Summer Is Here! Choose Your Brew!

Ann (Anncruise) sent in a photo of a delicious looking cup of Italian iced coffee.  I love iced coffee year round, which got me wondering about how many other types of  summer Italian coffee drinks there may be out there.  Here is but a few of the many tempting delights I found!  Thank you Ann, for the wonderful idea to research yet one more thing we love about Italians…their specialty coffee drinks!

As the temperatures begin to rise, bars all over Italy start serving iced coffee, a beloved summer tradition many Italians enjoy. How do you like yours?

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Italy’s Answer to Iced Coffee

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It makes sense that the Italians would invent a most exquisite coffee drink for the summer. It’s a shaken-over-ice, slightly sweetened espresso called shakerato, served in a stemmed glass, prepared in bars all over the county.

The shaking process yields a thick crema that floats on the espresso. In Italy, ice is viewed with suspicion, and you’d never be served a tall glass of coffee over lots of ice, the way iced coffee is in the U.S. Too dangerous!

(From The Atlantic.)

 

Coffee granita

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You have surely heard of granita, the Italian dessert consisting of sugar, ice and flavorings. The original recipe comes from the town of Messina, in the region of Sicily – that’s why it is also called “granita siciliana” – and it derives from sherbet, an Arabic dessert. Today we teach you how to make a real granita siciliana al caffè (Sicilian coffee granita).

The original granita siciliana is made from three simple ingredients: coffee, sugar and ice.

Prepare 10 ounces coffee using a good Italian blend. A strong Arabica blend is the best choice. In a small pot, pour 16 ounces water, 9 ounces sugar and one vanilla bean. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely melted and has turned into syrup. Take out the vanilla bean. In a steel pan combine coffee and syrup and stir using a wooden spoon. Let chill, then put the pan in the freezer.

Now comes the most important part. After one hour, take the pan out of the freezer and use a whisk to scrape the ice. Put the pan back in the freezer and do this every 30 minutes for three or four times. Serve the coffee granita in small glass cups and add some fresh whipped cream on top. Garnish with coffee beans or a dust of cinnamon powder.

Fun fact: granita siciliana was historically eaten along with fresh crisp bread. In today’s cafes it comes served with “brioscia”, a typical Sicilian pastry.
Enjoy your granita al caffè!

 

Coffee frappe

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In Italian it’s called “frappè al caffè” and it’s usually consumed during an afternoon break rather than as a dessert. A coffee frappè is a milkshake made with Italian espresso, milk, sugar, ice cubes and chocolate powder. Some recipes also feature two scoops of coffee gelato

 

Coffee soda

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This coffee drink can’t be found everywhere in Italy: it’s a recipe from the southern region of Calabria, where it’s known by the name of Brasilena. It’s a sweet, cold drink made of Italian espresso, sparkly water, sugar, caramel and lemon juice

 

Coffee cocktail

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How about an alcoholic drink with your favorite Italian beverage, to enjoy with your friends after a nice dinner? To make a high-quality coffee cocktail you will need an Italian coffee blend, vodka, coffee liquor and some ice cubes

 

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I do not know what Piero and Max  are drinking, but it sure looks like it could be some sort of coffee cocktail!!  Looks good what ever it is!

(Credits to Filicori Zecchinis Usa…one of the most ancient coffee roasters in Italy, founded in Bologna in 1919.)

 

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Well I don’t know about you,

but I am ready to settle down in a comfy lawn chair on the beach

gazing out over the Adriatic Sea,

while sipping on my coffee cocktail listening to Il Volo.

(Oh yes, and it would be perfectly alright with me if that nice young man in the blue shirt and glasses wanted to sit right next to me.)

  Anyone want to join me?

~~Jane~~ 

 

 

 

Un Amore Cosi Grande

Daniela sent us this wonderful sneak preview of the movie the guys have been working on.

By now we all know that ILVOLO will take part in a movie entitled UN AMORE COSI GRANDE, which will be released in 2018.

This article was published a few weeks ago, that speaks of the plot of the film.

From the giornal THE ARENA

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The protagonist is Vladimir, a young Russian who lives with expedients to keep himself and the mother who has been a great soprano.

His mother convinces him to go to Verona in search of his father.

