Do you feel that? The excitement in the air! It’s been going on since last week but, it intensified on the morning of June 5th with Ignazio’s message. “Finally, June 5th! You don’t know how long we waited for this day! How many days to think, to study, to develop ideas! How many days to hope it would come! Today is an important day for the entire music industry. We start singing in front of an audience!”
You can hear the excitement in his voice! His words sent chills up and down my spine. His words say it’s over! We made it! Live is back!
Let’s go to the stage!
Did you notice the interesting scenery? So different from what we are used to in an Il Volo concert. Spectacular scenery! And the videos that go along with each song. Such precision! Just amazing! Everything so well thought out. Down to the last detail!
The guys kept the set list a secret. They wanted to surprise all of us. Piero said, “As for the set list we like to keep it a secret. We will try to satisfy every need of our audience by always keeping the master at the center.” And that they did!
Remembering Morricone’s music and having our guys sing it is by far one of the most incredible things that can happen for us. An event that will never be repeated by anyone! Spectacular!
Piero went on to say, “The Concert will anticipate the album that will be released later.” We anxiously await the release!
While they were dealing with the pandemic, they were being very productive. Gianluca said, “We dealt with the pandemic productively, we tried not to give up. Young people must not give up the strength to believe in their dreams and pursue their goals.” He also went on to thank the Morricone family for allowing them to sing an unreleased song, written by Andrea Morricone, “I Colori dell’amore.” A very beautiful song!
Piero was excited to say that: “This is the first time we have performed live TV.” Well guys you did an amazing job!”
We really appreciate the tribute to Ennio Morricone because as Ignazio reminded us “it is the only (concert) date scheduled in 2021.”
I must say, the Morricone project kept them very busy. They had to select and study songs from the master’s repertoire. That was no easy task.
So how do you go about selecting the songs and fitting them to your voice. It’s very difficult! Let me remind you about something Ignazio said about recording a song. Ignazio explains, “….a take is the recording of the single phrase that each of us sings when we record a song. We continue to redo it until we get the best version.”
Can you imagine going through all of Morricone’s songs and deciding which ones to choose? Remember a song that may be good for a baritone may not be good for a tenor. So, what do you do? You redo the arrangements to fit your voice. How? You take the song apart and then decide which part is able to accommodate a tenor or baritone. Not an easy task! Think about some of the concerts where the guys have sung a song as a group (the three) and then decided it should be a duet. Why? Because it is more suitable to two voices perhaps baritone and tenor or tenor and spinto tenor. You need to see how it fits your voice and how it relates. In the end it’s all about the delivery. Once you’ve taken the song apart, you must put it back together again. Shall I say it again, not an easy task! It takes months to rearrange this many songs and believe me these guys worked very hard for long hours and long periods of time, many, many months, to get these songs where they needed to be. Great songs, arranged to great voices!
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. These are the words to the song “Se Telefonando.” It is a song that was performed by a famous Italian singer, Mina. It was released in May 1966. I want you to listen to Mina sing the song and then listen to Il Volo sing it. You will note that the words did not change. Just the arrangement changed to fit the voices of our guys.
Lo stupore della notte Spalancata sul mar Ci sorprese che eravamo sconosciuti Io e te. Poi nel buio le tue mani D’improvviso sulle mie, È cresciuto troppo in fretta Questo nostro amor. Se telefonando Io potessi dirti addio Ti chiamerei. Se io rivedendoti Fossi certa che non soffri Ti rivedrei. Se guardandoti negli occhi Sapessi dirti basta Ti guarderei. Ma non so spiegarti Che il nostro amore appena nato È già finito. Se telefonando Io volessi dirti addio Ti chiamerei. Se io rivedendoti Fossi certa che non soffri Ti rivedrei. Se guardandoti negli occhi Sapessi dirti basta Ti guarderei. Ma non so spiegarti Che il nostro amore appena nato È già finito
So now you can understand what I mean by taking a song and arranging it to fit another voice. Without changing the words look at how the song has changed. The delivery is spectacular! Just magnificent!
The studio work is done. The songs are in the bag and everything in place. It’s time for the guys to restart the live concerts! In essence, symbolically, restart the entire sector.
