Category Archives: Editorials

IL VOLO, FROM MAURA’S EYES – PART 2 BY DANIELA

And here, Maura did not wait long with the second part of her publication.

Very well Maura, I think this will start a nice debate.

Daniela

Why do you like Il Volo so much?

The answer is found in a video on Youtube: “Il Volo. The ten ingredients of global success” published by Trishia on 9 January 2017. 

Who is Trishia? It is the pseudonym of Patrizia Ciava: a flagship for the Il Volo fandom. Graduated in philosophy, writer and winner of literary awards, teacher, lived in various countries of the world, a career of the highest level in the Public Administration. Among her institutional tasks is the promotion of Italian “excellence”, of the Italian language and culture. 

Here are the elements that make up the success of the group, identified by her:

1) Three prodigious voices 

2) The ability to excite 

3) Spontaneity and sympathy combined with talent 

4) Empathy with the public 

5) The ability to joke and to create a friendly atmosphere 

6) Collaboration with other artists 

7) Friendship and team spirit 

8) Charm and elegance 

9) Availability towards fans and simplicity 

10) Love for family and for Italy.

I could only add that their knowledge of English and Spanish helps to maximize the possibility of interacting with the public in every part of the world.

That said, let’s see if the definitions of “popular” offered by the vocabulary of the DEVOTO (vocabulary name) fit the music of our group.

Popular is what “represents the continuity and importance of an unbroken tradition, as opposed to what is innovative.” 

Here I would like to make a “distinction”. 

The definition is general. Wanting to refer it to music, in regards the first part it adapts to the music of Il Volo: “represents the continuity and importance of an unbroken tradition”. 

Then popular music, understood here as traditional, should be “opposite” to what is innovative, and this, in my opinion, is a commonplace, a convention, it’s only another genre of music.

Music is a universal category in which all genres, ancient and modern, born before or born after, have found their place with equal dignity, joining, rather than opposing, each other and satisfying every taste and need.

I think I also interpret the thoughts of the components of Il Volo, who have always respected all types of music and all the singers, not “opposing” nor considering “against” anything or anyone.

It is popular, those who “enjoy sympathy and favor in a remarkable way”.

Let’s say that the music of Il Volo and its performers are …  very, very popular.

Popular is “something that opposes aristocratic choices and discrimination”.

POP is only an abbreviation of POPOLARE. Pop music is what was once called “light music”, that is songs. Vasco, Pausini, Ramazzotti, Ferro etc. (Italian singers) sing pop music and they are pop singers, and they are Italian … Their music is therefore national-popular. 

And journalists and music critics should know that.

Instead, the giornalist, uses the expression “national-popular” in the derogatory sense, identified precisely as to define the music of Il Volo, praising the new genres imported from the United States (rap, trap indie).

These journalists, many of them with white hair, are only intent on tickling the tastes of teenagers, discriminating, not between beautiful and bad music, as they should, but based on the date of birth of that music, in a momentum of “youthfulness”, to appear fashionable and in step with the times.

Il Volo, predominantly interprets the ITALIAN classical musical tradition, with SONGS in the Neapolitan language and dialect, and this justifies, as already said, its nature as a national-popular. But we cannot forget that their repertoire also contains songs of the classical tradition of the Spanish language (Cielito lindo, Historia de un amor and others), and English (Smile, My Way and others).

How about coining a less restrictive and more appropriate neologism for their music? This: INTERNATIONAL-POPOLAR.

All of the above considerations are strictly personal opinions. If you want, and as always, the debate is open.

Maura

Credit to owners of all photos and video.

IL VOLO, FROM MAURA’S EYES – part 1 by Daniela

My dear friend Maura Pucci, whom you all have already known, wrote a nice post that I will translate with great pleasure, knowing that you will surely appreciate it.

Maura, please don’t keep us waiting too long for the second episode !!😉

Daniela 😘

Today, I will answer two questions I asked myself.

The first is: “Who is the audience of Il Volo?”

It is necessary to start from two irrefutable statements:

1) Il Volo is an internationally successful musical group.
2) Their audience is mainly female.