In Verona Vladimir performs his singing talent and conquers young Veronica and attracts the attention of ILVOLO manager who is looking for a debutant to launch in the trio concerts.

Of course the story will be much woven, and will be shot in St. Petersburg.

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The guys with Vladimir’s mother

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Gianluca and the actress who interprets Veronica.

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Vladimir e Veronica

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Un Amore Cosi Grande, is a film that wants to relaunch the lyrics to bring young people closer to this world up to now unknown.

Tell precisely of the “grande amore” of the protagonist for the work but also for his mother and his girlfriend.

The music of the movie will be drawn from the operas as well as some songs IL VOLO.
On the set, between a slate and the other, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, gave some explanation about their role “Recite next to professionals, but in a role that favors us because we remain Il Volo, essentially doing what is better: singing”.

Behind the shots appear at ease. “The lights we are accustomed,” say in choir boys de Flight, those of the stage of the Arena then know them very well, in fact you have organized various concerts, the last last 19 and 20 May.

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Thank you, Daniela!  

~~Jane~~

 

 

Nutella Dreams Are Coming True!

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On their Italian journey last year, our world travelers,  Jana and Lorna,  stopped by the little cafe in Montepagano and enjoyed Nutella crepes.  Little did they realize that soon Chicago would boast the first stand – alone permanent Nutella cafe!

But first a little history on where Nutella came from…

Pietro Ferrero, who owned a bakery in Alba, Piedmont, an area known for the production of hazelnuts, sold an initial batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of “Pasta Gianduja” in 1946. At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing.[3] Ferrero instead used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy (northwest), to extend the limited chocolate supply. This product, called “Pasta Gianduja” was originally sold as a solid block, but Ferrero started to sell a creamy version in 1951 as “Supercrema”.[4]

In 1963, Ferrero’s son Michele Ferrero revamped Supercrema with the intention of marketing it throughout Europe. Its composition was modified and it was renamed “Nutella”. The first jar of Nutella left the factory in Alba on 20 April 1964. The product was an instant success and remains widely popular.[5]

And now fast forward to May 31, 2017…

America’s first Nutella cafe opens!

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People enter the cafe through a door shaped like a Nutella jar, which also includes pendants shaped like hazelnut flowers and a ceiling designed to remind customers of Nutella waves.

The 2nd floor of the cafe features a fireplace.

Their menu goes beyond sweet stuff with savory sandwiches and salads made with the hazelnut spread, including panini with speck ham from the same Italian region where the spread originated.

Nutella has held cafe pop-ups across the country but nothing permanent like this new one in Chicago.  Chicago is well known for it’s flourishing food scene, so it was a top choice for the Windy City to be home to the first cafe.

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So next time the guys are back in the U.S.A. those of you in Chicago,  be on the look out for a famous Italian singer who just happens to love Nutella.

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You just never know who you  may run into at this very cafe!!

Nutella Cafe, 189 N. Michigan Ave., (312) 729-5186, open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

For those of you from out of town, if you take the train, the Nutella Café is just a little over a mile from Union Station and about a 30 minute walk.  If you walk, then you won’t feel too guilty about eating there!  🙂

Buon appetito!

Photo and story credits to Eater Chicago, Wikipedia and Facebook.

~~Jane~~

 

The Wind Music Awards! June 5 & 6, 2017 – Arena di Verona! – by Myron Heaton

The “ WIND MUSIC AWARDS” and some other thoughts for this summer of Il Volo 2017.

 

I was pleased to view the Wind Music Awards presentation today and to see that our group, Il Volo, was presented with an award honoring 1myronthe fact that their Notte Magica has achieved a Platinum album level of sales (meaning sales of a miniumum of 50,000).   Also, in this category, Amazon lists “Notte Magica” as number one in sales. There are also some other awards they have won this year having to do with sales and honoring the fact that they are the best Goodwill Ambassadors that Italy has ever had to the rest of the world.