As to Rai 1, Claudio Fasulo explained, “For our flagship network it is an honor to host this date. Rai 1 wants to remember Morricone who has done so much for our culture through the many arts. I wanted three young people to do it that I admire so much. They were born into a talent, but they also teach us that talent is sometimes meritocratic.”
“Il Volo has the artistic and behavioral characteristics of Rai 1. It is no coincidence that in our schedules of great music, the trio is always present. Dedicating an evening to Ennio Morricone was a duty for us.”
Gianluca says: “For us it is a great journey, a wonderful adventure. A year after his death we want to remember the master in the best way. We were born as child prodigies and after 12 years of career we can say that this project makes us proud and makes us feel more mature”.
Piero says, “At last, we sing. It’s been a tough year and there’s a desire to get on stage and bring all the workers in the show with us. I want to point out that it will not be the orchestra that will accompany us, but we will sing together.” Alluding to the long-awaited return to live, Ignazio said, “Let’s go back to singing in one of the largest outdoor theaters in the world, finally safe. The ancient sayings are always the truest, hope is the last to die.”
In an interview given to the magazine Mio, Piero, allowed himself to go to a painful confession about the very hard period from which we come and, which now seems, fortunately, to give us a moment of respite. “Finally, we sing, after a year and a half we could not take it anymore! Ours is a dream job. We are incurable dreamers. Every wish is finally coming to fruition. On June 5th we will give a message of hope, there is a great desire to get on that stage.”
And that is exactly what they did!
So, let’s turn to the master!
You can ask anyone if they know who Ennio Morricone is, many people will say no. But, if you ask them if they know the theme song from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” They’ll say of course I know it. Everyone knows Morricone’s music! They may not know his name but, they certainly know his music.
So where did our guys begin the concert? They began with the most famous of Morricone’s songs from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – “The Ecstasy of Gold.” Smart! This song set the mood for the concert. What they did with this song and, the other songs, is amazing!
Let’s talk about some of the music. Let’s start by asking the question, “What made Morricone’s music different? Why was it so popular? Why was he the most sought after composer in the last 40 years? The answer is his arrangements and his style. Unlike anyone else in his time Morricone composed and wrote songs that reflected nature and reflected everyday life! In his music we hear the wind and the rain, the howls and the silence! Again, I will go back to songs like “Se Telefonando,” where we hear three notes in this song that represent the siren of a police car. He wrote about reality. How he heard it, is how he wrote. He didn’t describe the event he used the event! When you write a theme song or compose a score for a film, it has to draw you in. It has to tell the story before you witness it.
Now I’m going to step out of the concert for a moment but stick with Morricone because I need to pay a compliment to Ignazio.
As you recall, the first time we heard the song “Makari” which Ignazio composed and wrote, was during Sanremo 2021. When I heard the song, I felt like there was something very familiar about it. Last night after I wrote about three quarters of this article, I was tired so I went to bed. And, as it often happens with me, I wake up in the middle of the night and think about something I want to say in my story. This is what came to me. I finally figured out what was so familiar about “Makari.” Ignazio wrote in the style of Morricone. Think about it. What is Ignazio doing for us in this theme song? He is painting a picture for us! Remember I said, it has to draw you in. It has to tell the story before you witness it.
Ignazio’s song invites us to take a better look at this other land in the south (Sicily). It speaks of “a land of sages and a land of fools, made from devils and saints.” It invites you to live a new reality through his eyes. This is exactly what Morricone does in his songs.
In a Morricone song you hear life! In Ignazio’s song you hear the sounds of Sicily. It is the “silence” of the land that screams for you to open your eyes and look around at the wonder of the landscape, of Makari, and the traditions of the land that go deep into your soul?
There is something very mysterious in the song, Makari. Very much like Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Ignazio’s song sings about approaching Makari and, the colors of the island come to life. The houses, the people, it’s all there. It comes to life before you approach the shore! It’s written very much like a Morricone song. And that’s what I was feeling when I heard the song!
Ignazio, I said you are a great composer and, some day you will compose a great opera. This is the proof. You learned from the master! Imitation is the greatest compliment you can give anyone. You are your own master but, we have to begin somewhere and where you began was at the front door! Amazing!
Now, let’s get back to the concert!
I’m not going to write in any detail about the songs. There are a few other articles which will be written for Flight Crew this week which will discuss the songs individually. I am merely going to name the new songs and where necessary, give you some details on how they came about.
