Category Archives: Editorials

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

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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

The Return of John from CT

 

I’m Back!

It’s been over a year since my last post due to my crazy work schedule, my new photography hobby, spending time in Colombia, South America and in Yorkshire, England. Now I finally have the time to get back into full “Il Volo” mode. Needless to say, the boys have been with me every day, safely tucked in the playlists of my iPhone, constantly at my side through all my adventures, the endless late nights at the office, providing joy and comfort during all the great times and some pretty difficult ones as well. Before I go on to review the two concerts that I recently had the great privilege of attending, I’d like to mention a few other topics that have been on my mind.

Music Makes The World Go ‘Round

I was born in 1961. As a kid I was always surrounded by music at home. I grew up with The Beatles. I SO wanted to BE Paul McCartney. I worshipped John Lennon. My late teens and 20’s found me dancing to the beats of Blondie and The Pretenders in the new wave rock clubs of downtown New York City. Then it Was Springsteen and Billy Joel. World music. Latin Music. Colombian Folk. I even went through a country music phase as well. As a “grownup”, my tastes moved towards adult contemporary culminating with an absolute love for Adele. My 50th birthday surprisingly brought me to an appreciation of some classical music. I’ve been through them all. Every genre, every stage of my life zigging from this and zagging to that. And then on the morning of February 15, 2015, it happened. My Italian language study group accidentally stumbled upon the YouTube video of the boys singing “O Sole Mio.” Everything stopped. Who were these guys? Was there more? We discovered all their songs. This was very different – for me personally, they made an instant and profound impact. Those voices. The harmonies. The melodies. The lyrics. Their personalities. I had to hear ALL their songs. I had to STUDY them. I had to translate them. I had to dissect every word they said and every note they sang. At the same time, my interest in European travel and Italian cuisine and culture were at its peak. Every aspect of my life was starting to weave itself around Italia. Then came the irony of ironies: “Notte Magica” and Florence. Opera. John listening to opera! And then– “Musica che resta” – Music that remains. Music that lasts. They say in life they save the best for last. I am so grateful that during my life’s journey I had all this music to follow me around. You should be too. Music is wonderful. Music is important. And if this is the music that will matter to me for the rest of my life, then I’m happy. Very happy.

“Amame” and the Spanish market

As soon as most of us heard the songs on the Spanish language “Amame” album, many of us probably scratched our heads and thought of only one thing: “Why?” As a native Spanish speaker, I’ll tell you why. There are 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world. Figure out how many are female and how many are under the age of 20. That group just became an instant audience for Il Volo. Ever see the videos of screaming girls at the airports in Mexico City and Buenos Aires and Santo Domingo waiting for the boys to arrive? Instant audience. The modern reality is that musical artists generate a large portion of their income form touring. And more song sales generate more ticket sales. And to generate those song sales you need larger audiences. Do you think the “business” of Il Volo is going to survive with only traditional Italian “Bel Canto” songs and “Pop Opera” hits? It can’t. It won’t. This was pure marketing genius. And I proved it to myself with my Spanish speaking friends and relatives. I played “Amame” for them. They immediately acknowledged it sounded “different.” And the difference became clear. The voices. The talent. The arrangements were catchy and fun, the boys stood out even when their voices were submerged in the tropical Latin rhythms. While today much of this genre of music is laced with negative themes and/or sex, the boys did it with thought-provoking, positive ideas such as dedication, romance, love, overcoming life’s difficulties etc. I introduced them to their other music. My “audience” expanded their musical horizons just like Il Volo expanded ours. They were hooked. If this is what it takes to maintain their commercial success and longevity, I’m all for it and we should all appreciate it.

Five Years for John. Ten Years for the boys.

My five years with the boys brought me to concerts in Connecticut in 2016 and 2017, Verona in 2017, and Rome in 2019. Finally, “The Best of 10 Years” tour had arrived with two concerts for me, the first on Feb. 1 at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut (Row 2 Orchestra) and the second as a gift at the Wang Theater in Boston on Feb. 3. (Row 1 Orchestra).