Like all the artists who have had great international success, Il Volo is not aimed at an elite group of connoisseurs, but at a vast and heterogeneous audience, both from a socio-cultural point of view and from the point of view of age. As far as the latter is concerned, internationality constitutes the discriminating element, since age varies according to … longitudes and latitudes.

For example :

~ in Europe and the United States the public is on average more adult, but no less passionate;

~ in Mexico, Central America and South America a young audience prevails, made up in particular of chicas, which are unleashed like fans of rockstars; 

~ a more composed audience of all ages is found in Asia, where classical music is a true cult (many oriental youths come to study in our conservatories) and, during the concerts, we witness the individual performances of the pieces in religious silence until the final ovation.

10 YEARS OF IL VOLO

I take this opportunity to add here, incidentally and for the avoidance of the usual misunderstandings, that, in their repertoire of about two hundred songs, we find only four arias taken from lyrical works (two by Puccini, one by Verdi, one by Donizetti) a tarantella by Rossini and a romance by Leoncavallo …..

The fact that the public in general (fans in particular) is a large female majority is an element common to many if not all the fandoms of famous singers. 

But in the case of the Il Volo boys the difference consists in the fact that in Italy and in the United States in particular, they were known when they were almost children, and the sentimental and romantic women, enchanted by their voices, became tender and affectionate. They saw them grow and from teenagers to become young men. They followed their physical transformations, and the maturation of their voices, establishing a particular relationship with them.

Ultimately the audience of Il Volo can be divided into the following groups:

A) The real fans, active on social networks, connected by a dense network of fan pages or fan clubs, in the number of about four thousand. They “adopted” the three boys, creating an intense relationship with them, I dare say visceral. Depending on the age, they are considered older brothers, object of desire, children, grandchildren. These fans follow Il Volo daily through news, photos, videos, interviews. They participate in numerous concerts, including moving from region to country and continent.

B) The most consistent band is represented by the television audience. In Italy, it is the one that contributes to procuring the famous “listening peaks” of Auditel for Il Volo and to make their concerts sold out. The same can be said for the United States where the PBS network has recorded some concerts since 2012 and broadcasts them, I believe periodically, through over 300 television stations that it represents.

A nod to a category of people that I do not consider “audience” but who have a positive relationship with Il Volo. It can be consideration, appreciation, affection, friendship, collaboration. Which does not automatically and in any case entail the liking of their music. I speak of VIPs, characters known in every field. They are too many and I don’t list them. I will only mention two names of “men of power” characters: Pope Francis and Kim, the leader of North Korea, namely the devil and holy water! …

I refer you to the next episode, again for an interlocutory answer. (Why does Il Volo like it?) And finally for my conclusions.

Maura Pucci

Credit to owners of all photos.

A MUSICAL JOURNEY by Susan

In 2009, a Musical Journey began! The American music industry opened its door to three teenage boys who were the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract directly with a major American music label.

Their music was Operatic pop or popera. What was this new 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 is three amazing voices! If the voice wasn’t there, the song wasn’t going to sell.

Journey 01

When I’m writing these pieces, I do a lot of research and I watch a lot of videos. And this is what I found. I looked at videos of the promos the boys did, for their albums. They were 16 – 17 years old and I found many teenagers at these promos. I saw teenage girls and boys singing opera and Italian songs. They liked it because the music is easy and catchy and, they picked it up very easily. And I might add, the guys are very attractive and likeable. The young girls love them not because they are very handsome but because they can relate to them. They were 16 – 17 years old and they were telling these young kids we love this music and you can too. And they did and still do! Once the kids were sold the parents followed.

Who wouldn’t want their kids singing this music? In turn the parents found it just as pleasing. As to the grandmothers they were the ones who were fainting over these attractive young men.

In 2010, they joined Quincy Jones’ “We are The World for Haiti” charity event. They performed alongside 80 other international artist including Celine Dion, Bono, Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand, Usher, Natalie Cole, and more. They were unknown to the group and all were amazed at their voices and anxious to know who these three young men were. It didn’t take long for them to find out.