“Your Love” from Once Upon a Time in the West, is a song we all are familiar with. It is the song that the guys sang at Sanremo 2021. As Il Volo fans, this song will be with us forever. There are tender moments attached to it. It is an absolutely magnificent song. No one else could sing it like our guys. I know it touches my heart not just because of the circumstances but because of the emotion and passion the guys have when they sing this song. It will always be a signature song for them and for us!
So, what did they need in this production, a good pop song, set to music by Morricone, “Se Telefonando.” As I already mentioned, “Se Telefonando” is a song that was performed by a famous Italian singer, Mina. The music was composed, orchestrated and conducted by Ennio Morricone to Italian lyrics by Ghigo De Chiara and Maurizio Costanzo. The song was written for an episode of the Aria condizionata a Sunday morning television program. The main theme of the song was composed around just three notes, taken from the siren of a police car in Marseilles.
At this point, the guys did their solos. Where do I begin to talk about the solos?
As I said, I am not writing about the individual songs, but I will say that each of the guys’ solos were phenomenal. Gianluca’s “Your Song,” Ignazio’s “Listen” and Piero’s “No Puede Ser” were exceptional experiences in a sea of amazing voices.
What I will comment on is little Julian. Many critics praised him and so do I! See guys, this is how you were at 8 years old. Blowing everyone’s mind. Ignazio, if you didn’t already sign him, you need to do it before he gets away!
Riccardo Cocciante the guest of Il Volo sang “Quando finisce un amore,” an Ennio Morricone song which he first recorded in his Riccardo SOUL 1974 album.
We go back to the theme song of “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” from the film of the same name. At the end of the song there is a small exchange between our guys and Salvatore Cascio, the child, now adult, of Nuovo Cinema Paradiso.
Raphael Gualazzi on the piano and Nina Zilli, together with Il Volo perform the beautiful theme song from the film of the same name, “Metti, una Sera a Cena.”
Next came “Here’s to You”, the theme from Sacco and Vanzetti. This was preceded by a reading of the story of the two unfortunate Italian immigrants, read by Giallini. For those of you who don’t know the story of Sacco and Vanzetti here is a brief summary:
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants, anarchists, who were controversially convicted of murdering a guard and a paymaster during the April 15, 1920, armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree, Massachusetts.
A series of appeals followed, funded largely by the private Sacco and Vanzetti Defense Committee. As details of the trial and the men’s suspected innocence became known, Sacco and Vanzetti became the center of one of the largest causes célèbres in modern history.
Responding to a massive influx of telegrams urging their pardon, Massachusetts governor Alvan T. Fuller appointed a three-man commission to investigate the case. After weeks of secret deliberation, the commission upheld the verdict. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair just after midnight on August 23, 1927.
And so, we come to the end of the concert and the dedication of “Conradiana” to Vito Boschetto, Ignazio’s dad. “Conradiana” is a beautiful song written by Andrea Bocelli and Ennio Morricone. Very touching, very emotional and it certainly touched the heart of Ignazio and his brothers Piero and Gianluca, and I know it also touched our hearts.
We were so busy waiting for this Tribute that it seems we have missed an important event. Italy won Eurovision. What does that mean for us? It means next year Italy will host Eurovision. Rai, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job but, I think I know three very handsome, very talented young men who would absolutely be the best possible hosts for the program. Are You listening? Great events should have great people hosting them.
In closing today let me say that the guys showed us their talent and their love in this concert. And they really dedicated it to us. When they were singing their song, to Sacco and Vanzetti, they were saying to us, their fans, “Here’s to You.”
But what I really need to say is “Here’s to You” for a phenomenal, unforgettable, Concert!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email: email@example.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
We made it through the first weekend of summer and arrived at Memorial Day! I make it a point of never going anywhere on this weekend but, this year, I decided I needed a break. I’ve been working on the book for two months and now it’s coming to an end so, I decided to run away!
Why I chose to go to the Jersey shore is beyond me. I have never been there on Memorial Day but, my friends were there so, I said, why not! If you live on the east coast of the United States, you know the weekend was rained out. It’s Sunday night and the rain is finally stopping.