A reminder of some of my previous “Il Volo Concert Rules”: #1. Buy the best tickets you can possibly afford. Start saving NOW for the next concert. The reality is that not everyone can afford a $500+ Meet & Greet Row 1 or Row 2 seat, but believe me, it is worth it. Seeing them 10 feet away from you – seeing every movement, every expression, every twinkle in their eyes is an experience you will never forget. #2. Don’t waste time holding up a smartphone trying to record it all. You will miss out on a lot. Concentrate on each individual word and the sounds you are hearing. #3. Learn some Italian. It will add a new dimension to what you are experiencing. #4. If you are doing the Meet & Greet, prepare! After all these years I still see fans walking up sheepishly to the boys shaking their hands, taking the official photo, and slink away in disappointment. Practice what you are going to say. Don’t waste valuable time convincing them that your grandmother’s house in Italy was in the village right next to theirs. Instead, thank them for the joy they’ve brought into your lives. Tell them which is your favorite song. Give them a big hug. They are so friendly and approachable. Your time with them is about 30 seconds. Make it memorable!

New rule for 2020: Register with the Official Fan Club and go to the soundcheck. This is a MUST. The modest yearly fee is worth it and you also get to meet other fans from around the world online. I met a couple of lovely ladies from the club in the lobby and we had a great time in advance of the concert. The Boston soundcheck started at 5:20pm when they escorted us into the empty theater and we got to sit in the tenth row and take it all in. There were about 20 fan club participants and the check lasted about 20 minutes. They rehearsed different passages from a variety of songs to be performed. They adjust the system volumes and the lighting and the orchestra members get to prepare and adjust their instruments. It is so cool to watch. And then, when they were done, the boys jumped off the stage and came down to hang out with the fans for about 10 minutes. Think about it. 20 fans. 3 Il Volos. 10 minutes. Everyone had plenty of time to joke around and chat and hug and take selfies and ask them questions. It was incredible! And it is basically FREE! They do announce at the beginning that there is no guarantee that you will have time to interact with the boys depending on their time restraints but I think it’s worth taking the chance. Afterwards, we were allowed to exit the theater into the lobby until the 715pm-730pm door opening. Use the time to mingle. I met the Mintons and others. Share your stories.

It is important to note that the current tour is comparable to a “Greatest Hits” record, spanning their entire career. Although I would have loved to hear more selections from their recent “Musica” album, I feel the setlist was a good selection of older and recent, classic and modern, Italian and English (plus two in Spanish), dramatic and sentimental, calm and vibrant. Each show lasted approximately 2hrs 5min without any intermissions.

The setlist of 26 songs was as follows, with a slightly different mix between Connecticut & Boston: Nessum Dorma, Granada, Il Mondo, Un Amore Cosi’ Grande, Surrender, Memories, Bridge Over Troubled Water, No Puede Ser, Arriverderci Roma, My Way, Caruso, Maria, Mattinata, O’Paese d’o Sole, Delilah, Core ‘ngrato, People, Smile, ‘O Surdato ‘nnamurato, Tonight, She’s Always A Woman, Where do I begin (Love Story), Mamma, Libiamo ne’lieti calici, O Sole Mio, Volare, and finally, a triple long Grande Amore while they jump around the stage waving at everyone until the climactic end.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. They get better year after year. Just when you think they’ve reached new heights, they top themselves each time. Their voices have matured. Their performances are nearly flawless (except when Ignazio fumbled the opening to Grande Amore and burst out laughing). They are a joy to watch as they joke and chat between songs. Jump up and give them the standing ovations they deserve; they will acknowledge them and they do appreciate them. Yell out “Bravo” at the top of your lungs, or “Bravi” if more than one is on stage. They love that stuff and they will deserve it. They are the same humble, down-to-earth, professional, enchanting group of guys that we all know and love.

And finally, as fast as it came, it all passed by, and came to an end. The lights come back on, and your head is shaking back and forth not believing what you just heard and saw. “The Best of 10 Years”. Oh yes. It was.

John

IL VOLO on SORRISI E CANZONI TV by Daniela

The well-known Italian magazine SORRISI E CANZONI TV, has dedicated the cover photo to a beautiful image of IL VOLO, taken in Budapest.

Inside, a really nice article dedicated to Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio and which I translate for you.

Sorrisi 01

Budapest, night interior.

Stained glass window of a room overlooking a square in the historic center.

Inside, in a slightly secluded area, a strange group of people is laughing, to tears: Ignazio has just hit the mark, on the third attempt, throwing a bottle cap with his thumb, inside a mug of beer, on the opposite side of the table.

Gianluca, between a miso soup and tempura shrimp, interrupts the river of jokes, to greet a young Greek tourist, who came over to ask for a selfie (during the day it was a continuous pilgrimage of fans of all ages and nationalities).

