Today I come back to you with a nice interview.
It is not a simple Italian interview, far from it. In August 2022, Il Volo went to Japan for three concerts, this interview was released the day before the last concert, of course it’s all written in Japanese and I don’t know anything about this language, but our Chinese friend Xinjie, that you have already met here in Flight Crew in two posts : (https://ilvoloflightcrw.com/2019/06/03/capri-history-of-a-meeting/), (https://ilvoloflightcrw.com/2019/07/05/roma-my-first-concert-by-xinjie/) and that you see here in the photo together with Il Volo and two other fans in Capri.
Xinjie contacted me telling me that she translated an interview for a friend and then she thought that the same interview could be appreciated by all the readers of Flight Crew and all the fans of Il Volo, so she sent me the beautiful translation.
From now on, Xinjie will be our eastern correspondent, under the name of KEISYUU. ☺
Thank you on behalf of all, all fans will appreciate this read!! ☺😘
INTERVIEW WITH IL VOLO IN JAPAN
Japanese fans are very polite and elegant. The strong love from everyone can be clearly felt even on stage. (Gianluca)
INTERVIEW: YUKO KATO
I interviewed them the morning before the show in Nagoya. This time, there was also a live recording at Kiyomizu Temple, and Il Volo stayed in Japan for a long time. They had plenty of time to enjoy Japan. What was troubling was the heat of summer in Japan, and even at Kiyomizu Temple, the makeup was ruined by the dripping sweat, and had to be fixed for each song. Because of that, the three got tired of the heat. Just before the interview, the location was changed to a hotel, therefore photography was not allowed.
On the other hand, they enjoyed Japanese cuisine. “Those boys would be happy every day if they eat sushi”, I was told so by people involved. But in addition to sushi, it seems that they have discovered new favorites such as okonomiyaki.
Well, much earlier than the interview time, Piero comes first. Next is Gianluca. And Ignazio is on the verge. Ignazio, who was greeted with a cold gaze from both of them, “Isn’t it just the correct time!? I’m not late,” he said, showing off his watch and making a big appeal. The two smiled wryly. Probably he’s always doing it.
— I heard that you recorded a live video at Kiyomizu Temple without audience, I wanted to see it live.
Piero Barone: It was a great experience. We make music called bel canto, which is an Italian tradition, and thanks to bel canto, we can sing in many beautiful places. This is also true in Italy, and again we can sing in a very beautiful temple in Japan. Kiyomizu Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto and has a great history, so it was really an honor to sing in such a wonderful place. It’s a very small place, so we couldn’t let the audience in, but I hope you enjoy what we’ve done by watching the video. Personally, I feel that Japanese culture and Italian culture are very compatible. Anyway, it has become an unforgettable memory for a lifetime, and I will continue to talk about live performances at Kiyomizu Temple in the future.
— How did you feel about performing at a Buddhist temple?
PIero: We respect all religions. In fact, before the performance, we asked the monk of the temple to offer a prayer. Honestly, I didn’t understand what was said.. ( bitter smile). But we also have a lot of respect for that.
— But the high temperature and humidity made it difficult for you, didn’t they? You spent nearly 4 hours in the heat, right?
Gianluca: No, it didn’t affect the singing. But it was hard for the hair! That was the only problem (laughs).
Gianluca: Two years ago we gave a Christmas concert at St. Peter’s Basilica in front of the Pope, and it was very cold. It was harder back then. Personally, it’s much harder to sing in the cold than it is to sing in the heat.
Ignazio: By the way, the performance at Kiyomizu Temple started recording around 9pm and ended around 1am.
Gianluca: Everything was perfect for us. It is the first time that overseas artists perform at Kiyomizu Temple. It is truly an honor and I will never forget it.
— When is this video going to be distributed?
Piero: It will be in September. (Note: Published on September 18)
— We’ll look forward to it. By the way, I recently released “Grande Amore” featuring Japan’s Little Glee Monster. Whose idea was this?
Piero: It was originally an idea from the label, but we also like Little Glee Monster very much that we wanted to collaborate.
Ignazio: We’ve wanted to collaborate on Grande Amore with Japanese artists for a couple of years. And have already done the same thing with the Brazilian and German artists. When we told the Japanese label about it, they looked for different artists and we chose Little Glee Monster.
— Did you actually meet these girls?
Piero: No, unfortunately we didn’t. We invited them to our show, and they’re also on the tour right now.
— That’s a pity.
Ignazio: It’s the first tour after years, so that’s actually a good thing! Because of the pandemic, we spent our days without doing anything at home.
Gianluca: It was fantastic, the Japanese fans have always given us so much love from the first day, it is exactly the “Grande Amore”. Japanese audiences are very different from audiences in other countries.
— Oh, really? How?
Gianluca: Japanese fans are very polite and elegant. They have the utmost respect for artists, and the strong love from everyone can be clearly felt even on stage. I feel that Japanese culture and traditions are very unique in all aspects, and it means so much to us that Japanese people show so much love for Italian artists on the other side of the world.
— You have prepared a special set list for Japan, right?
PIero: Oh, yes. We talked to the conductor and the orchestra and changed the set list a little bit. Japanese fans prefer classical and symphonic songs, so we sing songs that we don’t do in other countries. As a result, it became a very long set.
— There are 28 songs in all.
PIero: Yes, that’s a pretty long show. But that’s how we love to sing on stage. We love sharing our music with everyone and we always want to do something special for our fans in Japan.
