A little background on this posting…several months back, I had had a few ideas on what I thought would be great posts. I was in the process of rounding up a few more writers and realized Pat would be the perfect person to do these. I put on my “boss” cap and asked her if she’d be willing to take on these assignments. She agreed heartily, maybe a bit too heartily, later thinking “what did I just get myself into?” None of the 3 assignments I gave her were easy. Some were very grueling, like making her search and scour the Internet for some of these videos! But she eagerly took on the task! 🙂
In the meantime, Myron sent me a note saying he was in the process of writing this article comparing Il Volo’s songs with past and present performances. Ding, ding, ding!! How perfect – I could easily combine both my assignment for Pat and Myron’s article. I’m sure it would be a smash!
I will say, this all started with a very innocent email from Gale Wall to Marie with a few videos she had found from past and present, and it just went from there! 🙂 So, please enjoy the following article from Myron and the hard work from Pat.
Ground rules for this article includes the fact that I will find something good and something not as good. To be honest we all know that some Il Volo performances are better than others – nobody is perfect all the time. But I have always felt that even their worst quality performance is far superior to the best of most other singers. Where is the proof? Just compare Il Volo on an average day to any other famous singer or group on their best day and see what you come up with. Take as much time as you wish. See! I told you so! Not even close.
Now I am going to compare Il Volo to the only group that gives them a serious run for the money – Themselves ! ! !
Source of this comparison: a list of videos put together by Pat Ward plus a few that I have added. Thanks so much to Pat.
Sample # 1 is the song “Maria” from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.
One performance is from Westbury outside New York. I will not include this because this venue is never a very good one for the boys (in the round) – bad acoustics, terrible site lines, terrible sound and it is near impossible to stage anything like this. So that leaves us the most recent (2017) Radio City Music Hall performance in New York where Maria is done as a duet and a performance from Louisville, Kentucky where Gianluca does a solo performance.
The vocal quality of the most recent one is better and, of course, more mature. The vowels are more perfectly shaped which then allows tone to be more rich and well shaped. Gianluca and Ignazio show a more “natural” staging and use of hands and facial expression than the older one. Years of experience will do that.
The older performance with only Gianluca shows a “kid” that is just trying out facial and hand gestures at an early time in his life. He is just learning how to relate to the audience in front of him which is quite a job for a boy that is so shy as he was then (and still is to a degree). However, young though he may be, his heart-felt passion is unleashed in a way that takes your breath away. I remember that summer offered another performance in the mid-west someplace where he was wearing a white shirt and a black vest. He had been ill on the trip and lost weight. He looked so skinny that we wondered if he could even make it through the whole song. The passion carried the day and he made it – but we, the audience were exhausted ! ! ! For passion and naked feelings I give it to the older performance. For quality of technique I give the nod to the Radio City show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzQF1Oo1kwQ Louisville Kentucky on August 15, 2012
Gianluca and Ignazio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPRzodp3jLw March 4, 2017 Radio City Music Hall New York
Gian, Igna and Piero
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mscsjgkskC8 Jun 25, 2014 NYCB Theatre at Westbury, NY
O Sole Mio
For contrast here I will use the Il Volo performance from Florence last summer called: Una Notte Magica vs. the very first music video that they ever did filmed at Taormina. They were about ages 15, 16 & 17 when that was filmed and when the first album was recorded.
I remember that it was such a pleasant surprise as a music director/voice teacher to see young guys that sounded so mature. If you want to get technical then you notice that vowels are not always consistent. One example is the vowel “Ah” which is a very wide (or should be) position mouth opening. Here it is correct sometimes and other times it is more shallow. Does it make a huge difference in the long run? No. What carries the day is that they are using large vowel concepts most of the time – 80% to 90% of the time. Again, compare with other singers of their age who don’t even know what pure vowel shapes are – duh! It boils down to the vocal training they have had (or others have not had).
The Florence concert of summer of 2016 gives us the boys in their early 20s after years of voice lessons and working with a great vocal coach. I suggest you get the “Notte Magica” DVD and skip to the special features where they go behind the scenes. During that video you will see them working with a vocal coach. That woman is right on the money – Great work. I wish they would have shown more of that session in the video. A great Olympic athlete must always work with a coach and so also, a great singer must always work with a great vocal coach. That is how you prevent bad habits from disrupting.
This version of Sole Mio is pure – the original song complete. They have done versions that mix the original with the Elvis arrangement. That one is fun but this one requires the best singing habits. This performance is truly great ! ! !
O Sole Mio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw3c5d3aBSE Uploaded on Feb 9, 2011 looks like an official music vid
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHuLWW5r0Fg Uploaded on May 21, 2011 CBS The Early Show New York
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2q3_h-l-Mo Uploaded on Jan 18, 2012 don’t know the location on this one
The performances listed by Pat here are all fine but I am going to use only one performance which is not listed. I am using this for a special reason.