And while Ignazio sings the tune of a Robiola spot (an Italian soft-ripened cheese), and Piero is chatting with Priscilla (his friend, as well as Elvis Presley’s ex-wife), the manager Michele Torpedine uses the chopsticks of the Japanese restaurant, to give us a proof of his first life as a drummer.

All crazy for us, all normal for IL VOLO guys.

Sorrisi-02.png

Il Volo celebrates their first ten years of career: while the tour that will take them to Latin America in October and to North America in February continues, on November 8th the collection of “10 Years” hits will be released worldwide.

Canale 5 will celebrate the anniversary with a great evening of honor, dedicated to the three stars, which will be broadcast in November.

And we, from Sorrisi, also reveal that Il Volo is preparing a surprise for all the fans: the appointment is November 10th in Piazza Duomo in Milan, for an extraordinary event, which will see their three incredible voices, and which will continue with the signature of “10 Years” at the Mondadori Megastore.

“We like to say that it is ten years of friendship, music and loyalty, the most important thing,” explains Gianluca. “We are three leaders and sometimes it is not easy to live together, but we have grown together and we have helped each other, both professionally and humanely. We are like brothers”.

The exact day, in which their partnership was born, is well printed in the memory of Il Volo: “It was April 25th 2009, third episode of TI LASCIO UNA CANZONE, Roberto Cenci, (director and creator of the talent led by Antonella Clerici, ed). He put us together and we sang ‘O Sole Mio’. From there it all started.”

Sorrisi-03.png

How have you changed since then?

Ignazio: In addition to being physically, we have grown professionally. On stage, however, we feel the same adrenaline of the early days. Singing for us is not a job, but a passion, a fun, a way to feel complete.

The first time you met, what did you think of each other?

Piero: Ignazio was unpleasant to me. I remember him on the bus he was singing, but he was also the first one I tied with. Gianluca, instead, was in the group of dudes ……

Ignazio: I never thought about this, Gianluca was on the sidelines, but then it was natural to be together.

Gianluca: When you’re small and you’re on Rai1, you do everything they tell you.

The program lasted nine weeks and we were rivals, a bit of envy was created, and in those days we exchanged only a few words. But the success we received was incredible.

What’s left of those kids?

Piero: Everything. We are always us and we have fun at every concert. We have the same passion and spontaneity of those times. Before going on stage, we laugh about anything. We do not follow a script, we help each other and we get excited a little.

We are not spoiled. We have certain needs, just because we need them to stay healthy and do concerts well. The responsibility we have towards those who work with us, and the public, is enormous. If one of us gets sick and misses two or three concerts, it’s a disaster. So, to avoid the risk, maybe we avoid going to the disco.

Ignazio: Also because we always sing live. This summer, for example, after the concert in Palermo, I didn’t go out with friends, because the next day we had another concert in Taormina.

Gianluca: Musically speaking, we are always in search of perfection, and we strive to grow and make people understand who we are.

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How can we grow as brothers without being brothers?

Piero: It was difficult, but lately our relationship has improved. Before, we did the spite, now we openly say to each other, what is wrong. There is no grudge between us.

Gianluca: There is a difference between being together for work, or by choice. In the first case there is a little tension, when instead we are together to have fun, it is another thing, indeed we should do it more often.

You have very different characters. What is your way of living love, family, friendship and social media?

Ignazio: I am the least social of the three. I know it’s important to keep my private for myself. A little privacy, it takes. My character is particular, I am sensitive, but very strong and hard. I do everything, but you must respect me.

Gianluca: I am a little narcissistic, because I need confirmation. In kindergarten, I always asked the teacher twice if I was good. And this insecurity, I brought it with me, until today.

Every day I hear my parents, my dearest ones, my girlfriend. I vent with them, as well as with Piero and Ignazio.

We love each other. On social media, if I put lots of photos, the fans are happy, the haters are a little less, but I continue to be myself.

Piero: We can’t hide anything between us. If I lie, they notice it.

With the people I know and choose, I am very generous, open, sunny. But I only trust my best friend, my brother and my sister. I have a big flaw: for me, either it’s white or it’s black, I give you my heart, but if you do me a wrong, you’re dead.

Gianluca: I have learned that we must try to understand why a person behaves in a certain way. I never hold a grudge. Piero instead gets angry, for the criticisms and the free offenses.

Piero: In fact, before I used social media so much, now only for work things.

The secrets of your success?

Piero: The first is that we study a lot. The second is our manager, Torpedine, who has been following us for years. The third is the music we sing.