So, what did I do all weekend? I watched Il Volo interviews and concerts on YouTube. Always fun! This weekend gave me a lot of time to reminisce over guys last 12 years. As we’re preparing for the big event on Saturday, a “Tribute to Ennio Morricone,” I thought about where the guys came from and where they are heading.
My mind wondered off to 2018. That moment when the guys were crossing over, making some very interesting moves and beginning to come into their own They were very successful and, they were very comfortable in their performances. All was so right! The albums keep coming! The success keeps coming, the tours in North and South America keep selling out and the boys have grown into fine attractive young men. And now they’re ready for a new experience. The music evolves and they are ready to crossover.
In 2018 they released one of the most exciting Latin albums to come out in years. I would go so far as to say Amame is the most exciting Latin album that was ever produced. It’s opera, it’s rock, it’s classical, it’s pop and it never stops giving. The rhythm in songs like “Noche Sin Dia” is amazing. You have to move with the music. You can’t sit still.
I love this album. With this album, the guys spread their wings! It is a departure from their usual style. They have shown their skill with Spanish music and with this album, they leave you wishing for more.
A song like “Maldito Amor” is a phenomenal experience for your ears. The delivery is smooth. It pulls away from the traditional Latin music and it delivers a sound that is very intense. Different! Very Different! The sound is pure and clean and, their voices are spot on! It’s one of those songs that stays with you forever.
Gloria Estefan and the guys really nailed it with Ay Ay Ay Amor! It screams for your attention! And it certainly keeps it!
If you like modern Latin music and Il Volo, then you will like this album. When I thought about this album, I thought about how I would write about it. All I can say is these three amazing guys absolutely floored me. They are multitalented. They can sing every genre. To be able to take opera, rock, classical, pop and Latin and create an album like this is amazing. The beat is so intense and, they are spot on. I think they knocked it out of the box with “Noche Sin Dia.” With Latin music you don’t just sing it, you feel it, and if you don’t feel it, you don’t cut it. This album cuts it! Good move!
As if that wasn’t enough, they follow up with Musica! This is the album that proved that great can get greater. This album is representative of where these young men are now. It’s beautiful, it’s sensitive, it’s romantic. It’s about love. It’s about them being ready for love. It comes from deep within them. All the sweetness and humility of these guys is in this album. It moves your senses. What I am saying is they have evolved and, their voices have evolved.
By 2018, they had grown into their voices. Their voices are mature and have expanded in such an amazing way. There’s an intriguing balance in their voices. To experience this amazing evolution in voice and song you need go no further than “Be My Love.” Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes which lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero fills all your sense and brings you to such passion and heights that you have to stop and breathe. This is Musica che resta!
This was definitely the album fans were waiting for. Their talent and skills brought an amazing balance of melody, harmony and rhythm to the music. It’s all the joy of bel canto along with the passion and intrigue that they bring to the music! Musica is an enjoyable mix of old familiar songs and new exciting songs that offer something for everyone.
With this outstanding album, the guys come at you full force, on top of their game with a selection of love songs that go straight to the heart. “Be My Love” and “People” are just beautiful and “Meravigliosa Creatura” (Wonderful Creature) is an absolute treasure.
Click the photo below to hear Meravigliosa Creatura.
We have watched these three very talented young men evolve and the difference in ten years is the polish they bring to the performance. Their voices have evolved, and their vocal technique has expanded, they have become more intense in their delivery and more romantic. They are truly amazing!
Hands down they are the best Classical Pop singers on earth. They can sing anything. Their whole world is music and it’s obvious in their music. Their voices form a symphony that changes lives.
In 2019, they recorded The Best of Ten Years! The songs they chose are beautifully rendered. Their voices are a gift from God that they share with us. The three voices blend beautifully! Their choice of songs is quite eclectic and shows off the range and the beauty of their voices. Individually they are wonderful, put them together, they are magic!
The Best of Ten Years is a compilation of songs released over the ten years they have been together. It is the Best of Il Volo’s repertoire, from “O Sole Mio” to “Grande Amore.”
Just this past week Sony attested that “The Best of Ten Years” has attained a Gold CD! As Daniela said in her recent article, “It is a nice milestone, as real sales are now extremely difficult, and the awards are now counted on the streamed listeners and not just on the actual sales made.” Congratulations guys a phenomenal CD! You deserve the acclaim! You did it again!
