Category Archives: Myron’s Music Notes

Myron’s Musical Musings on their new Album! – by Myron Heaton

The guys have landed safely in Miami!  They are “here” for a little while, even if we are not lucky enough to run into them, like the fans in Miami….


From Myron…

I had planned to wait for the new Il Volo album to review but I have been getting a number of emails and phone calls about the album that have inspired me to comment ahead of time. I will still do a review of the album later. Since all of the people that have written and many of you on this Flight Crew site that I have met at concerts or at the Il Volo Fan Faire conventions are friends I had the urge to share some ideas about your concerns for this coming album.

FORMAL VOICE TRAINING

First of all the basics: Gianluca, Piero, and Ignazio come from backgrounds that are founded in well-trained, formal voice work – private voice lessons. If you look at some of the concert or album reviews that I have written on this site (see Flight Crew archives) over the past 6 years you will see what factors are involved in the mechanics of good singing. It is not easy!

Our guys have that kind of formal work in spades! You may remember the tour they did with Barbra Streisand and how they had their vocal coach and she had her own. She started working with that coach 6 months prior to tour and had the coach drop in once in a while during the tour. This keeps the singing honest, true and high quality. For the Notte Magica concert in Florence that DVD had a “behind the scenes” video that showed the guys working with a vocal coach. As Barbra would probably say: you never stop needing a vocal coach if you want to do things right.

This kind of training will give them the prowess to handle any kind of music they choose to perform – including the Cuban-influenced Latin music that they are learning with Emilio Estefan.

CHOICE OF REPERTOIRE

From the beginning of their career the guys have chosen great music to sing and it has often been in different languages from different cultures: Italian (of course) , English, Spanish, French, and German. Some times they have gone back and redone parts of an album to sing a translated portion in Spanish that they had previously done in Italian or English. So a whole album in Spanish is nothing new. They have done it before and we loved it. Regardless, the songs they have chosen have been excellent and a person does not have to understand the meaning of the text to get the musical message from that song. Passion wins through in the end and these guys have great passion by the boat- load to add to those beautiful vocal instruments.

So now we have the guys working with renown producer, Emilio Estefan – husband of great singer, Gloria Estefan to produce this album. To get a little hint look at Gloria and her music history. She is a well trained singer and she has done not only Cuban – influenced albums but also, mainstream jazz, Broadway and Latin pop songs. She is superb in her wide variety. Recently, she released an album called “ The Standards”  which features songs the guys have also done like Charlie Chaplin’s “ Smile” and she has a number of Frank Sinatra and Henry Mancini songs that are American standards on that album. Go to Youtube and look up Gloria and Smile. Give a listen. She is very good. I am telling you this because Gloria gives a hint about the kind of background not only she has but also Emilio. So I would say that the guys are in good hands. From what I have heard they are doing a song with Gloria. Great ! I hope they do other things with her. Some of the “guest” singers they have worked with in the past left much to be desired (compared to the guys) . Well they can’t all be a Barbra or a Gloria.

The guys have indicated that they want to explore different musical cultures. They have for the past number of years, done an excellent job of exploring their own Italian heritage and the classical background they share. Now, while they are still young, they want to branch out. This is a good thing. It does not mean that they have stopped loving the music they have done up to now. It does not mean that they are leaving those of us in mainstream USA behind. It just means they want to try new things and they want to take us along with them on the journey. Hopefully, tried and true fans will want to venture out with them on that journey.

Nothing can erase the great albums, PBS specials, and the concerts that they have done so far. Those events will always be part of their heritage and our memory. Will this new album be equally successful ? From what I hear they are doing a number of songs that are original – never done before – unpublished. That is gutsy and brave.

MUSIC STYLE

If you want to get a hint about the new album listen to some of Gloria’s Cuban/Latin pop albums. Of all the Latin American countries Cuba has had a very strong influence on North and South American music. This goes back long before the Castro government came in. Even in Hollywood you can see from the movies in the 1930s and 1940s that the influence is strong. Go to Youtube and look up Gloria and “ Conga “ have some fun.

IL VOLO RETURNS TO SANREMO – 2018.