Gianluca: But talent and work alone are not enough, sometimes timing counts. To be recognized, you have to be special, and we were the first to perform at a very young age, in bel canto: this struck people’s hearts.

Who are the hottest fans?

Gianluca: Perhaps the South Americans. (Torpedine told us that in Mexico, fans broke through the window of the hotel where they were staying, ed)

Piero: But even in Bulgaria, they showed us unexpected affection. And the Japanese, apparently so rigid, go wild during the concerts and come to the front of the stage.

Gianluca: Let’s say that with our performances, we help the public to free themselves. We tend to make a very engaging event, not a serious concert.

How can you not let this go to your head?

Gianluca: With intelligence you cannot get carried away by the wave of success, but the people who follow you and the support of the family matter a lot. Staying attached to the origins is the most important thing. If you let it go to your head, then people will notice it.

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What are you missing when you’re on tour?

Gianluca: Normal life.
Ignazio: Waking up at home, carrying the dog around, everyday life.
Piero: After the concert at the Arena di Verona, I went home one day and enjoyed that moment, like never before. I felt an immense pleasure in going to the laundry and to the yogurt shop: it was how I did it for the first time.

Do you want to try your hand at some other musical genre?

Gianluca: If we changed genre, we would no longer be us and people would no longer recognize our music. In ten years, how do you see yourself?

Ignazio: Ten years ago, they asked us the same thing and we didn’t know what to answer. Our way of thinking has changed: so I would have answered married, with children, today not. Situations change.

Piero: I don’t know, new artists are born every day, the future is a question mark. We hope not to disappoint the fans.

Who do you want to thank for what you are now?

Piero: If today we celebrate ten years of career it is thanks to the fans, we have grown together and we hope to celebrate with them 50 years of career!

Gianluca: We thank the musical heritage we have, the bel canto, which has allowed us to travel around the world.

Ignazio: Words are not enough to thank all those who deserve it.
I say thanks to those who believed in us, Michele Torpedine, our manager, and those who work closely with us. And thanks to life, for what he has given us: voice and luck (word that has been tattooed on his arm, ed).

Piero: And thanks to Sorrisi for this cover and for having always supported us.

LOOK, WE’VE PEOPLE IN THEIR HOTEL ROOMS.

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Piero: In the room I always ask that they cover the carpet with sheets, because I am allergic and I must preserve the voice.

I always have two suitcases, a big one with all the clothes and things I need (including Sicilian vacuum-packed almonds and natural tuna in a can) and an emergency trolley, with a second dress for the concert, for safety. And an agenda on which I record the commitments. Including this interview for Sorrisi.

Ignazio: When I’m on tour, in Italy, I always carry my guitar with me, abroad, unfortunately not.

I go to the gym, in fact we only choose hotels with a fitness area. In the room I relax as much as possible, maybe watching a soccer game on my mobile (I support Juventus). I also play football, as an offensive midfielder, and I’m pretty good. In fact, when I’m at home, every Wednesday, I go to play with friends. And when I can, I make two tennis matches with Piero.

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Gianluca: I have no special requests and I adapt easily. I am very tidy, almost maniacal, I keep everything perfectly folded and I even line up my slippers. I am lactose intolerant and pay attention to what I eat: rice, fish, vegetables, protein snacks and for breakfast pancakes with egg whites and peanut butter.

Once a week we “go” with a pizza. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I have never got drunk in my life, because I don’t like losing control. I train early in the morning and go for a run. Sport has changed my character, I have become more willing and disciplined.

BACKSTAGE: How do I shoot a service for the cover of Sorrisi? Here is a nice backstage with the guys from Il Volo directed by our photographer Pigi Cipelli.  

 

I = Hello everyone we are IL VOLO.
G = From Tuesday on the newsstands our cover on Sorrisi e Canzoni, which celebrates our 10-year career.
P = Don’t miss it, a hug from Budapest.

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Really a beautiful article and beautiful photos, the boys responded with sincerity.

But how beautiful and natural they are in the backstage video !!

They are loving.

But what will they be preparing for Milan in November? I really hope to go there!

Daniela

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Can Our Guys Beat the Odds?

We all want the guys to win, but can they?  What are the odds?  Has anyone come back for the second time and won again?

