This story took me a very long time to write. Why? Because it shows us how between 2020 and 2023 the guys changed not who they are but how they present themselves. It’s part of maturity, of course, but not entirely! After being together constantly for 11 years they suddenly found themselves communicating by phone. A very unique thing for them. They were never more than a hotel room away.
The Last performance before returning to Italy on March 11, 2020
Sometimes people write to me and say, you know these guys so well! No, I don’t. Have I met them? Yes! Do I have a personal relationship with them? On many occasions I have communicated with one or another. But no, I’m just a fan like you! But the research I’ve done over the years has given me the tools to write my Il Volo stories. And this story required a lot of research because I needed to find the turning point the new beginning When the Tides Changed!
When exactly did that happen? I think we have to go back 2020. I think of the day when the guys walked out the door and said I’ve had enough of this and started to live their lives again. On that day, it wasn’t about isolation, it was about what they contributed during the time of isolation. It was about working their way into a new life, a new beginning.
What the guys did during this time formed the framework for a new Il Volo!
Things changed; the world changed but above all we all changed in some way. As to the guys, they stayed home but they couldn’t stay without something to do.
And so, it begins ~ 2020
In May 2020, the guys joined other Italian singers and artists to make a statement about the people and their situation. They sang about all people all over Italy; perhaps all over the world. Ma il cielo e’ sempre blu (But the sky is always blue). No matter what happens, the sky is always blue! That’s true! It was a catchy tune and before you know it we were all singing it!
In July 2020 the guys performed at the Taormina Film Festival.
During the time when they were preparing for this event, the guys did fund raisers including one for Dolce & Gabbana! Which brings me to another thing that happened during isolation. The guys took on a new line of clothing. The Armani men went Dolce & Gabbana!
They were stunning in their new Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos!
At the Taormina Film Festival they sang a beautiful Sicilian song. E Vui Durmiti Ancora (And you sleep again!) When they sang it, they brought tears to our eyes and a beautiful sense of pride to the Sicilian people! An absolutely amazing performance!
In September 2020 the guys went to the SMA Awards….
When the guys arrived on stage at the SMA Awards, they had a message for the world and all the people in the industry:
Ignazio: 2020 will be remembered as the year where the world would be constrained to be turned off.
Gianluca: For the music employees the verb “turn off” means the end of the show, when the curtains close and it is the waiting moment for the next show, but this time the waiting lasted more than expected, the silence was unavoidable.
Piero: Now, the world is getting ready to start again! Now the moment has arrived to raise the curtain! Now, we will turn on the music!
This beautiful statement was followed by the performance of the evening. Their choice of “Nessun Dorma” sent an even stronger message. It says we may have to perform under these new world conditions, but we don’t have to change who we are or why we’re here. In this ancient Arena we look to the past while following the path to the future.
From their first note the whole arena lit up. Their voices were clean and crisp. Their presence was illuminating. Their notes rose above the Arena into the night sky to let the world know music is back! The final note of their song sent the final message. All three voices rose in unison and their voices sent forth a note that took our breaths away! It said We Have Returned! “Turn on the Lights!”
What is so amazing about this is, over the months since they had left quarantine, they had almost single handedly brought back the music industry in Italy. All the work they did after their quarantine moved things forward in Italy. This included their most important project the concert in Tribute to Ennio Morricone and the recording of their album by the same name.
The guys have Hit the Restart Button! They have played a major part in the restart of the music industry In Italy!
In October 2020, the guys surprised us with a press conference with the Mayor of Rome. The meeting set the wheels in motion for a phenomenal project, a Tribute to Ennio Morricone!
As you know the event was supposed to take place in Piazza Pio XII in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica. Due to the pandemic the venue had to be changed and the one million people who might have attended the free concert, were disappointed but, as always, the guys came through and on June 5, 2021, they held the performance of a lifetime at the ancient Arena of Verona! Who will ever forget it!
But we’ll get to that later.