In May 2010 their first album Il Volo was released.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxZov-qzUvI

Their first album is self-titled Il Volo. It received platinum certification in Italy and the Spanish edition of the album received a nomination for Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 12th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2011. The album also debuted at number 1 on the US Top Classical Albums Chart.

And so the awards begin!

In April 2013 they release a Spanish version of We Are Love, titled Más Que Amor, which includes a duet with Mexican singer Belinda. The album débuted at number 1 on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums. Más Que Amor was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina. And this catapulted them into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market!

In February 2014, they receive two nominations at the 2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards, as “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 won “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIS9daVfw1U

On February 14, 2015, they won the Sanremo Music Festival 2015 with “Grande Amore” winning 39.05% of the total vote over the 2 leading challengers. This win gave them the opportunity to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. As Italy is a member of the Big Five, the group 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. At the Latin Billboard Awards, they dominated the social networking sites and now, they win the televote and the best song according to collective voting by the accredited press. The people speak!

Journey 02

This is just to mention a few of their achievements. There are so many more achievements but, they are too numerous to mention. And, let’s not forget they sang with entertainers like Placido Domingo, Eros Ramazzotti, and Belinda.

In 2012, Barbara Streisand invited them to join her “Back to Brooklyn Tour,” which included 12 performances in the United States and Canada.

https://www.facebook.com/ilvolomundialoficialfanspage/videos/686823822120037/

The albums keep coming! The success keeps coming, the tours in North and South America keep selling out and the boys have grown into fine attractive young men. And, now they’re ready for a new experience. The music evolves and they are ready to crossover. In 2018 they release one of the most exciting Latin albums to come out in years. I would go so far as to say Amame is the most exciting Latin album that was ever produced. It’s opera, it’s rock, it’s classical, it’s pop and it never stops giving. The rhythm in songs like Noche Sin Dia is amazing. You have to move with the music. You can’t sit still.

Songs like Maldito Amor is a phenomenal experience for your ears. The delivery is smooth. It pulls away from the traditional Latin music and it delivers a sound that is very intense. Different! Very Different! The sound is pure and clean and, their voices are spot on! It’s one of those songs that stays with you forever.

This album is so Exciting! I thought about this album the other day and how I would write about it. These three amazing guys absolutely floored me. The beat is so intense and, they are spot on. I think they knocked it out of the box with Noche Sin Dia. With Latin music you don’t just sing it, you feel it, and if you don’t feel it, you don’t cut it. This album cuts it! Good move!

As if that wasn’t enough, they follow up with Musica! This is the album that proved that great can get greater. This album is representative of where these young men are now. It’s beautiful, it’s sensitive, it’s romantic. It’s about love. It’s about them being ready for love. It comes from deep within them. All the sweetness and humility of these guys is in this album. It moves your senses. What I am saying is they have evolved and, their voices have evolved. They’ve grown into their voices. Their voices are mature and have expanded in such an amazing way. There’s an intriguing balance in their voices. To experience this amazing evolution in voice and song you need go no further than “Be My Love.” Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes which lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe.

This is Musica che resta!

Journey 03

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Giovanna in Taormina & Lecce 2019!

Finalmente il Primo (e il Secondo) Concerto (Finally, the First and Second Live Concert)

By Giovanna

After Italy and our planet recover from the current viral onslaught, the world may be different.  As Gianluca said in his live videocast last week, when this is over, it may be hard for many people and many things to go back to the way they were.  But we can still look forward to the fact that music and laughter are universal and unstoppable.

In my last submittal, I promised to describe my first Il Volo concert(s) from 2019.  But first, I wanted to recount a funny story from my 2018 trip to Sicily.   That was my fourth hiking or cycling trip in Italy. Due to the travel dates, I knew I would not be able to hear any Il Volo concerts.  I spent the time becoming addicted to the Mediterranean and Ionian coasts of Sicily.