During the presentation the guys sang Nessun Dorma again, which makes sense since this song has a very, very wide audience around the world – opera lovers or not. But only one song is not a good way to judge a singing performance. Usually we have 15 to 20 songs to use for source material, but I will say that the guys’ singing artistry was very fine as usual. If I were to make one tiny comment it would be that they sounded a little tired – vocally – which makes perfect sense. After all they have been on tour ever since the last part of January with only a few short breaks and further more they have more to do yet up to near the end of July. That is a lot of concerts. One good thing I noticed when they started here in the USA in February was that they are avoiding having two or more concerts back to back to back. That sort of poor planning really hurt them during the 2013 Latin America tour. If you play Trumpet and break it then you can go out to a store and buy a new one but if you ruin your voice you cannot go to the store and buy a new one. The human voice is very resilient, but sometimes we push it too far and it does not bounce back fast or, maybe, at all. The Latin singer Jose Jose is an example of that sort of thing. He can never sing again – ever. You may remember that for the Latin Grammy awards show a few years back the boys sang Jose’s “El Triste” on a program where they were giving him an honor. He received the award and could barely talk – sounded like gravel – too much over singing, too much booze, too much drugs, and too much bad living. Thus, Il Volo sang his song for him.

I have written about this already, but want to share it again. When the boys came to Las Vegas this March they had been already fighting the desert-dry throat since Los Angeles so here our people made sure that there was humidity on stage and plenty of water bottles.  My point is that because of taking good care of themselves, vocally, they sang one of the best concerts of the whole USA tour.  This sort of thing has to be handled and taken care of from one moment to the next through all 2 ½ hours of the concert. But these guys are very smart about handling themselves. I sat in the front row and (as a vocal coach) admired tremendously how well they adapted. The singing was SUPERB! Less well trained singers would have coughed or broken phrase or sang out of tune. I know because I have heard some very famous singers give way to exactly that.

But not our boys. They had it under control from beginning to end. This is what professional singing is all about. Not just the money. All that and the fact that this program is THE most demanding set of songs that they have ever put together for a concert. The famous tenors did this program when they were in their 50s, but our boys are doing it in their early 20s. Bravo !

We need to hope that they keep this pacing steady as they head into the next batch of concerts. I am so proud of these guys.

My two cents worth….(Jana)

On the 2nd day of their performance, the guys did a “360 loop,” opting for a change in dress from their formal wear for Nessun Dorma, to a more comfortable leather and jeans, to sing their cherished hit, Grande Amore!  The guys didn’t miss a beat, battling downpours of rain – even stepping out from the stage to get a little wet – all for the love of their fans!

They were also presented with a new award this year.  They received the “gold” award for audience attendance.  This seemed to be calculated only using the concerts from Italy during May 2016 to May 2017.  The gold range level was from 40,000 to 100,000 audience attendance.  Per Daniela,

The concerts from May 2016 to May 2017 are taken into account. I believe, but it is my opinion that only Italian concerts are taken into consideration, at that time (2016) the concerts in Italian palasport had already been made, only Florence And Verona that you also saw (6000 + 12000) then concerts in 2017 in Italy but only until May, so the major ones were Torino 11.000 milano 11.000 Verona 24.000 (both night) Roma 12.000 (both nights) then others have more capes small Ancona, Roccaraso  Livorno and Bologna.

Last night they were good, admirable for being differentiated from the rest of the performances and also brave to bring a piece so busy on a very light evening. They have shown yesterday that they are serious professionals, elegant, mature at their age. Today they are three boys in jeans and leather jackets, show their age, have been addicted, certainly more suitable to this type of audience, they were cool and nice. They sang under a rain shower and Torpedine accompanied them to the drum. Bravo in both cases, have shown two faces of IL VOLO, they can do it.

Thank you to Daniela who sent us the link to the show!  Watch it before it is gone!

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Here they are singing just Grande Amore:

Here they are singing Nessun Dorma!

A little sad… this is from 2015 – listen how the crowd sings along 2 years ago!

This is Maria/medley from 2016 WMA:

Here are some pictures!

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Ignazio and the rain!

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I think this is so cute – they are all looking at the award at the same time, the same way!

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The last 3 years of memories for the WMA – what will the future hold for them next year?  Only time will tell….  Maybe they will win a movie award of some kind for Notte Magica or Un Amore Cosi Grande?

We can only hope, but no matter what, they continue to soar upward and onward, setting their own flight path and no one can stop them!

 

Hope you enjoyed this post by Myron with a few bits from Daniela & I.  Photo/video credits to all owners….