This press conference was about a very ambitious project which included the genius of Il Volo and the music of Ennio Morricone. These four men, Il Volo and Ennio Morricone, have done extraordinary things in the music industry. Having worked together when they were teenagers the guys were the perfect people to present the legacy of Ennio Morricone!
On December 19, 2020, the guys went to St. Peters Square to record their Christmas Show. It was an exceptionally cold evening, and the guys were shivering as they sang. Behind them St. Peter’s Square was lit up and St. Peters and the Vatican shone brilliantly against the night sky! One light blared from the Papal residence. The light from the room of His Holiness Pope Francis. Together with Pope Francis we enjoyed a magnificent mini concert! Then the guys sent us a beautiful Christmas message!
Ten magnificent minutes at St. Peter’s Square. And this was their message to us!
In the middle of the video the guys spoke….
Gianluca: On this very special day in which, even though we are close, we are forced to stay apart, we wanted to find a way to wish you a Merry Christmas.
Ignazio: We did it in the way that best represents us with music in this extraordinary square where it seems like we are surrounded by two welcoming arms.
Piero: May Christmas with its magic bring a smile to your homes and warm your hearts. We will dedicate every note, every word on this Holy Night!
And at the end….
Gianluca: Merry Christmas
Ignazio: Happy New Year
Piero: Good life from Il Volo and Rai 1.
But there was one more message for the fans! The guys wanted to end 2020 on a high note!
How did they bring the year out? With a message from Verona!
Gianluca: Hello friends from Verona.
Ignazio: We should have seen each other in 2020, but we are ready to bring you a lot more music in 2021.
Piero: See you soon: Happy Holidays.
And so it is 2021….
On the last day of February, we got the sad news that Vito Boschetto had passed away! We were all shocked. We knew the guys were supposed to sing at San Remo but would they.
On a March evening when no one expected it, the guys including Ignazio stepped on the stage of the Ariston Theater and sang Your Love. We cried, the guys cried, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Without words it was understood that Ignazio did this to honor his father because he knew his father would want him to perform that evening!
This was the first sign of the true strength of Il Volo. A true brotherhood. From there the bond became stronger!
Your Love was and will always be the song that bonds us with the guys!
The other thing I remember very well about that night was that it was the first time we heard the song Màkari which was written by Ignazio for the Rai TV Series Màkari.
So we know Ignazio was writing during the pandemic.
I talk about San Remo and when I talk about it I have to say Carlo Conti played a big role in the career of Il Volo!
It seems every time there is a major event in their lives Conti was there.
In 2014 the guys made the decision to go to San Remo. As you know, at San Remo you must sing an unpublished song. When Michele Torpedine presented the song the guys chose, Conti said, “no they can’t win with that song.” Conti told Michele, “I know these two men who wrote a song I think is worthy.” Conti gave Michele the song and he presented it to the guys. As you know the guys didn’t like it, that is, everyone but Piero didn’t like it. Even though Piero liked the song, he didn’t think they could win with it! Of course, that song was Grande Amore!
On the evening of the award ceremony, it was Carlo Conti who said, “the winner is Il Volo.” Conti was very proud of the guys, and it was his great pleasure to present the guys with the Lion, top honors in the music industry in Italy.
As we arrive at 2021, we begin to see the results of what the guys did while they were in isolation.
First and foremost, they took on the Morricone project.
In June 2021, the guys did a concert in Verona. When I wrote about this concert I called it Phenomenal, because that’s what it was. Let’s take a look back at the Tribute to Ennio Morricone, where we witnessed an amazing transformation in their production. Not to mention the fact that it was their first Live Concert on TV with Rai 1.
This is where the tides begin to change….
I wrote about this concert, besides the superb performance by the guys, did you notice the interesting scenery? So different from what we are used to in an Il Volo concert. Spectacular scenery! And the videos that go along with each song. Such precision! Just amazing! Everything was so well thought out. Down to the last detail!