When we first arrived a few days before the start of our hike, I had trouble calling our bed-and-breakfast host near the Palermo Vucceria.  So I ended up pressing the citofono and climbing stairs looking for his suite.  A middle-aged guy in the street, who was a friend of his, called him on the telefonino (cell phone).  While on the phone this buddy was ribbing me in Sicilian, telling Claudio that he better come down quick, because his guests “si stanno impazzendo” (are going crazy) and every other tease he could think of, winking the whole time.  My helper was a typical Sicilian – extraordinarily courteous and kind on the one hand, and ‘nu sperto (smart aleck) on the other.  Then he hugs us and tells us his name is Piero.  I burst out laughing.  Of course, it is.  What else would it be?  (But it’s a common name, right?) 

Even wilder was the historian/guide at Segesta a few days later.  He was a little bantam rooster of an athlete in his 20’s.   Black jeans, dark curls, trim beard, soft eyes, deep dark voice, movie actor face.  He announced his name was Gianluca.

I was in tears laughing at this point, and just had to ask him if he sang tenor or baritone.   He pulled me aside and we promptly got into an argument (‘na schariatina) in Sicilian.  Two Sicilians arguing – what else is new?  He insisted that our driver, Maurizio, lied when he said we were Americans.  As short as I am, and with my left hand in the air for every other word, I had to be Italian.  I also learned that this particular Gianluca refers to himself as “Sicilianissimo” (ultimate Sicilian) and considers himself an expert in recognizing his own kind. 

I’ve had this happen in a number of places in Italy over the years, where Italians sometimes confuse me for an Italian, not an American.  A few examples:

Near Catania: “Si pare dalla faccia” (It shows on your face).

Rome: “L’accento si senti”  (I hear your accent).

Giardini, Sicily after two days of swimming in the Ionian Sea: “Una verissima Siciliana – nera, nera come ‘na magrebina” (A real Sicilian – dark as the rest of us Mediterraneans.)

Storekeeper in a negozio in Florence:  “You remind me of my mother in Calabria.  I’ll take off 40 euros if you come in the back with me for an espresso e una chiacchierata” (some conversation).”  I told him the last thing I wanted to hear from a handsome young Italian is that I looked like his mother.

Our driver outside Cefalu: “How long since you emigrated from here to the States?”  My answer, “Non ho mai messo piede qua!” (I’ve never set foot here!).

Near Milano:  If you’re a ciclista, you’ll know who the great designer Ernesto Colnago is.  He refused to make me a custom road racing frame years ago.  “Sei Italiana, ma sei troppo bassa. La bici uscira brutta!” (You’re Italian but you’re too short.  The bicycle will come out ugly.)

Eventually I gave up arguing. 

I didn’t meet any Ignazios in 2018, but I didn’t need to.  I have two Sicilian-American cousins called Ignazio.  One’s tall, one’s funny.


Despite following Il Volo for years, and even going back and forth to Italy, I never attended a live concert until 2019.  As I mentioned, I returned to Italia to hear them on their home turf in Taormina, Sicily and Lecce, Puglia, both shows in July.  It gave me an excuse to be around the beaches, the white marble architecture, the restored synagogues, and the marketplaces of eastern Sicily and southern Italy for a month.  Americans haven’t discovered these areas, but the northern Italians flock there for vacanze and ferragosto.  I was delighted not to hear a word of English for a month.  Siracusa and Ortigia, with exotic fruit, baking hot sunshine, blinding white marble, noisy markets, singing in the stalls, street signs in Greek and Hebrew, the sparkling Adriatic visible at every turn, make me ubriaca di gioia (drunk with pleasure).  I finally found a place I feel really at home.

Besides, there’s nothing like Sicilian pasta al salmone, and the Pugliese really know how to roll their dark bread dough in black sesame seeds.   And where else do the vending machines along the beach have bottles of Inzolia Sicilian white and Nero d’Avola red instead of Coca Cola?  Antonio, one my limo drivers, told me that Italians have a name for a meal without wine.  They call it colazione (breakfast). E magari, a volte… (Even then, sometimes, too).  Using wine all day is not the case for every Italian since, for example, Piero Barone, and even my landlord in Giardini, sono astemi (don’t drink at all). 