Ciao!  A presto!

Jana

 

 

 

Il Volo ~ Inmenso

 

TRANSLATION:

Immense

If I’m exhausted

You reap my strengths

If I am defeated

You give me hope

If I die of anguish

You make me happy

You never left me

And you never would

If one day the road

It gets blurry

And I’m scared to complain

My sobbing assaults me

You hug my soul

I fall asleep in peace

I have never left

Of feeling your relief

Immense

Your love is immense

Who harbors me, calms me, heals me

The evils inside

Immense

Your love is immense

Unbreakable, your infinite love

Your love is eternal

Yes sometimes my anger

Clouds my sight

Conversations with me

You give me a clue

You wipe the tears

Your love is perfect

You wash my feet

And you blow my breath

Immense

Your love is immense

Who harbors me, calms me, heals me

The evils inside

Immense

Your love is immense

Unbreakable, your infinite love

Your love is eternal

Your love is immense

It transforms my life

It makes me happy

I dream you awake

Your love is immense

Immense

Your love is immense

Immense until the end

Who harbors me, calms me, heals me

The evils inside

Your love is immense

Your love is immense

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Here is a nice little bonus.  A promo video Il Volo did to promote the CD.  Even though it took them 6 attempts…they did it!

 

Jose’, also known as El Puma (cougar) is a Venezuelan singer and actor. 

Il Volo collaborated with him this past April to create this beautiful song.

Daniela says…”I like it very much and the guys are very good and they give a great contribution to the song.”

 

Videos and translation provided by our very own Flight Crew Italian Extraordinaire, Daniela Perani!

 

~~Jane~~

 

Verona Concert, May 19, 2017~by Valeria Bosch, Daniela’s friend

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WHEN STARS ARE ALWAYS HANDS TO THE FLIGHT

“Dedicated to all the friends I promised a comment on the first Verona concert.”  Valeria

Shakespeare said that there is no world beyond the walls of Verona (“there is no world without Verona walls”, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, scene III) and although for me, Veronese of ancient generation has always been this way, never was true like today  May 19, 2017: in fact it is concentrated here, in Verona, indeed in its ancient Arena, the world that tonight I want is mine, the world I want to enjoy, that I want to savor and centinine! For more than two years I have been following and loving the music of three young people who, by absurdity, can say I am almost familiar with my own children because they daily inform me about their travels, their concerts every day listening to their songs , I rejoice in their success, get angry and, if necessary, fight if they are unjustly attacked and offended. For the first time tonight I will see them alive, but I keep my emotions closed within me, in fact only for affiliate love is accompanying my son, he is not their admirer, indeed belongs to the category of those who mock them without knowing them . We arrive at nine o’clock, I just have time to notice some ladies who are frantic and think, smiling, that surely they are Facebook friends who have finally met in flesh and bones!

The only person I recognize is the Torpedine manager who stays alongside the stairs to the stage side nervously. And here’s the lights on the stage, the orchestra, the director and then … they, here, strangely cool, are like I’ve seen them a million times on Youtube, TV, DVD, being just a few feet away Away does not send me any particular emotion. Appearance. And they open their mouth: it is Puccini’s “NESSUN DORMA”, and suddenly everything changes, it’s kind of a miracle. Angels from the sky have come down to sing, in this cold evening in Verona, their voices, as superb as they can be recorded, are all another story, the volume of voice and harmony that invests you and crushes you improbable!

First, Gian’s voice, warm and sinuous, envelops you and gulps you in soft velvet shawls, you almost want to be able to distract you more and more, it’s just perfect in tones, in passages, in harmonic turns; then Ignatius enters that voice at the same time fierce and vigorous, but also moved and passionate, who takes you by the hand and carries you to flowering meadows, crystal clear waters and blue skies, a voice that passes so passionately in some passages be able to unleash the emotions from the deepest, the most hidden desires, an ancestral emotion you would ever have thought to be able to try. Finally he closes the circle, Piero. Dear Piero, I have to apologize to you, I send the ash head and I regret it all the times that in my comments I wrote that your voice, while being beautiful and powerful, could not exercise on me or the seduction of Gian’s voice, not the passion of Ignatius’s voice.