I had a chance yesterday to watch a video of the recent Sanremo event. Il Volo was not in competition this time but, rather, guests to add some sparkle to the show. They sang three songs – one from the Notte Magica album and tour – one from earlier album and tour and a song that was not in the earlier albums. It was great to see them back there again. I will save this review for another time.

 

Thank you, Myron!!


A note from Jana…

And to all of you out there that are saying “that is not my kind of music – pshaw!” and shame on you!  Remember that old “Life” cereal commercial?  “Mikey won’t eat it, he hates everything!…” as they say…  Then cut to “hey look, he’s eating it!”  Well, to all of you “Mikeys (and Michaelas)” out there – just TRY it, you might LIKE it!  I am not a personal fan of rap, or hip-hop, but if the guys are singing it, then I’ll listen to it.  Remember, like Myron said, they’ve been singing this same type of music now for nearly 10 years!  When was the last time you had a job, the same job, for 10 years?  It gets boring after a while, right?  Didn’t you want to branch out?  Do something different?  Change it up just a bit?  That’s all the guys are doing!  They have a long career ahead of them and they will probably try just about anything and everything in the next 20 plus years.  Some of us may be under ground or on a shelf by then, but they will still be going strong!  🙂   Does anyone remember how many people said “I don’t like opera” when Notte Magica came out?  I’m sure there were plenty!  These guys are chameleons!  But leopards, too!  They may change their colors up once in a while, but a leopard can’t change its spots and we can’t change the incredible voices these guys have.  Speaking of the animal world, they are also like zebras, where no two zebras have the same pattern of stripes – our guys are as unique and individual as they come, even amongst themselves!  Remember, you are never too old to learn or appreciate something new!   – jmv

 

I know we will all turn into “THIS” Mikey, real soon!  🙂 

I guarantee it!

Myron’s compares/contrasts of Il Volo performances just for the fun of it, with a little help from Pat! – by Myron & Pat

A little background on this posting…several months back, I had had a few ideas on what I thought would be great posts.  I was in the process of rounding up a few more writers and realized Pat would be the perfect person to do these.   I put on my “boss” cap and asked her if she’d be willing to take on these assignments.  She agreed heartily, maybe a bit too heartily, later thinking “what did I just get myself into?”  None of the 3 assignments I gave her were easy.  Some were very grueling, like making her search and scour the Internet for some of these videos!  But she eagerly took on the task!  🙂 

In the meantime, Myron sent me a note saying he was in the process of writing this article comparing Il Volo’s songs with past and present performances.  Ding, ding, ding!!  How perfect – I could easily combine both my assignment for Pat and Myron’s article.  I’m sure it would be a smash!

I will say, this all started with a very innocent email from Gale Wall to Marie with a few videos she had found from past and present, and it just went from there!  🙂  So, please enjoy the following article from Myron and the hard work from Pat.


Ground rules for this article includes the fact that I will find something good and something not as good.   To be honest we all know that some Il Volo performances are better than others – nobody is perfect all the time. But I have always felt that even their 1myronworst quality performance is far superior to the best of most other singers. Where is the proof?   Just compare Il Volo on an average day to any other famous singer or group on their best day and see what you come up with. Take as much time as you wish.   See! I told you so! Not even close.

 

Now I am going to compare Il Volo to the only group that gives them a serious run for the money – Themselves ! ! !

 

Source of this comparison: a list of videos put together by Pat Ward plus a few that I have added.   Thanks so much to Pat.

Maria

Sample # 1 is the song “Maria” from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.

One performance is from Westbury outside New York. I will not include this because this venue is never a very good one for the boys (in the round) – bad acoustics, terrible site lines, terrible sound and it is near impossible to stage anything like this. So that leaves us the most recent (2017) Radio City Music Hall performance in New York where Maria is done as a duet and a performance from Louisville, Kentucky where Gianluca does a solo performance.

The vocal quality of the most recent one is better and, of course, more mature. The vowels are more perfectly shaped which then allows tone to be more rich and well shaped. Gianluca and Ignazio show a more “natural” staging and use of hands and facial expression than the older one. Years of experience will do that.