Ora Arriviamo al Dunque (Now We Get to the Point)

Jana, Daniela, Pat and others in the Flight Crew reviewed last year’s concerts as they occurred.  I wanted to tell you about some things that didn’t make the web pages or the blogs.  These things will not change, even if the Meet and Greets, Wine and Dines, and whatever else they’re called, come to an end.  I’ve never been to any of those things, anyway.

Aside from their voices and their stage presence, in the short time I was around the Il Volo concert setting, I was most impressed with the humanity and grace of these young men, and what veri gentiluomini (real gentlemen) they can be, when they choose to.  Non fraintendermi!  Don’t get me wrong!  I raised an Italian Jewish son exactly their age.  With young guys, including mine, sometimes they are delightfully charming, and other times “it gets real.”  I suppose these three guys are the same as mine.  Here are some examples of what they can be:

First, my all-time favorite, and Sicily’s greatest mystery writer, Andrea Camilleri, died the Thursday before the Il Volo Taormina concert.  If you’ve ever read Il Commissario Montalbano Mysteries or watched them on TV (starring Luca Zingaretti, Cesare Bocci and Peppino Mazzotta), you know who Camilleri is.   I didn’t hear the news until I went up to Taormina that Friday to buy some paperbacks in the tabbacheria and catch the local gossip in the cafés on Corso Umberto.  Those of us who are Sicilians were still lamenting his death a few nights later at the Il Volo concert.  (Sicilians are really good at that).   During the concert, Piero and Ignazio, Sicilians both, had the extraordinary sensitivity to ask for a few minutes to honor the memory of our Sicilian hero with a farewell aria in the middle of the show.  Lots of hugging and swaying in the audience – but well deserved.

Second, some of you may have seen the 2019 Taormina concert photo of Piero holding a teenaged girl at the left side of the stage, late in the show.  I think I even saw the picture on the Flight Crew page.  What wasn’t obvious is that this very disabled young lady, in her prettiest summer dress and barely able to walk on her brace supports, spent the length of two songs being held by Piero, while he sang his parts.  To take care of this young lady who had trouble standing, Piero had to crouch and sit at the edge of the stage to hold her so she wouldn’t fall, as her caregivers temporarily took her walking equipment away, and he stayed that way a long time.  This brave young lady didn’t want any crutches in her arms; she wanted Piero in her arms, and he obliged her.  I was really touched by the look on his face afterwards, as he sighed with compassion, moved by what this young girl went through to get near him, and watching her struggle on her supports as she left him with her helpers around her.  I didn’t expect a young star to be that human.  In Yiddish we would say What a mentsh! and in Italian Che persona! (What a person he is!)  But of course, if he’s like his coetani (guys his age) there are probably other sides to him. 

These are Flashes of Memory and a Few Things to Look Forward to When Italy Recovers

 Snapshots from Taormina Concert

  • Ignazio teasing that every time Gianluca tries to speak Sicilian, he growls like a Mafiusu.

  • Ignazio doing a fake Italian TV commercial with a dial-in phone number to raise money to save Piero’s home village of Naro. Every time the other two interrupt him, he starts the “tape” over.

  • Piero charging up the center aisle to sing at the back of the amphitheater, then unable to get back to the stage because he’s nearly covered in girls.

  • Gianluca completely cranked up, running victory laps back and forth at the front of the stage hand-slapping all the young kids, while everyone in the audience is standing and singing “Volare.”

  • Late night after the concert, people singing Il Volo songs up and down Corso Umberto, even those who didn’t go to the show.

Snapshots from Lecce Concert

  • After centuries of never having public entertainment in the Piazza del Duomo, watching as the stage was being built up each day across from the archbishop’s palace – for Il Volo,

  • Gianluca accidently delaying the show because he left his stage clothes at the hotel. Ignazio joking that they decided to wait for Gianluca’s clothes because it didn’t seem right to make him do an entire concert in front of the Archbishop of Lecce in mutande (in his underwear).

  • Gianluca personally thanking Archbishop Michele Seccia “chi mi ha dato la crisma” (who gave him the oil of anointing at his confirmation 12 years ago), because look what happened to his life since then.