Reliving the past Twelve years was exciting!
So, here we are in 2021, at the end of a pandemic and, bringing back the live concerts. Who better than Il Volo to start it up again!
We had the pleasure of hearing “Your Love” at Sanremo 2021 and we anxiously await the event of the year, a “Tribute to Ennio Morricone” and the new album by the same name. We know Morricone’s music and, we can’t wait to hear what the guys have done with it.
On Sunday, the rehearsals started and, they continue throughout the week. The guys took a short break today to sing the “Mameli Anthem” for Italian Republic Day.
In a few days the magic will begin! They will step out on the stage of the ancient Arena of Verona and steal our hearts all over again! And we will remember how it is ~To Feel You Close Once More!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everything that the guys do is magic! They make us happy every time they open their mouths. But there are moments that just blow us away!
2016-2017 were the years dedicated to the “Notte Magica” project, the tribute to the 1990 event of the Three Tenors.
On July 7, 1990, a magical night took place in Rome: Jose Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti sang together for the first time in one of the most evocative temples of opera, the ancient Baths of Caracalla. This was the biggest classical music project of the 20th century.
Twenty-six years later, Il Volo, paid tribute to the event and to the Three Tenors with a new album and a live concert event, “Notte Magica ~ A Tribute to The Three Tenors.”
The Il Volo concert took place on July 1st, 2016 at Piazza Santa Croce, one of the most beautiful plazas in Florence. They were joined by the famous Teatro Massimo di Palermo Orchestra. The guys performed some of the most famous Neapolitan songs and arias from the Italian and international operatic repertoire all of which were sung by the original Three Tenors.
Their special guest was Maestro Plácido Domingo. Maestro Domingo conducted almost half of the program and joined Il Volo singing the classic “Non ti scordar di me.” Although the guys were not born in 1990, they grew up listening to the three tenors.
They were fascinated and, inspired by their voices and legendary achievements. Now, the guys were sharing their music with a younger audience. This was a great opportunity for the younger generation to experience the same emotions as we did on that magical night 26 years earlier.
This was also the beginning of the world tour of “Notte Magica – A Tribute to The Three Tenors” which debuted on March 4th, 2017 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. The show was sold out. After 15 stops in the United States, all sold out, the tour was extended to Europe from May 5th, 2017 for 29 performances and from September it extended to Latin America.
Some moments to remember along the way:
Ignazio was first with “Una Furtiva Lagrima.”
In the aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from L’elisir D’amore by Gaetano Donizetti, Ignazio makes you feel the innocents of Nemorino’s love for Adina. His warm graceful voice is very bright and strong with a smooth, clear and crisp dimension. He has an astonishingly, acute extension that leaves you breathless. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the tenor range and, he can, easily, hit that high C. Waiting for it and knowing it’s going to happen is so exciting! Ignazio only needs to open his mouth in song and passion exudes from his lips. He’s very expressive and simplistic in his presentation. He feels every note of every song and expresses it in a most sensitive way. You feel what he feels! The end result is a delivery full of passion that leads you to ecstasy!
Next came Gianluca singing “La Danza.”
“La Danza” by Gioachino Rossini, is actually a Neapolitan Tarantella which is used in comic opera because of its’ rapid succession of rhythm. It is really a tongue twister. The singer should have excellent enunciation, to sing the song to maximum effect and Gianluca certainly fits the bill. Gianluca’s highs and lows, his emotion and expression are superb. He has total command of the song. He has a very rich chest resonance which creates a feeling of depth and drama in his voice. It is exactly what is needed for this song. His ability to sing from the lowest to the highest note in the baritone range gives him the ability to move along with the rhythmic movement of the song. There are many videos of Gianluca singing La Danza but, I chose this one because he is so animated, so happy, he’s feeling the orchestra and he’s even leading them at one point. In the end, he had the time of his life with this performance. Maybe because he was at home in Abruzzi, enjoying it with his people! A difficult song, a beautiful delivery!
(Click on the photo below to view “La Danza”)
And finally, Piero with “No Puede Ser.”
“No Puede Ser” from the opera La Tabernera del Puerto was composer by Pablo Sorozábal. Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernández-Shaw wrote the Spanish Libretto.