The older performance with only Gianluca shows a “kid” that is just trying out facial and hand gestures at an early time in his life. He is just learning how to relate to the audience in front of him which is quite a job for a boy that is so shy as he was then (and still is to a degree).   However, young though he may be, his heart-felt passion is unleashed in a way that takes your breath away. I remember that summer offered another performance in the mid-west someplace where he was wearing a white shirt and a black vest. He had been ill on the trip and lost weight. He looked so skinny that we wondered if he could even make it through the whole song.   The passion carried the day and he made it –   but we, the audience were exhausted ! ! !   For passion and naked feelings I give it to the older performance. For quality of technique I give the nod to the Radio City show.

Gianluca solo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzQF1Oo1kwQ Louisville Kentucky on August 15, 2012

Gianluca and Ignazio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPRzodp3jLw March 4, 2017 Radio City Music Hall New York

Gian, Igna and Piero

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mscsjgkskC8 Jun 25, 2014 NYCB Theatre at Westbury, NY


O Sole Mio

For contrast here I will use the Il Volo performance from Florence last summer called: Una Notte Magica vs. the very first music video that they ever did filmed at Taormina. They were about ages 15, 16 & 17 when that was filmed and when the first album was recorded.

I remember that it was such a pleasant surprise as a music director/voice teacher to see young guys that sounded so mature. If you want to get technical then you notice that vowels are not always consistent. One example is the vowel “Ah” which is a very wide (or should be) position mouth opening. Here it is correct sometimes and other times it is more shallow. Does it make a huge difference in the long run? No. What carries the day is that they are using large vowel concepts most of the time – 80% to 90% of the time.   Again, compare with other singers of their age who don’t even know what pure vowel shapes are – duh!   It boils down to the vocal training they have had (or others have not had).

The Florence concert of summer of 2016 gives us the boys in their early 20s after years of voice lessons and working with a great vocal coach. I suggest you get the “Notte Magica” DVD and skip to the special features where they go behind the scenes. During that video you will see them working with a vocal coach. That woman is right on the money – Great work. I wish they would have shown more of that session in the video.   A great Olympic athlete must always work with a coach and so also, a great singer must always work with a great vocal coach. That is how you prevent bad habits from disrupting.

This version of Sole Mio is pure – the original song complete. They have done versions that mix the original with the Elvis arrangement. That one is fun but this one requires the best singing habits. This performance is truly great ! ! !

O Sole Mio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw3c5d3aBSE Uploaded on Feb 9, 2011 looks like an official music vid

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHuLWW5r0Fg Uploaded on May 21, 2011 CBS The Early Show New York

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2q3_h-l-Mo Uploaded on Jan 18, 2012 don’t know the location on this one


Unchained Melody

The performances listed by Pat here are all fine but I am going to use only one performance which is not listed. I am using this for a special reason.

On Friday (Good Friday), March 25, 2016 the boys of Il Volo attended the first ever – Il Volo Fan Faire convention at the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Those of us there had a great chance to “love “ these guys to death and shower them with gifts. It was fun and we found out again just last month that the boys want to do it again soon. Then later that night they gave a concert in the Pearl Theater in the same hotel.   Turned out to be one of the best concerts of their whole tour with one of the best orchestras of the tour. My son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law were attending both the Fan Faire and the concert. He is a great photographer and took a video during the concert when Gianluca and Ignazio sang a duet on “Unchained Melody.”   Turns out that song is a favorite for both my son and his girlfriend and it brought them both to tears.   In short, he proposed, she said yes and now they are married and I have a grandson ! !   By the way I am going to post that video soon and you will see it is one of the best versions of that song. Hooray for Il Volo. Hooray for David, Erin and little Jacob!  (Myron, hope you find it, because I looked and could not!)

By the way, the family was in attendance again this year for the return of Il Volo to Vegas for “Notte Magica” – this time the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo Hotel Casino.

Great Performance.

Unchained Melody

Ignazio solo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osdM3G2ZAIA Locarno, 12 giugno 2015

Gianluca and Ignazio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDTbkXJFdo CERVIA-18 Jul15

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p-PO4yyabA London Palladium 3rd June 2016


Caruso

This song deals with the sad, unhappy life of one of the great tenors of all time: Enrico Caruso. This man had many trials in his life, had rough times in Italy but found success in the USA. Even though he bedded many women and had two sons he eventually ended up alone when he died near Sorrento in Italy. It is a great song, a demanding song, very filled with passion and can easily die without that passion.