  • Folks watching the show for free from the roof of their apartment building above the piazza teasing Ignazio. Ignazio, always in fine form, yelling at them to go buy a ticket.  

  • Gianluca doing a goofy American accent to make fun of how badly Americans pronounce “Arriverderci Roma.”

  • People in front of me betting on whether Gianluca could make it to the end of the show without climbing off the stage to play with a small boy down front. (He didn’t make it to the end).

  • Piero describing how ten years ago they were so young that they were this short . . . except Ignazio, who was this wide . . .

Che Dio vi benedica tutti voi, e anche i ragazzi e le loro famiglie.

May God bless you all, and the guys and their families, too, during this time.

Some pictures….

They need more publicity than this
They needed more publicity than this!

Taormina The light crew can do wonderful things on that backdrop in the Teatro Antico
Taormina – the light crew can do wonderful things!

String bending on a Fender Stratocaster Brownie
String bending on a Fender Stratocaster Brownie

Lecce Gianlu got his pants back but he may be noticing his shoes are different.
Gianluca got his pants back, but notices shoes are different?

Alessandro Quarta actually wore a T shirt long enough to cover his belly when he bends backwards
Alessandro got a shirt long enough to cover his belly!

10th anniversary thank you poster
10th Anniversary thank you poster…

This is how short I am. I cannot even reach the floor.
Yours truly – my feet do not touch the floor –  kind of like an Il Volo concert!

 

C’è di più.

There is more to come. 

Jo Ann…

 

Introducing Flight Crew’s New Contributor: Jo Ann!

Ciao!

I had the pleasure of discovering Jo Ann, when she answered my plea and so graciously offered her room to share at The Palms in Vegas!  We were so excited to meet each other after several long phone calls.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Vegas, but she did, which she will tell us about in a future post.  🙂   Of course I am always on the hunt for new recruits, so I asked if she’d be interested, and she said yes!  She speaks, Italian and Sicilian, as well as English and hales from the Denver area.  She will be working with Daniela in sharing some of the workload on the various translations, etc.  So, Igna and Piero, you have no more secrets!  Now, if she could pick up some Abruzese, well, the guys would have no secrets at all!  🙂  Welcome aboard to the crazy Flight Crew, Jo Ann!  Without further ado, here she is!


By Giovanna

Ciao a tutti!  Since this is my first time writing for the Flight Crew, let me introduce myself.  I grew up as Giovanna Singer di Marchione in New Jersey.  I answer to Giovanna, Yochanah, or Jo Ann, depending on what country I’m in. 

Guarigione a Distanza: Long-Distance Healing

Nine or so years ago, my mother and son, watching a film clip on television, shouted across the house for me to come out of my office and hear something.  I know my mother was really affected by it, because she was joking with me in Sicilian dialect Giovanna, veni ca, e tale!”  (“Jo Ann, come here and look!”).  My mother hadn’t spoken Sicilian in 25 years, due to depressive illness and traumatic memories, and I despaired of my son ever hearing her speak it with me.  I ran into the room in time to hear one of three boys, ‘nu ragazzinu (a young guy) with eyeglasses stretching “ma na-a-a-a-a-tu sole” into an 8-beat measure.  I was dumbstruck at the smooth richness in such a young voice, in a teen my son’s age.  I also couldn’t believe the “cioccolato fondente” (molten dark chocolate) baritone coming out of the smallest one, or the powerful vibrato from the tall one. 

Up to that moment I was frustrated that Mama had abandoned her past.  This was a woman who grew up singing with Tommy DeVito and Frankie Vallie (of the 4 Seasons), whose own mother sang in the chorus at La Scala in Milano.  Her cousin, Lou Monte, sang Italian fun songs on the Ed Sullivan Show, after he re-recorded “Hello Dolly” silly-style with Louis Armstrong, where even Satchmo did a verse in Italiano.  (I can tell what generation any reader is if they used to watch the Ed Sullivan show, or remember Louis as “Satchmo”).  I don’t remember what was the TV show or clip where Mama saw and heard Il Volo.  I only know that it triggered something good in Mama’s memory.   For the last years of my mother’s life, we read Sicilian joke books, spoke and sang Sicilian and Italian, and immersed my son in the pride of where we came from.  I have Piero, Gianluca, and Ignazio to thank for that, although we’ve never met and I didn’t even know who they were yet. 