It’s obvious from this fantastic concert, while they were dealing with the pandemic, they were being very productive. Gianluca said, “We dealt with the pandemic productively, we tried not to give up. Young people must not give up the strength to believe in their dreams and pursue their goals.”
Piero reminds us that, “this is the first time we have performed a Concert live on TV.”
Yes, this is the first nod by Rai, but it wouldn’t be the last.
This was the first and only concert in 2021.
When the guys presented their songs they were presenting them in a new and different way. Each one told us what he always wanted to do in his solo and did it!
This is where it started. This is where individuality began to come into play.
They were mature, they were vibrant, they had come into their own individuality. They knew not what others wanted them to know, no they knew what they wanted, and this new idea of individuality was set into play.
They have matured in body and mind and their voices have gone to another level of magnificence!
Yes, we watched them grow but this is different. There’s a beautiful presence about them now. A certain elegance! After twelve 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! Twelve years of a lifetime! A lifetime full of wonders and experience which most entertainers will never have the honor of knowing.
In September 2021, we had an exciting week with the guys. They went from Melpignano to Verona and shared every amazing moment with us!
I cut this video to where the guys are. If you wish to see the full concert, I added it at the end of this story.
Albano awaits their arrival of the guys on stage. He tells us about the song. It is from the region of Apulia, the region where he was born. He says, “It reminds me of the autumn song. It is the November song.”
November is the time of the olive harvest, and a man would always pass with a cart of olives to sell to the people. Albano and Ignazio sing a phrase in the Apulian dialect (“Who has olives, I have to buy them.”) Albano said when Modugno sang in the Apulian dialect he was very proud of him. Ignazio said, “So let’s hope, with this next song we will sing, to make you even more proud of your land.”
Albano tells the guys, You know that I am proud to have you here beside me…
Gianluca responded, and we are happy ….
Albano (continues) …simply because I baptized these two.
Albano is referring to Ignazio and Piero who he performed with on Ti Lascio Una Canzone. I remember those performances and that Albano was in awe of both of them. Then Albano continues about Gianluca who he didn’t perform with at Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Albano says, And to you, (Gianluca) you I baptize this evening.
Gianluca responds, One day, sooner or later, we will sing together. But it is nice, I can say, that these events make it possible to spread a musical culture like this of Taranta and it is right that young people are attached to the roots of these great events. We must not lose this desire to carry on traditions, we too, as young people, are proud to be here tonight.
Next stop Venezia! Talk about an exciting event!
In the afternoon the guys attended the award presentations where they were presented as winners of the 78th Film Italy Movie Awards.
Upon exiting the building, they were interviewed by an unknown man…
Man: This is not San Remo this is the cinema exhibition!
Piero: But it seems a little like San Remo, we meet, all familiar faces.
Gianluca: We are preparing a very ambitious recording project which is a tribute to maestro Ennio Morricone. We had the opportunity to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro in a music video, so we are here in the company of a great master of cinema, Vittorio Storaro.
Ignazio: He chose our voices for a tribute of the video of Your Love, which is shot in the Frasassi Caves, and therefore it is beautiful, this is not the first time we have come here. It is always a beautiful atmosphere. Venice is a place that is stupendous.
We were so proud of the award they won at the 78th Venice Film Festival, but that was only the beginning!
Next stop Verona…
Do you ever feel when they’re in Verona, they are home? I certainly do. To me they own the Verona Arena. Every performance there is phenomenal!
They returned to the Seat Music Awards to sing their beautiful song, “Your Love” and to pick up their second award for the week!
At the SMA awards Carlo presented the guys with their DIVA award…
Carlo said: I seriously read the inscription: Arena di Verona Award for Il Volo, for the tribute project to Ennio Morricone, represented with great success right here at the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, and for the over 10 years of career, which led them to be known and appreciated representatives of Italian music in the world.
2022 what an amazing year!
The guys are back on the road and there was no stopping them!
Their first appearance in America put all the fans in shock!