The two performances from Pat’s list I am using are Christmas concert in the senate in Italy and the concert (their first time) in Radio City Music Hall in New York – both in 2013.

One problem here is the video which has a “skip” in the middle of the song. That is too bad because they are presenting a very passionate performance of this song at that point. This concert was on December 14, 2013 and came very closely after a very long and poorly planned tour of the USA and Latin America. Too many concerts in too short a time including two cities where they did 4 concerts back to back to back ! ! ! One city where they were outdoors in the rain. Too many concerts in too short a time.   They each got sick when then were coming into Panama City.   Gianluca and Piero had raspy voices and Ignazio could not even talk let alone sing. So the Senate concert happened at the end of a stressful fall and winter. They still did a great job.

My choice, however, is Radio City. This place inspired our guys to give a great concert and this song especially was a solid hit on that show. I would say that it is very difficult to listen to this song sung by the guys in full rendition without having some tears. Powerful song – sung by wonderful singers. That Radio City Concert is still one of their all-time best.

Caruso

Piero (age 15) e Simona Collura (age 12) Ti lascio una canzone Italian TV talent contest 09 maggio 2009

Ignazio solo

September 27, 2013 Radio City Music Hall, New York

Published on Jun 12, 2014 IVMO les presenta: Porta a Porta – Solo – 4 de Julio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EgzbIhp80A I LOVE Gianluca’s introduction for Ignazio’s solo

Gianluca e Ignazio e Piero

Concerto di Natale 2014 al Senato

Summary

Even when they were only 16 years old these boys were exciting to listen to. Maybe they still needed more staging work and to loosen up the face a bit. Maybe they still needed to work on tone placement a bit more but that is splitting hairs. The wonderful thing is that they kept working on their craft in order to produce the great art that they do. Today, as we see in current performances, they still work with a coach and they produce even greater vocal excitement as they sing the best in music repertoire.

I will save more songs for another time.   Bravo! to Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero!

Myron…


Ok, you be the critic – here are a few more songs Pat found.  Jana (comments on video from Pat!)

Quando l’amore diventa poesia

Ignazio solo – Ti lascio una canzone 2009

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2DXKVhXk2U Ignazio doesn’t hold out the end note of the song as they do now

Ignazio solo – Moscow 04.10.2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsQ9WNLSuT0 birthday rose – Ignazio does a little flip at the end

Gianluca, Ignazio e Piero – New York 17 Feb 20-16

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZxCLpBpoN8 Ignazio does a little flip at the end

Delilah

Ignazio solo – sung in Italian

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQMSVc4n-CY Ti lascio una canzone Italian TV talent contest 2009

Gianluca, Ignazio e Piero New York – February 17, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k940RpjkHZI Ignazio turns loose on this one during the instrumental part and does that flip at the end

Ave Maria

Gianluca solo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXRilrHfM9M Ti lascio una canzone Italian TV talent contest 2009 – He seems so nervous! I love the way he wrinkles his nose when he hits that high note towards the end of the song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwo_tg1KFxc Concerto di Natale 2014 al Senato What a difference five years makes!

È La Mia Vita

Ignazio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkfLxxK82GE   (Ti lascio una canzone 2009)

Gianluca, Ignazio e Piero

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUl_uJNL11A   Teatro D’Annunzio 5 Sep 2014


 

Hope everyone enjoyed the trip down memory lane…. 🙂

 

Jana

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!

http://www.raiplay.it/video/2017/05/Wind-Music-Awards-2017-a460e9c0-9369-4c01-b348-85efd9652df6.html

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!

trio with awards

trio gold award

igna rain

Ignazio and the rain!

igna rain 2

trio with hosts

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

looking at award

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 Returns to Las Vegas 2017 ~ Myron

nottemagica headerEver since they mentioned to me over three years ago (almost in passing) that they were going to start work on a “big” project about the famous Three Tenors, I have been very eager to see this concert on this tour. The boys of Il Volo started their singing life learning quality singing techniques with voice1myron lessons. This included learning some arias from operas which is sort of a basic foundation of repertoire. They learned this very well. Then they took this technique and applied it to a wide variety of different styles of music – mostly Italian romantic songs, American love songs and some Broadway – all under the loose title “pop” music or as they called it: “operatic pop.”