Eventually I figured it out, but it took a few years.  I was running around the world on engineering projects, and they don’t have much bel canto music in Zambia, Zimbabwe, the mining towns of Slovakia, or the mine camps of upper Saskatchewan. 

Il Volo Parte:  The Flight Takes Off

A birthday hiking trip in Toscana, Italia in late 2015 started changing things.  Stepping out of my hotel the first morning in Firenze, I noticed a poster with the name “Il Volo,” (which was probably an ad for a CD or something).  The name struck me funny, since I was standing outside the Santa Maria Novella train station, not the airport!   I took a good look, and recognized one of the young men in the photo, the one in the eyeglasses, which were no longer red.  The tallest one now had a

jt2
Chiesa Santa Croce. The Notte Magica concert was held on the piazza in front of this beautiful façade.

striking young man’s face and an earring, and lost his round cheeks.  The youngest one was starting to look like a matinee idol.  My second thought was, “They had spectacular voices even as young teens.  I wonder what they sound like now?”  My first thought was “Italian boys really grow up well, don’t they?”  The answer to what they sound like came quickly.  The guys had won San Remo earlier that year, so the radios in some of the negozi in Firenza, Pienza, Volterra, and Volpaia, played “Grande Amore,” occasionally.  That was my Benvenuti in Toscana: my Welcome to Tuscany, Il Volo style. 

Ecco Che Arrive Il Bello (Here Comes the Funny Part)

Back in Colorado the following autumn, I got irritated at a friend who kept calling me to turn on the TV and watch PBS while I was trying to take a nap after a long workout.  I finally gave in.  There were the three faces from the poster, now in tuxedoes with even more stellar voices, shaking the Piazza di Santa Croce with Maestro Placido Domingo.  That did it!  No mistaking who they were now.  This time I got irritated that I had been in that piazza six months too soon.

But I already derived great pleasure from Il Volo’s music even before I ever went to my first concert.  These three boys always seem to be associated with good things happening in my family.  I will always keep the warm memory of my son (a

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Tempio Maggiore Synagogue of Florence.  Almost a next door neighbor to Santa Croce.  It’s home to some of the best cantorial in Europe.

drummer and baritone) and his sweetheart Anya (a soprano), eating dinner Italian style al fresco on my deck, announcing their engagement to me to the background music of Il Volo’s recording of “L’Amore Si Muove.” 

When I took my third or fourth trip to Italy, my first to Sicily, in 2018 I was frustrated that due to the needs of one of our group, we scheduled the trip so we reached Taormina just a few days after the Il Volo concert there was over.  It was

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The Teatro Antico in Taormina with the beautiful backdrop of Mt. Aetna, which becomes the stage for Andrea Bocelli, Il Volo, and others.

obvious, though, that Il Volo’s presence in the Italian press had expanded since 2015, mostly for the better.  They were on covers and center spreads in magazines in many of the edicole (newsstands), on the coffee table magazines in my hotel, the CD displays in the music store.  Buon per loro! (Good for them!)

Next time:  Finalmente!  At long last, I attend my first Il Volo concert.  I decided my first should, of course, be in Italy, where the guys harass each other in Italian and everyone knows all the lyrics . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is what happens when everyone knows all the words to every verse.

Giovanna

 

 


Grazie Mille, Giovanna!  What a lovely intro and such celebrities that reign in your family!  We can’t wait to hear about your first concert with the guys in Italia!  🙂

I was also able to find this video, along with many others of Lou Monte!  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Lou+Monte+Lazy+Mary&&view=detail&mid=F80461EBE13A2BC3E508F80461EBE13A2BC3E508&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DLou%2BMonte%2BLazy%2BMary%26FORM%3DVDMHRS

Along with several movie clips with the beautiful Sophia Loren!

Jana