Piero’s voice really comes to life in this aria. He has the brightness and height of a lyric tenor, but with a heavier vocal weight enabling his voice to be “pushed” to dramatic climaxes with less strain than his lighter-voice counterparts. Every note that comes out of his mouth reaches you with such intensity and remains with you for a long time. It’s the voice that reaches out to you and demands your attention. From the first note Piero pierces your soul! His passion comes through in his music. Arias are very dramatic and, Piero brings all the drama of the aria into his performance. Always a showstopper!
The Notte Magica tour, which followed included, in addition to opera tunes such as “Nessun Dorma”, “E Lucean le Stelle” and “Una Furtiva Lagrima”, there were famous songs in Spanish like “Granada” and “No Puede Ser.” There were pieces of traditional American songs like “My Way” (from the original French song “Comme d’habitude,” English lyrics by Paul Anka and made famous by Frank Sinatra) and “Maria” from the musical “West Side Story.” There were the traditional Neapolitan classics such as “Torna a Surriento”, “O Surdato nnammurato” and “O Sole Mio”. They also included romances like “Mattinata” and Italian songs such as “Caruso” by Lucio Dalla, which was a fantastic interpretation of the great Luciano Pavarotti. All of this is embellished with symphonic masterpieces performed only by the orchestra, such as the prelude of Bizet’s “Carmen” and the intermezzo of Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” (my favorite opera).
(Nessun Dorma, the first Notte Magica in Florence, the beginning of the video is shaky, but then continues well, live video recorded by Daniela)
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca explained that their tour had a mission. That is to make known and appreciated the value of this repertoire even to those who have never listened to it before. And the intent seems perfectly successful because it was applauded by at least three generations.
The pearl of the evening “Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae”, was an Ave Maria written specifically for Il Volo that they dreamed of performing for Pope Francis. The guys did in fact sing it, for the Holy Father, at World Youth Day in Panama City.
And to round it off, they ended the concert with “Grande Amore”!
When I was researching the material for this article, I found, in our archives, some beautiful emotions expressed by our Daniela from Flight Crew about the event in Piazza Santa Croce, and I would like to share them with you.
“The magic of that night was that no one knew what to expect! We all know that the boys have incredible voices, but when they started with the Nessun Dorma, I think all those present held their breath to the end.
‘Oh my God, it’s very difficult,’ I thought, and even the boys were very emotional. There was a palpable tension in the air.
At the final note, we could not believe our ears, we all got up and applauded for a very long time. Teardrops fell from our eyes. They were very good, we were all very proud of them, and they were wringing their hands, hugging each other, moved by the success of the song.
The various songs went by fast and, the evening was beautiful. The muggy heat of the afternoon had given way to a nice evening temperature and Piazza Santa Croce was truly magnificent. Everyone present was very much involved.
Between one song and another there were presentations made by the boys themselves, repeated twice, once in Italian and once in English and this was funny because Piero said: ‘Rewind everything and repeat because the grandmother in the front row has not heard well.’
There were also strange moments, because it was summer and it was hot and yet, because the CD would come out at Christmas, they also sang a Christmas song, which was not added on the CD.
And Gianluca occasionally said, ‘Congratulations, Merry Christmas!’
The boys were really elegant, and the stage was huge, with a large chandelier that came down from the roof and emanated lights of many colors.
People reacted with enthusiastic applauses for their great affection, but also because they recognized the skill of our boys – Il Volo.”
Also in our archives was a description of the opening of the concert in Detroit, in the United States, which was written by our administrator at Flight Crew, Jana, and I would like to share it with you.
“The lights went down in the theatre, and they went up on the stage, a deep blue light created a reminiscent backdrop of the evening sky in Florence. The smoke machine started to create a subtle breeze in the air. A quiet hush fell over the audience as the orchestra members strolled out onto the stage. The crowd clapped politely. Then the maestro, Joseph Modica, came out; again, the crowd clapped. The lights changed from red, to blue, to purple, to teal, and back again, all night. Very similar to the Florence concert, actually. Joseph raised his hands and, the first notes of the violins could be heard resounding over the crowd. That song, that most of us had only heard on the CD or TV, was now playing live, right in front of us. The sing-songy violins spoke and the cellos and bass answered back to them. Soon, it was over. The audience cheered and clapped, knowing that what they were really waiting for was about to appear before their eyes. Seconds later, the Notte Magica truly began.”