Now with this project, they are returning to their cultural roots with some solid opera arias – some real gems! That takes work and lot of work with their vocal coach. The end result was a wonderful concert called Notte Magica given in the city square in the center of Florence last summer. I have already reviewed that program on this site and I must say that I was so proud of the guys.

That was on TV and now I get to see that program LIVE on stage in a brand new theater here in Las Vegas. Hooray ! Finally !

PROGRAM

The program order was basically the same as Florence however a couple of songs were dropped from that program and a couple of songs were added that were not originally on that program. First of all a song that I did not pay enough attention to when it first came out but now it affected me very strongly: Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae written for the boys of Il Volo by Giorgio Pintus and Romano Musumarra. I tell you, that it is one thing to hear a song on a stereo system in the car and it is drastically different to have the boys singing it “live” just 8 feet away from me (I was in the front row). What an incredible song. The boys said that they hope to one day sing this song for Pope Francis. I hope so. They deserve that honor and also, the Pope deserves to be blessed by their singing. The other song added to the program was “Grande Amore” , their signature song from the San Remo Festival in 2015. Great to have it back again.las vegas monte carlo

Il Volo in concert at the Park Theater – Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas

Saturday, March 25, 2017 – 8:00pm to 10:34pm

  1. Overture – La Forza del Destino Sinfonia by Giuseppi Verdi Orch.

  1. Nessun Dorma – from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini

  1. Granada – Agustin Lara

  1. Mattinata – romance by Ruggero Leoncavallo

  1. Una Furtiva Lagrima – from L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti Ignazio

  1. La Danza – Gioachino Rossini Gianluca

  1. E Lucevan le Stelle – from Tosca by Puccini Piero

  1. Torna a Surriento – Giambattista de Curtis

  1. Intermezzo – Manon Lescaut by Puccini – orch.

  1. Core ‘Ngrato – Cardillo

  1. O paese d’o sole – Annibala Bovia Piero and Ignazio

  1. Maria – from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein Gianluca and Ignazio

  1. My Way – Paul Anka – Gianluca and Piero

  1. Tonight – from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein – Ignazio

  1. Grande Amore

  1. Intermezzo – Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni – orch.

  1. Cielito Lindo – Quirino Mendoza y Cortez

  1. En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor – Josquin Rodrigo Gianluca

  1. No Puede Ser – Pablo Sorozabal Piero

  1. Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae– by Giorgio Pintus & Romano Musumarra

  1. O Sole Mio – Eduardo de Capua and Giovanni Capurro

  1. Libiamo – from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi

  2. Nessun Dorma – with extra ending

VENUE

The concert was presented in a new theater called the Park Theater which is part of the Monte Carlo Hotel-Casino complex on the strip in Las Vegas. It opened in December and everything is the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and a huge stage with great sound system. A tech man told me at the end of the concert that they were filled with 4132 people (the upper balcony was not open).

ORCHESTRA

This high quality music requires an ensemble of good size. Two years ago they used 26 musicians. Last year they used 38 and this year (hold your hat) they 1gclefhad 55 in the orchestra. Or to put it the way Piero said it: “55 plus one” because one of the cello players was pregnant !!! Cool . That is a huge orchestra. Sitting as close as I was I noticed many players who are also in the Las Vegas Philharmonic. That is the kind of quality that our boys deserve. Minor point: it was the first time they have used harp in their programs. Very, very nice. This really was an excellent quality ensemble.

THE BOYS’ SINGING

The program order is listed below. The first thing that I always note for each live concert is that I am hearing the well-trained, well-seasoned singing of 1-2notesthree gentlemen of 35 to 40 years of age. That kind of control. That kind of musical security. That kind of resonance and tone quality. EXCEPT FOR ONE THING they are only 22 & 23 ! ! !

I know that I make this kind of comment each time and it is true each time. Incredible quality singing from “ kids” (Ignazio will pop me in the nose for that one – Ha ). When you think that the human voice is the last organ of the body to mature – usually around 35 years of age – these guys are incredible ! My choice for outstanding work:

1note

For the whole group Ave Maria – a great piece of music sung to perfection and it sent chills up and down my back.