On Friday (Good Friday), March 25, 2016 the boys of Il Volo attended the first ever – Il Volo Fan Faire convention at the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Those of us there had a great chance to “love “ these guys to death and shower them with gifts. It was fun and we found out again just last month that the boys want to do it again soon. Then later that night they gave a concert in the Pearl Theater in the same hotel. Turned out to be one of the best concerts of their whole tour with one of the best orchestras of the tour. My son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law were attending both the Fan Faire and the concert. He is a great photographer and took a video during the concert when Gianluca and Ignazio sang a duet on “Unchained Melody.” Turns out that song is a favorite for both my son and his girlfriend and it brought them both to tears. In short, he proposed, she said yes and now they are married and I have a grandson ! ! By the way I am going to post that video soon and you will see it is one of the best versions of that song. Hooray for Il Volo. Hooray for David, Erin and little Jacob! (Myron, hope you find it, because I looked and could not!)
By the way, the family was in attendance again this year for the return of Il Volo to Vegas for “Notte Magica” – this time the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo Hotel Casino.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osdM3G2ZAIA Locarno, 12 giugno 2015
Gianluca and Ignazio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDTbkXJFdo CERVIA-18 Jul15
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p-PO4yyabA London Palladium 3rd June 2016
This song deals with the sad, unhappy life of one of the great tenors of all time: Enrico Caruso. This man had many trials in his life, had rough times in Italy but found success in the USA. Even though he bedded many women and had two sons he eventually ended up alone when he died near Sorrento in Italy. It is a great song, a demanding song, very filled with passion and can easily die without that passion.
The two performances from Pat’s list I am using are Christmas concert in the senate in Italy and the concert (their first time) in Radio City Music Hall in New York – both in 2013.
One problem here is the video which has a “skip” in the middle of the song. That is too bad because they are presenting a very passionate performance of this song at that point. This concert was on December 14, 2013 and came very closely after a very long and poorly planned tour of the USA and Latin America. Too many concerts in too short a time including two cities where they did 4 concerts back to back to back ! ! ! One city where they were outdoors in the rain. Too many concerts in too short a time. They each got sick when then were coming into Panama City. Gianluca and Piero had raspy voices and Ignazio could not even talk let alone sing. So the Senate concert happened at the end of a stressful fall and winter. They still did a great job.
My choice, however, is Radio City. This place inspired our guys to give a great concert and this song especially was a solid hit on that show. I would say that it is very difficult to listen to this song sung by the guys in full rendition without having some tears. Powerful song – sung by wonderful singers. That Radio City Concert is still one of their all-time best.
Piero (age 15) e Simona Collura (age 12) Ti lascio una canzone Italian TV talent contest 09 maggio 2009
September 27, 2013 Radio City Music Hall, New York
Published on Jun 12, 2014 IVMO les presenta: Porta a Porta – Solo – 4 de Julio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EgzbIhp80A I LOVE Gianluca’s introduction for Ignazio’s solo
Gianluca e Ignazio e Piero
Concerto di Natale 2014 al Senato
Even when they were only 16 years old these boys were exciting to listen to. Maybe they still needed more staging work and to loosen up the face a bit. Maybe they still needed to work on tone placement a bit more but that is splitting hairs. The wonderful thing is that they kept working on their craft in order to produce the great art that they do. Today, as we see in current performances, they still work with a coach and they produce even greater vocal excitement as they sing the best in music repertoire.
I will save more songs for another time. Bravo! to Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero!
Ok, you be the critic – here are a few more songs Pat found. Jana (comments on video from Pat!)
Quando l’amore diventa poesia
Ignazio solo – Ti lascio una canzone 2009
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2DXKVhXk2U Ignazio doesn’t hold out the end note of the song as they do now
Ignazio solo – Moscow 04.10.2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsQ9WNLSuT0 birthday rose – Ignazio does a little flip at the end
Gianluca, Ignazio e Piero – New York 17 Feb 20-16
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZxCLpBpoN8 Ignazio does a little flip at the end
Ignazio solo – sung in Italian
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQMSVc4n-CY Ti lascio una canzone Italian TV talent contest 2009
Gianluca, Ignazio e Piero New York – February 17, 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k940RpjkHZI Ignazio turns loose on this one during the instrumental part and does that flip at the end
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXRilrHfM9M Ti lascio una canzone Italian TV talent contest 2009 – He seems so nervous! I love the way he wrinkles his nose when he hits that high note towards the end of the song!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwo_tg1KFxc Concerto di Natale 2014 al Senato What a difference five years makes!
È La Mia Vita
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkfLxxK82GE (Ti lascio una canzone 2009)
Gianluca, Ignazio e Piero
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUl_uJNL11A Teatro D’Annunzio 5 Sep 2014
Hope everyone enjoyed the trip down memory lane…. 🙂