— Singing 28 songs for 2 hours non-stop is amazing.
Ignazio: Every night.
Gianluca: Just like football players. Some players play non-stop for 90 minutes. Of course, we don’t miss our daily training, too. It’s our job, also our passion. This is our lifestyle.
— Can you tell me the highlights of the show?
Piero: Uhmm…For me it’s the first song. You get on stage and see all sorts of new faces, I like to see everyone’s facial expressions that shine brightly when I start singing the first song. We’ve had great reactions in Tokyo and Osaka, and I hope we get the same reactions here in Nagoya.
— I’ve read a few live reviews by fans, and some have said they were so emotional that they brought tears to their eyes.
Piero: I’m glad for that.
Ignazio: At the beginning of the show, I always say, “Tonight is going to be a night full of emotions. I want you to have a lot of fun, to be emotional, to cry, to laugh. “ That’s the right way. You can be emotional, you can have fun, and that’s the beauty of our music. We love what we do and we do it with passion. Of course it’s a business, but before that there’s a lot of passion and love for music.
Gianluca: We’re doing this music for the elderly who’ve been hearing bel canto and the Three Tenors, and for the younger generation who don’t know that. We want to follow those whom we respect and convey this genre to the future.
— Japanese young people don’t listen to classical music very much, so that’s the problem.
Gianluca: It’s the same in any country, it’s normal. This genre is not so commercial. Pop has always been commercial, while classical is not. Even in this way, the existence of The Three Tenors has prevailed in the world.
Piero: (Luciano) Pavarotti at the top of the list.
Ignazio: The younger generation grew up listening to commercial music from the time they were born, so it’s hard to let them listen to classical music. The music used in TikTok, Instagram, etc. is also easy to listen to. Like rap or electronics. So, there are a lot of young people who don’t know this kind of music, and they have to discover it by themselves. Of course, I’m not saying that you should only listen to this kind of music, but I think it’s best to listen to a variety of music, but I also want them to listen to this kind of music we do, and through that, I hope them can get a sense of comfort and feel a lot of emotion. I’m not saying it’s wrong to listen to commercial music.
Gianluca: Yeah, we listen to a lot of music ourselves. From Elton John to Elvis Presley, The Weekend, Michael Jackson…
Ignazio: Ariana Grande, Drake…
Gianluca: Yes, that’s right. We listen to everything. Music is a part of our life.
We’re currently working on a very big new project while touring (Piero)
— Do you (Piero) also listen to music other than opera? I can’t imagine…
PIero: Certainly. After all, I have the strongest passion for opera, but as a singer, I have to broaden my horizons while listening to other genres of music!
Gianluca: Can you imagine listening to only one genre in your life? You can also say that about food. It’s like that I go to Japan and look for Italian restaurants. If you only eat the same food, only listen to the same music, you can’t grow and can’t expand your horizons. You have to try a lot of things anyway. Regardless of the genre, you should enjoy good quality music and good food.
Ignazio: Because you may be the one who limits yourself the most. I have to get rid of it first.
— Ignazio, you’re interested in producing, aren’t you?
Ignazio: Yes, I am interested, and I hope to do it someday. I’m not ready to do it alone yet. We work with a lot of producers and we learn a lot from them.
— Gianluca, you’ve taken acting lessons, but are you interested in acting?
Gianluca: Even if you are a singer, if you study acting and stage, you can become a better performer on stage.
Piero: That’s for sure.
Gianluca: For me, I started studying acting to become a better artist and to have more confidence on stage. But if I continue to practice like this, I may be blessed with the opportunity to work as an actor someday.
— And you bought a piano 3 years ago to write songs, right?
Gianluca: Yes. I have a lot of goals and things I want to do. I’m still not very good at playing the piano…
Ignazio: You’ve gotten a lot better!
Gianluca: Ah yeah, compared to before. I will resume my lesson when I get home. I hope someday I can write a song myself.
— Piero, when I first met you, you seemed very shy, but now you seem to be full of confidence.
Piero: It depends on the day (laughs). Waking up good or bad, changes the mood of the day.
Gianluca: When he looks shy, he’s just sleepy.
— Every time I do an interview, you announce a new project, so do you have any upcoming projects?
Piero: The last thing we did was the Morricone’s album (Il Volo Sings Morricone in ‘21), but then we went on tour and now we are on tour and working on a really big new project. But it’s too early to tell the details.
— Can you tell a little?
Piero: I can’t tell you anything. It’s a project for next year.
— Is it a new album?
PIero: It’s going to be a big project. But we are working on it now, and it’s still a very early staircase, so unfortunately we can’t say anything.
— This tour is like Greatest Hits, not a tour of Morricone…
PIero: It also includes Morricone’s songs.
Gianluca: There are 5 Morricone songs.
Ignazio: Yes yes. We can’t do all 28 songs of Morricone. We do that plus other songs.
— When will you return to Japan next time?
Ignazio: We’ll be back next year!
Gianluca: Before that, I’d like to come back for a personal vacation.
Piero: But this time, we have plenty of time to travel around Kyoto and Tokyo. We also went to the Shinsekai of Osaka. By the way, we are going back to Italy tomorrow night, but we will go to Nagoya Castle before that. We love to explore different places.
Gianluca: also to eat a lot of traditional foods. Such as okonomiyaki.
Ignazio: Daisuki, Nippon! (I love you, Japan!)
Recorded August 12 in Nagoya.