PieroNo Puede Ser he knows this song inside out but tonight it was fresh with new vitality and excitement. He always delivers.

IgnazioUna Furtiva Lagrima – this is a very subtle and demanding song – very easy to screw it up and over sing. He was splendid.

Gianluca tie between La Danza and Aranjuez but for this show the edge went to Aranjuez because Gianluca had a first class violinist for the counter part (this song is kind of a duet) and Gianluca was in ABSOLUTE CONTROL. That is art of incredible beauty.

The “hidden secret” that I don’t think many people in the audience knew or paid attention to was what some singers sometimes call “Vegas Throat.” I spoke with Ignazio after the concert and he was having quite a time with the dry climate condition that makes it more challenging to sing well. He could not seem to drink enough water. Just as the boys walked on stage at the beginning I could see that this was starting to happen to all three of them. It makes you feel that you are not sure that you can hold out tones for long periods of time for fear it will crack or sound like static. They had water on the stage and the theater was pumping humidity onto the stage for them but it still was a challenge. They had come from Minneapolis (humidity center) to L.A. which is desert and then drove across the Mohave desert to Vegas (an even drier city). It doesn’t happen that often but once in a while. I have heard Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble have problems in a concert with this.

Now here is my point: each of these young men showed incredible will power for the entire two and half hours of that concert. They kept solid, well-supported tone going under firm control. They never allowed the tone to crack or break once. They each presented us with wonderful, pure and very musical singing throughout. So the “secret” is that they were challenged with potential problems BUT the audience never heard anything but quality, professional singing. I had a hint of it in the concert but when I talked with them later last night after the concert, then they let me know what a challenge it was. BRAVO! BRAVO! Very few singers can do that.

End result? This was one of the best concerts I have ever attended played by a superb 55- piece symphony orchestra and featuring the three best male singers in the business today.

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A SOCIAL NOTE

After the concert we hung out watching the Meet and Greet line go by and when that came to an end Jeannette and I finally had a chance to take some time and visit with Gianluca, Ignazio, Piero and with Barbara. They were in a happy mood and relieved that the concert went as well as it did. We talked a little about the next Il Volo Fan Faire which will happen when the next American tour happens. However, we do not have a date yet because they will be occupied with a major new recording project next year so

The American tour will be delayed … They do not plan on touring in 2018 unless they make an announcement later changing their plans…To Be Determined  
Remember they still have a lot of touring to do yet in other areas around the world after they finish this American tour.

We found they are getting to know us better and better each year so conversation gets going a lot easier than it used to years ago. Now they pick up where we left off last March. They ask us questions. It gives us a warm feeling (after all they meet thousands of people on each tour). Relations with Barbara are starting to feel like that of an old friend. (maybe I should say “friend we have known for a long time” rather than “OLD” ). Each of them was eager with hugs, kisses and wonderful conversation. If it were not for being about 1:00am we could have gone on much longer. Indeed, security was closing up that part of the building so we had to leave.

One final note: we figured since there was no full-sized Fan Faire this year we would just do dinner and invite a few people to join us just before the concert. Well, that went different than expected. We started out thinking about a dozen, but we ended up with nearly 50 people in that little Italian restaurant right next to the doors of the theater.

It was a big family gathering. What a family – the extended Il Volo family.

Thank you, Myron!  Great review!

Stay tuned for more reviews from our Flight Crew.  Coming soon!

Ciao!

~~ Leelee ~~

Myron’s comments on Il Volo’s newest singing partner:

A word from Myron re: Il Volo Fan Faire in the new season of 2017.

Jeannette and I had to wait for final word on this from Il Volo. But after talks with Barbara Vitali and other people in Il Volo management, it has been decided that the schedule this year will not allow time for an Il Volo Fan faire – that is one where the boys can attend for the amount of time that they suggested last spring. This tour has caused some frustrations in the planning and that is why it is so late being announced.

Last year’s tour was announced in spring of 2015 and tickets went on sale August of 2015 for a tour in February and March of 2016. This year the announcement goes out today and Monday and Wednesday at the end of November for a tour during the month of March (basically the same time as the last one). That means 3 months of prep for us vrs 7 months last time.