When you started your part, I was literally annihilated, a voice so full, with such a harmonious power, a stamp so beautifully deep as I did not expect it: your voice was reeling from the Arena filled with centuries and I with the fantasy I saw the gladiators stop fighting and lions sit down to listen! Then I turned my gaze to my son and did not believe in my eyes. He was stunned, astonished, looking at me as if to say, “but how is it possible?” And I realized that the walls had fallen, that IL VOLO had won another battle! The audience toll is overwhelming, applause and ovations will continue without counting them until the end, in the Arena the “Magic Night” becomes even more magical, in few other places in the world the show is dual, one takes place on the stage, the other on the poles: the glimpse of the full moon to the unbelievable is of those that are not forgotten and the two shows blend together to almost make you feel lost.

 The concert continues without a moment of failure, without the three boys having a fall of yield, a voice fogging: and so they pass all the arias we have so many times enjoyed, three voices, two , the solos. I was a little disappointed that, with respect to Florence,” Mamma” was so tender, but obviously some cut was needed to make room for those who were in the end the most moving songs of the evening: a wonderful “Caruso” of to which the boys make an interview that, I am sure, would be applauded by the same great Lucius, and the incomparable “Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae”, which Gian, Ignazio and Piero perform so inspired to transform it into an immense choral prayer, capable of touching the heart of anyone, believing or not believing it is. Towards the end of the concert I reflected on how far the guys made the concert from Florence to today, their improvement is palpable, they emanate security, strength, mastery of text and notes: their music accomplishes the miracle of carrying you while listening to them, on a happy island, a kind of island of blessed ones where only the law of love is concerned and its expressions are beautiful and good.

Their voices are at this time the most beautiful we have in Italy and I am proud of the thought that in a few days they will shine the Italian name in the exclusive music temple that is the Royal Albert Hall in London. The concert is at its ultimate performance, and while the happy boys leave in the middle of the general jubilation to a crazy and festive ending with their “GRANDE AMORE”, I, who feel the hostility of my son now dissolved and indeed I became a little girl, I got up and tried to go under the stage, but a severe bodyguard blocked me, and then I just have to look up to Verona’s sky, that sky that tonight had to overwhelm us with thunder and lightning, and instead of the stars, because he felt obliged to adapt to the magic and the charm of a night like this. And as we leave the Arena, the echoes of the last notes go out in the air, but not in our hearts where they will be long, to preserve the magic effects of the wing music that tonight was donated to us.

Note from Daniela:

As promised I am sending you a wonderful review of my friend VALERIA BOSCH of the Verona Concert 19 May.

When I asked Valeria if I could send you the translation, she told me she knew Flight Crew well and that it was honored that I sent it to you.

Note from Jane:

I have left the translation just as it is as it adds to the beauty of the story.  Thank you Valeria, for taking us with you to your incredible night under the stars.  Once again, a huge thank you to Daniela for translating!

 ~~Jane~~

 

IL VOLO IN BACKSTAGE

Article by Patrizia Ciava – Translation by Susan J. Ambrosini

Being able to witness the preparations of the artists getting ready for the stage is perhaps an even more interesting and engaging experience than the concert itself. Only members of the staff and a few friends and relatives are allowed in the backstage and in the dressing areas, so being there is a rare privilege. This is the time when the artist, away from the spotlight, shows his most real and vulnerable side, as he is subjected to the tension of “stage fright”, which affects even the most skilled and experienced artists.

Backstage of the Rome Palasport, there is little more than an hour before the beginning of the Il Volo concert and preparations are in full swing, but there is no hint of tension or nervousness as one might expect.

In the corridors, some orchestra players, still in jeans and T-shirts, are seated on the floor, talking quietly. Some try their instruments in a corner. In turn, they enter their reserved changing rooms to put on their stage suits.

The members of Il Volo, Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero, are closed in their dressing rooms but occasionally one of them comes out, wearing only half the stage suit, to chat with others or to take a selfie. They hug those who have just arrived and, when passing by, they always have a word, a smile or a pat on the back for everyone.

Their friends, relatives and staff members chat and joke among themselves in the corridor without showing any sign of worry or anxiety, as if they were in a relaxed family reunion.

