there, in front of Pope Francis, who while he prays, listens to your voice, I believe it is an emotion that we will tell, to our children, grandchildren, we will tell it for life.
GIANLUCA: Being able to start the celebrations, of these 10 years, with a selfie with Pope Francis, it is not every day, and above all, to sing the “Ave Maria”, for him and for more than half a million young people, who found themselves there for WYD, and representing all the young people in this important event, was unique. We couldn’t have started the year in a better way.
PIERO: In life it also takes a little luck. On our last trip to Japan, something unexpected happened to us, in Japan the discipline of ice skating is very followed, and in the last Olympics, the Japanese skater, won the gold medal, skating on one of our tracks, doing the choreography on “Notte Stellata”.
GIANLUCA: There are so many Japanese people who come to study in Italy, especially opera. It is incredible, as some people have told us that they have learned to speak Italian, even listening to our songs. And it’s also nice to see so many young people who are approaching, all over the world, even this musical genre, which is our goal, we are young, and we want to bring it to the new generations.
IGNAZIO: Often an artist does not have many opportunities to talk about himself, he is always engaged in interviews to say, “we sang, we did …..”
PIERO: And it’s inconvenient.
IGNAZIO: It is uncomfortable. I think that an artist, to have a space, to talk about himself, to make people understand what he feels inside, and who he really is, is a rare and unique occasion.
We are three guys who weigh a lot the words, and in these years, we have always given a particular weight to the word THANK YOU, because being grateful to someone, to something, is always beautiful, it makes you feel better, and we would certainly like to say thank you to several people in this interview. But the biggest THANK YOU, and I think I speak on behalf of all three, goes to our families but above all to our manager Michele Torpedine, who, despite the many difficulties we have encountered in these 10 years, has always been there to give strength to us, and constant determination …
PIERO: His constant presence…….
IGNAZIO: …… that he sent us in these 10 years.
PIERO: The best thing about these 10 years is to see our fans, grow with us. We met 15-year-olds, who now have 25 like us, and our biggest THANKS goes to you the fans, who supported us and endured us for 10 years. We hope to live this long adventure and we love you so much.
GIANLUCA: We have had 10 wonderful years. Unthinkable things have happened to us. We were 14/15 years old and always sharing the same passion that unites us, which is music and love for singing.
IGNAZIO: This is what we want to do in life, and it will be our goal for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, until I have to accompany Piero by the arm.
GIANLUCA: 10 years of friendship of music and above all of fidelity and respect.
PIERO: There will be lots of surprises, we promise you we won’t let you down and we’d like to tell you THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
Very beautiful, very sincere words from three truly amazing young men!
The last PBS Special the guys did was the “Tribute to Ennio Morricone.”
When I wrote about this concert, I called the article Phenomenal because there was no other way to describe them or the concert!
I began by saying, get used to it, I’m going to use the word phenomenal a lot in this article.
Let me say, 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!
Yes, that was how I felt, and I think most people felt about this concert.
To begin, this was their first Live concert for TV on Raiuno. It was in conjunction with PBS.
Among their guests was the amazing Nina Zilli. I would like to take a moment to wish Nina and Danti all the happiness in the world on the upcoming birth of their baby girl, Anna Blue!
The hardest part about writing this story was selecting the videos. For me every song is a symphony; it’s “un attimo senza fine!” ~ “An endless moment!” An expression that I love to use when describing not just the songs but also the guys, as some will attest to “Il mio attimo senza fine.” Each song goes straight to my heart and stays there until the next song begins! The songs and their voices are piercing. I can feel the adrenaline rise in me from the first note!
Performers spend their whole career trying to get to the top. Our guys, amazingly started at the top. It’s mind boggling. The amazing thing about these guys is they figured out where to go from up!
I enjoyed writing Bringing It Home With PBS. I know Il Volo is a big draw on PBS. Their specials are rated among the best for PBS. That’s why they have them back time after time! Not only do we love them but also PBS loves them! They put the Special in the word Special! We hope to have a new PBS Special Event soon!
For your listening pleasure, the entire PBS Special Il Volo Takes Flight.