Barbara and we are going to plan further ahead when Il Volo has the next USA tour where the Fan Faire will fit into their schedule easier. So don’t be too sad because in the long run I think this will turn out better with more lead time.

A word about the tour concert in Las Vegas: This year the Vegas concert is being held at the Monte Carlo Hotel Casino where MGM has built a new state-of-the-art concert hall called the Park Theatre. I have seen the place in its finishing stages as it opens in late December. It seats 5200 people and has a huge stage. The Monte Carlo is right on the strip across from the MGM Grand. This place is beautiful and it will be a the largest concert hall in the city (not counting sports arenas).

The Il Volo concert is on Saturday, March 25 (same date at last year only on a Friday) of 2017 at 8:00pm.

TO ANYONE COMING TO VEGAS FOR THE MARCH 25 IL VOLO CONCERT:

Even though there is no Fan Faire per se this year Jeannette and I are planning to do dinner at the Italian restaurant right across the casino from the theater entrance. It is called: “d.Vino” We are aiming for 5:00pm and we invite anyone else that is coming to Vegas for the Il Volo concert to come and join us for dinner and then we walk across the casino to the new Park Theatre for the Il Volo concert.

Everyone is on their own. We will take a tally and make the group reservation for the restaurant. However, everyone that is coming must take care of their own concert tickets, dinner cost and hotel, etc. A chance for us Il Volo fans to get together in a “junior fan faire”. Please email Jeannette or me if you would like to have dinner at “ d.Vino” with us on Saturday, March 25 2017 at 5:00pm.

~Myron

 

Myron’s Thoughts on “ Notte Magica “

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As I write this article, I have heard the CD and seen about half of the video scenes but have not seen the whole concert in one video. That is yet to come. My comments are focused on the concert from the standpoint of music and performance quality. Since it is more of a formal concert than the guys normally do there really is no comment to be made on staging and lighting, etc. The program is presented in a classic formal format.

When I was in high school and undergrad college taking voice lessons I was introduced to some of these songs and, in fact, ended up singing some of them in recitals. This literature is part of an advanced, good quality vocal training program. The boys of Il Volo each went through that kind of training early on and continue it even today. However, when you sing programs of more pop music as they normally do, and the pure bel canto approach gives way a bit to vocal techniques that fit the pop music.

That was the case for most of the past 5 years but now they come full circle to a concert to honor the “Three Tenors” program from over 20 years ago. This kind of music is very demanding from the standpoint of vocal power and energy as well as range. It is hard work! It also represents a return to the foundation from which the boys started.

The songs: (done in CD album order – not program order)

First of all it is great to have a more substantial orchestra working with the guys. It is also great to have as conductor, one of their mentors: Placido Domingo. Domingo has for 40 years been one of the greatest opera stars in the world. He is very helpful not only conducting but also, of course, as another vocal coach. (side bar: many people know Domingo as a star singer in opera but he also has for the past decade or more been conducting many operas. So he is very experienced.) He shares the task with Marcello Rota. Also, Domingo joins the guys to sing the song: “Non Ti Scordar di Me”.

Nessun Dorma – one of the most famous and beautiful love songs ever- written by Puccini for the opera “Turandot”.  All three of the guys take this on and it is no surprise that Piero and Ignazio handle the high notes but Gianluca joins them on the end that is a wonderful surprise. On my first and second hearing of this recording I went “ WOW ! “

Granada and Mattinata are songs that the guys have done many times on tour going back to their first programs in the USA. Beautifully done, as usual. It is interesting to hear the more original arrangements of each vrs. the tour version they usually do. Very nice. (not good or bad – just different and still wonderful)

One song I learned in college and sang on a recital was “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from the opera “L’Elisir D’Amore” (Elixir of Love) by Gaetano Donizetti. This song belongs to Ignazio with his incredible ability to take very high notes to a very soft tone with total control. I can’t tell strongly enough that is very, very hard to do ! He sings this song so beautifully !