I wrote a story called Drop Dead Gorgeous, and that they were!
And what did the fans do? They went everywhere. I was in New York, Phoenix and Los Angeles. We just couldn’t get enough of the guys!
Me, Sana and Kathleen
Anna, Me and Rose Marie
Kathleen, Annette, Sana, Me and Anna
My biggest fan ~ Maguerite Nourian and me
After they left the states, they went to Australia!
But that’s not all they did!
They wrote a new book!
Yes, they were busy and then there was 2023. First stop Japan!
Yuko Kato interviewed the guys. These are just two of the questions she asked the guys!
Yuko Kato: I heard that you recorded a live video at Kiyomizu Temple without an audience.
Piero replied: It was a great experience. We make music called bel canto, which is an Italian tradition, and thanks to bel canto, we can sing in many beautiful places. This is also true in Italy, and again we can sing in a very beautiful temple in Japan. Kiyomizu Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto and has a great history, so it was really an honor to sing in such a wonderful place. It’s a very small place, so we couldn’t let the audience in, but I hope you enjoy what we’ve done by watching the video. Personally, I feel that Japanese culture and Italian culture are very compatible. Anyway, it has become an unforgettable memory for a lifetime, and I will continue to talk about live performances at Kiyomizu Temple in the future.
Yuko Kato: How did you feel about performing at a Buddhist temple?
PIero: We respect all religions. In fact, before the performance, we asked the monk of the temple to offer a prayer. Honestly, I didn’t understand what was said. (bitter smile). But we also have a lot of respect for that.
After Japan the guys returned to Italy and began the year that would change it all.
So where are we today for one Armani is back! But more importantly, we are on the threshold of a new and absolutely incredible adventure!
When the guys stepped on the stage in Verona for a concert which would be filmed and produced by Rai, they brought along new ideas and new concepts.
The three men on the stage were different! They had new ideas, and they were ready to share them with us!
For one, the guys invited guests to perform with them. And the production itself was different! It was everyone’s concert not just Il Volo. As the night went on, each guy told us who they are, and what their music is about!
Gianluca ~ Rock! Ignazio ~ Pop! Piero – Opera! The new Il Volo!
Italy is now ecstatic with the programs! And Rai said new productions would follow.
But it’s not just a production it’s not the magnificence of what is going on on the stage. It was three men on the stage in a production with other entertainers, showing Italy, who they really are.
Italy always complained that their music was old but that night the guys showed Italy that you can have your old classics that the people love while sharing a new concept! A new individuality!
They put on an absolutely spectacular concert that blew the minds of the Italians, actually all the fans, and grossed phenomenal ratings on Rai!
They proved that each of them is a star in his own right! And that star shines individually and collectively with one another. Each man has a phenomenal voice and each song they sang was a phenomenal event, a new beginning! We watched and listened as the tides changed and they introduced us to three new men who are at the height of their performance! They wanted to introduce us to their minds and their music and wanted nothing more than to share these new concepts with us.
The project that was three years in the making finally came to fruition on that stage in Verona! The new concept, the new individuality that started in their homes during the pandemic came full circle on the stage in Verona When the Tides Changed!
Final Note to the fans (my friends): I know many of you are not on Instagram and Facebook. Yesterday I put up a message that I would like to relate to all of you.
Over the last few weeks many of you have written to me. Some of you wished me well and had very kind words for me. Many of you prayed for me! When I walked out of Memorial Sloan Kettering yesterday, I called my sister. I could tell she was worried when she answered the phone. I said: No Cancer! She was crying. She said I was just saying a prayer for you and when I said Amen, the phone rang. I said you have good connections with the Lord!
This last week was extremely stressful for me. It was your messages and your prayers that got me through it! You all have good connections with the Lord! Prayers do work, my sweet friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
For your listening pleasure I have included the Complete concert at Verona in Tribute to Morricone.
Verona concert June 5, 2021
Notte della Taranta 2020 Concert with Albano Full Concert