At a certain point, a couple arrives at the entrance of the barrier zone, pushing a wheelchair where a disabled boy is seated, but they are stopped by a guard who tells them “you cannot go through without a pass.” Ignazio notices them and goes towards the little family group, calling out loud his two colleagues who join him immediately to give a hug to their young fan whose face lights up with joy and emotion. It’s a completely spontaneous action, there is no manager suggesting in a whisper ” take pictures with him, it’s all publicity,” instead we are told not to take pictures or shoot videos for privacy reasons. The three artists have a friendly conversation for a few minutes with the boy and his parents then, apologizing for the short time available, they leave and return to the dressing rooms.

Memory took me back then to other backstages with the “stars” passing by without even giving a glance at those present, as if they considered themselves semi-gods, followed by a swarm of breathless and frightened assistants. Even those who seemed nice in reality showed nothing more than compliance, exhibiting boredom and annoyance to make it clear that they were famous and the others were no-one. Their angry voices resonated from their dressing rooms shouting at the poor costumers who had missed a crease or made a mistake with an accessory. I still remember my disappointment at finding out the haughtiness and arrogance of artists who had been described to the public as “friendly and down-to-earth”.

But filtering out of Piero’s dressing room you can only hear his powerful trills while he is “warming up” his voice. Then, suddenly, a Latin American rhythm resounds at full volume, the door opens and Piero comes out dancing, wearing the trousers, the dress shirt and the bow-tie of his stage suit, and swirls around grabbing orchestra members, already in their evening dresses, who laugh. His father, standing in front of the door, smiles understandingly. Ignazio and Gianluca come out and join the improvised dancing, then someone reminds them that there are only a few minutes left before the beginning of the concert and they return quickly into their respective dressing rooms. A few seconds later, Ignazio comes out again in his socks and with his shirt unbuttoned and runs to the entrance of the corridor screaming at the manager as he passes: “I have to go and get Alessandra’s cousin, they won’t let her in.” He returns shortly afterwards with the young girl and introduces her to everyone before locking himself in again.

A costumer, hurrying to bring Gianluca’s suit, knocks into someone, the jacket slips from the hanger, falls to the ground and someone involuntarily steps on it, leaving it all wrinkled; it needs to be re-ironed immediately. An episode that would surely trigger the wrath of others, ends up in laughter and jokes: “I told you it would have been best to wear non-ironing clothes … better even, disposable clothes!”

Therefore Ignazio and Piero are ready first, and while waiting for Gianluca, they joke with the orchestra conductor. When there are only five minutes left to the beginning of the concert, a production staff member announces that there is a journalist who would like to interview the boys. Michele Torpedine, their manager, argues that there is very little time but they say they are available. Ignazio and Piero invite him into the dressing room and Gianluca joins them shortly afterwards.

At this point it is quite normal to wonder whether the journalists who have often painted them as conceited and arrogant were trying to exercise a perverse power in shaping public opinion by presenting them in the opposite way as they really are. These three boys are in fact the antithesis of prima-donna behaviour, they are astonishing for their humility and simplicity. It’s as if they have been able to separate their artistic dimension from their personal one, preserving the solid principles and values given to them by their families, who still show an extraordinary example of loving, present, attentive, and never invasive parenting; a rare quality. This is even more remarkable thinking that these three boys, with similar characteristics, coming from different regions, have met by chance in the same place, at the same moment, creating a phenomenon that enchants the whole world. It really brings us to wonder about the power of fate.

Then time comes to move all together towards the entrance of the stage and the backstage corridor empties. The orchestra takes the stage first and plays the introductory song. Gianluca withdraws to a corner with his mother, who adjusts his bow tie, then takes a walk with his brother. Ignazio tells a joke to Pif, a popular journalist who came to interview them. Piero’s father gives a last clean to his son’s glasses, whispers something and hugs him. The orchestra is silent, the audience applauds and Michele announces, “It’s time to go up stage!” We follow the three artists who enter the crowded Palasport hall, welcomed by the roar of a frenzied crowd, and for a moment we all know what it must be like to be worshiped as idols by thousands of people.

Grazie Patrizia and Suzan for this wonderful article.  You have given us a rare and incredible look at what goes on BACKSTAGE!

All credit to article and photos to Patrizia Ciava.

~~Jane~~