Gianluca takes on a song that we singers back in college days used to call “a tear to hell” (pardon me). La Danza by Rossini is “baritone madness” – a song that we all loved to hate. It takes a man (vrs. A boy) of power and resilience to just simply survive to the end. You know already what I am going to say: the short skinny guy we all loved as a boy now in 2016, is the MAN that ABSOLUTELY COMMANDS this song. What an incredible tornado. I dare you to sing with him on the last note and get all the way to the end without a breath. I dare you !!!

Naturally, we have to have Piero’s wonderful rendition of E Lucevan le Stelle written by Puccini for his opera “ Tosca”. The program would not be complete otherwise. He delivers superbly.

On tour the boys did an Elvis arrangement called Surrender which is a re-write of the song called Torna A Surriento by Ernesto Curtis. Lovely song done in its original ¾ time meter and phrases. (the Elvis version was in 4/4 time).

Core ‘Ngrato with all three guys and ‘O Paese D’ O Sole with Piero and Ignazio in duet. Also from their tours and very nicely done as usual.

Maria from “West Side Story’ by Leonard Bernstein. This wonderful song has been done by Il Volo in different guises: as a solo song; as a trio; and as a duet. On this album and the concert in Florence it is done as a duet between Gianluca and Ignazio.

They are wonderful together on this duet. Even though all three did a great job on this song when they used to do it as a trio, I do feel it works better as a duet. Very fine indeed.

However, some of us remember five years ago when a skinny short kid of 16 came out on stage and did this song as a drama-vocal rendering with just piano. We had our breath taken away because of the introspective passion that kid brought to the front.

He always looked so delicate out there by himself and it seemed as though he would pass out after the end of the song each night. How many of you remember that ? Bless you Gianluca! Great memories.

From the recent tour we have the famous song My Way composed by Paul Anka and sang by Frank Sinatra and Elvis on tour. Here Piero and Gianluca are superb. Gee, when are they not superb?

Also from the recent tour Ignazio sings the iconic love song Tonight from West Side Story also by Bernstein. I remember his performance of this when they came to Las Vegas last year. So wonderful.

Then the trio comes back for ‘O Surdato ‘Nnammurato and the always fun, Mama.

They continue with the folk song inspired Cielito Lindo that many of us learned in elementary school. Giampiero Grani does a great orchestra of this.

More solo work follows with Gianluca’s wonderful and dramatic En Aranjuez con tu amor from “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joanquin Rodrigo . This song always features a solo violinist as the protagonist to the baritone.

From a little mini opera called “La Tabernera del Puerto” by Pablo Sorozabal comes an aria perfect for Piero called Non Puede Ser. Of course, Piero owns this song as well. He is so fine.

Il Volo has sung Non Ti Scordar di Me by Ernesto Curtis before but this time Placido Domingo joins the boys for a gorgeous rendition. It is always great to hear their mentor join with them in a song (as they did in the wonderful song “Il Canto”).

The theme song for the boys has been O Sole Mio by Eduardo di Capua and here it gets the original treatment with orchestration by Giampiero.

This concert has a great song for the closing number. The composer usually considered the “king “ of opera composers: Giuseppi Verdi and from one of his most famous operas called “La Traviata” comes the most famous of all drinking songs: Libiamo.

You may think you don’t know this song but when you hear it, I bet you will recognize it. Great (we used to call this kind of wild and challenging music a “barn burner” ) way to end a concert.

This program is almost a perfect review of the songs that Carreras, Pavarotti and Domingo did in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in those “Three Tenors” that they took on tour. The difference is that our boys left out a few songs including some in German and French. That is a trivial thing. As a voice teacher who took time to listen to the CD of that concert and contrast with this one, I must say that Il Volo does as well and often better than the original (Pavarotti was often in poor voice in those later years). To be technical since the human voice is the last part of the body to mature and usually not until around age 32 to 35, There are about two times in the program when the original guys are a bit bigger in size of tone. But it is amazing to me that our guys at 21, 22 & 23 are the equal of the original and in some songs – better.

This is the most demanding tour program they have done and I am pleased to note that the American tour has a relief date before each concert and sometimes two dates. That is what I have asked for for years. Young instruments need the work but also need the rest in between. You try and sing 2 hours and 30 minutes of intense music like this without a break and you will feel the strain.

These guys are doing something so incredible.

~Myron