The concert, Notte Magica in Florence, was filmed and broadcast in the United States by the national television network PBS, and in Italy by Canale 5. It was also broadcast in over 500 cinemas in Italy and around the world.
Staying with Notte Magica for a moment….
Victoria, one of our Flight Crew members, sent in this beautiful video clip that her 90-year-old Il Volo fan friend sent to her! Victoria was wondering who the woman with the dark hair was and what was the story behind this video? So, when you want the facts, where do you go? To our faithful and ever ready Italian Correspondent Extraordinare, Daniela Perani, who gave us the tender story.
The story is simple. There are six children, 5 females and 1 male. The woman with the dark hair is their mother, who has made many sacrifices for them. Four years earlier, they lost their dad, who was a sailor. They were not wealthy and, they led simple lives. They were always cheerful and, their dad was always there for them. These children made a promise to their dad that they would take care of their mother, but for four years she was always so sad.
The children wanted to do something to make their mother happy so, to show their love, they took her to the Maria De Filippi program, C’è Posta Per Te, which they knew she would like. Knowing how much she loved Il Volo, they called the guys to tell them about their mother. Piero, Ignazio, and Gianluca, gave her beautiful words of support, a bracelet, and sang for her. Then they invited the whole family to the concert in Rome.
In this video you will notice how touched she is and how she looks admirably at the boys as they sing. Her tears touched all of us!
Our journey this week showed us the magic of Il Volo. Something all their fans know about. The magic continued throughout the years. Such a short time but 12 years is like an eternity when we think about all they have done.
Soon we will hear our guys live at the Ancient Arena of Verona. The concerts will come back. All the sadness will soon be over and, we will “Let the Magic Begin” all over again.
So happy you are back on stage. It was lonely without you!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
The Lion has roared! Sanremo is over and a new phase begins in the life of Il Volo.
It’s 2015 and the guys are on top of the world. They won Sanremo but above all they won the hearts of the Italian people. They were home! They were finally recognized by their people!
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about returning to Montepagano after Sanremo….
“On Sunday evening, when I returned to Montepagano, I found the whole village in a party, not just my grandfather but all my countrymen were waiting for me from the morning to celebrate. Everyone was there, including the mayor. And then, the journalists, the local TV and a crowd of people who we could not count.
In a certain sense, the post-Sanremo celebrations continued until August 8th, 2015, the date of our concert in Chieti.”
This concert was important to Gianluca and he wanted to invite some special people to it.
Gianluca continues, “I went to visit the children of the A.G.B.E., the Association of Parents of the Emopatic Children, of Pescara. They ranged in age from 4 to 15 years, and I invited them to our concert of Il Volo Live 2015 in Chieti because I knew that Piero and Ignazio would have been happy to meet them. And so it was: they came, they had fun and we spent time together taking pictures and signing autographs.”
A.G.B.E. was born in 2000 from the idea of a group of parents with children from the hemopaths treated at the Santo Spirito hospital in the city. The purpose of the association is to give support in every way to the children and families during and after the period of treatment.
Gianluca continues: “The thing that honors me most is they were inspired by my story with Ti Lascio Una Canzone. These people have the children dedicate every year at Christmas time a show that keeps them very busy and the children have a lot of fun doing it.
Chieti was a very exciting moment of the tour but there were many if I think about it. Even just the fact of having scheduled twenty-five dates – from Locarno, in Switzerland, in Trieste and then up to Taormina, Palermo, Malta and the final date at the Arena of Verona, passing through Brescia and Rome, just to name a few – all sold out! That was an immense emotion.”
But, before we talk about all the emotions, let’s take a step back and see where this all began in December 2014….
Two months earlier!
On December 28th, Piero, became an honorary “Ambassador of Naro in the World”. The ceremony took place at the Baroque Church of San Francesco. Ignazio and Gianluca were also present.
It was obvious that many people from Naro and the surrounding area would attend so a large screen was placed outside the Church to accommodate all those who weren’t able to get into the church.
The event was presented by Totò Nocera, a doctor and artist from Narese, who recalled all the connections between Piero and his hometown of Naro, to which Piero has remained and will always remain very attached.