In the 68-year history of Sanremo, only ONE person, as a solo entry, has come back and won twice.  This was Peppino Di Capri, who won in both 1973 and 1976.  There have been several solo acts that have won, that were previously part of a duo, or trio…. they are:  1971 – Nada & Nicola Di Bari and in 1972 – Nicola Di Bari; 1987 – Gianni Morandi, Enrico Ruggeri, Umberto Tozzi and 1993 – Enrico Ruggeri (who also wrote his own song); 1989 – Anna Oxa and Fausta Leali and 1999 – Anna Oxa.  Anna had the greatest comeback with a 10-year spread.  So, 1999 was the last year where someone won, that had previously won before whether individually, or part of a group.  No other group has won twice.  If the guys win this, this will be a first in the history, for one group to win twice.  It has been 20 years since someone has come back and won twice!

Specifically speaking of the odds, let’s go back four years to 2015.  The Italian bookmakers predicted that Il Volo would win back in 2015.  However, the odds were about 3 to 1; with their buddy Lorenzo Fragola, coming in 2nd place.  Nek was WAY down on the scoreboard at number 16!  However, we all know that it was literally “neck and neck” with Nek and the guys at the end, with them winning by a very small margin – winning, none-the-less.  🙂  Remember, they were the favorites.  I could not find any data on the actual percentage that they had them winning by, as the data I found was just an end result and they stop the odds the day the competition ends.  It may be interesting to see how the odds may change up to the finals on Saturday.

Let’s fast-forward to today, this week!  I believe D-Squared, both told me that this guy known as Ultimo is destined to win this 69th Edition of Sanremo (just like Il Volo in 2015).  First off, he actually won the “newcomer” award last year in 2018 and he also wrote his own song.  Nothing against the guys, but I think if you write your own music, and it is good, you have a definite advantage over those who don’t.   He is also young and very popular.  His real  name is Niccolò Moriconi, but goes by Ultimo.  The bookies have him winning 24% of the vote, Irama at 16%, and Il Volo at 13%.  Pretty tough odds – almost twice the percentage points.  However, if you look at the odds from 2015 with the bookies having Nek at #16 and him moving to within close points to almost beat Il Volo – well, I guess anything could happen.  Hey, they have the Pope on their side?  🙂   This reminds me of a great line from one of my favorite movies – Trouble with Angels.  I don’t remember what the scene was, but I believe there was some kind of competition or some disagreement.  Rosalind Russell played the Mother Superior and her response was, “I have God, on my side!”   🙂 Of course, it’s always “Thy will be done…”  Maybe it’s Ultimo’s time?

At one point, the bookies did have Il Volo at 2nd place, however, something must have happened to change the odds – not sure what that could have been?

See below for the current full odds of the Italian bookmakers, compared with 2015:

1-sanremo bets

There have been some beautiful pictures being sent from Sanremo from our guys and Il Volo Music.  One that is very touching, is one sent by Piero.  He finds the plaque in the sidewalk, with their infamous win from 2015.  What memories and emotions, just seeing it there, must bring back?  We ask ourselves… why are they doing this again?  They must know in their hearts that the chances of winning again are very slim.  Even if they come in second place, which is still a great honor; it is not winning.  It is a great risk for them.  Of course the fans will still love them, for we are not “fair weather fans!”  We know they are strong, but if they do not win, we will support them, along with their family and friends.  Just like we did for Eurovision.

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No matter what, they have an awesome world-wide tour plan and hey, as far as I’m concerned, they have saved the “best for last” for the United States and the few dates in Canada, but we all know how that could change and if the other parts of the world go well, they could easily add more dates in the US and Canada.  Yes, they will be in Canada, but only Montreal and Toronto, both on the East side of the country.  A long way from the West or Central areas of the country.  But still just a plane ride away, at least it’s in the same country.   I know many of us Americans are thinking…. how can I get to Italy in September??  🙂  Ok, is it just me??  lol!  

Whatever happens guys, buono fortuna siempre!!

So, will the sun set on their dream of repeating their win at Sanremo, or will the dawn break another new beginning in the chapter of their lives to start their next 10 years together?  We will find out on Saturday, February 9, 2019!!

This weekend, along with the finals, the Detroit Il Volo gals will also be celebrating Gian’s birthday!  So, we will have a celebration, no matter what – of course, we hope for a dual reason!!  🙂  

Ciao!

Jana

p.s.  I was really sweating it there when my cable station had not yet put on there about Sanremo, however, it was finally there yesterday and I have my DVR all set up to tape it on the RAI1 station!  🙂

Thank you to the following websites for my sources:

https://eurovisionworld.com/odds/sanremo_2015

https://eurovisionworld.com/odds/sanremo

https://www.altrospettacolo.it/sanremo-2019-chi-vince/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanremo_Music_Festival