Piero and his guests Ignazio and Gianluca visited the monuments of the Fulgentissima Città Barocca. They also took part in the street festival sharing food with their fans and tasting typical local products.
Naro for Piero means family. It is in Via Verdessa, in the sant’Erasmo district, that Piero calls home. Via Vanelle, on the other hand, is the street where Piero spent most of his childhood. It is the street where his grandmother Rina and grandfather Pietro Ognibene lived.
Mr. Ognibene is a highly esteemed storyteller of the town and he writes poetry in the local dialect. He is at the heart of what Naro is about and he is at the very heart of Piero. It was Pietro who first heard Piero sing and believed that he had great singing skills.
In 2005, a landslide destroyed Via Vanelle but Piero decided to meet with the surviving inhabitants and share his affections with them. This is one of the oldest streets in Naro.
After this event it was announced that the guys would sing at Sanremo 2015. It was also announced that the winner of Sanremo would go to Eurovision 2015.
After the guys won Sanremo, the people of Naro crowned Piero “Baruneddu” of the city. “Baruneddu” and “Prince of Naro” are the names that fans have chosen for their darling, Piero. The first is the dialectization of the artist’s rather noble surname, the second alludes to Piero’s iconic responsibility to represent Naro in the world.
The victory in Sanremo represented for the Naresi a confirmation of the great talent of Piero, already demonstrated on the occasion of his participation in the Talent show that gave him notoriety in 2009, Ti Lascio Una Canzone (I leave you a song), when he was just a shy boy hidden behind his big red glasses, today they have become for him almost a distinctive sign.
Let’s turn to Ignazio to see what happened when he returned to Marsala….
“On February 18th, 2015 the president of the City Council of the City of Marsala, Enzo Sturiano, gave Ignazio a Gold Medal making him Ambassador of the City of Marsala in the World.
Ignazio’s remarks that day stayed in the minds of all present for a long time. Let’s listen to what Ignazio had to say….
“There would be many things to say, because it’s really unexpected, starting from a small city like Marsala and beginning to study a little for fun, and then after 11 years, you’re ambassador of your city, so it’s really something inexplicable. It is also difficult to explain the emotion, but what I can say is in recent years, sometimes I was also criticized by Marsala, people thought I was a haughty guy, who had found the opportunity to go on air to Rai1 and has become who knows what!!
What I have learned, and I do not want to be a teacher, is that before judging a person, one must know him. (applause)
The problem we have today is that many people judge immediately, instead of doing the actions, we all judge and say only words.
In fact, here today, I came with a friend of mine, he came to my house. I unfortunately was not there, but when I went home, we talked about it, it’s this boy here . . . get up.
What’s your name? Antonio Maniscalco?
Well, this guy is an Italian boxing champion, right? Lately I’ve heard people say that Marsala has recently forgotten about her talents and is only interested in me.
Instead, I hope that Marsala is aware, even of these small but great realities, that they are like him in boxing and many other people in all sectors, because Marsala is full of talents.
What I wanted to tell you, is that I am the first who would like to have a friend ambassador, in fact, I’m the first one who would like to share the emotions with another person, but I think that many people speak only to talk, and to get out the air from their mouth.
I wanted to say thank you, because in recent years I felt supported by Marsala, and, apart from the politics, with Enzo there is a great friendship.
I have always pulled back with regards to politics because in my position it is always better to avoid, but with Enzo there is a friendship that goes beyond politics, he is a beautiful person.
And then there are all of you here, I think that in the end there is always something that unites us, in this case THE MUSIC unites us all.
We may be acquaintances or friends but, in the end, we are all the same, we are all in the same place, so sometimes I think there is no need to make any difference.
So, I wanted to say thank you to all the inhabitants of Marsala and the city council.
(applause, people shout Mayor you, Mayor you and Ignazio respond to them)
I would not run a city ….. I must be mayor of my life, first of all.
Thank you very much for this nomination, I am truly honored and, I hope I will never disown this nomination, because it is really nice to be ambassadors of your city and I hope to always bring prestige to this city.”
I think the thing I love best about Ignazio is he is very truthful and, he always presents it as he sees it and, says it as it is! Bravo, Ignazio! Spoken from the heart!
Outside the Town Hall, everyone sang Grande Amore with Ignazio.
So, let’s return to Gianluca….
So as Gianluca said, on Sunday evening, when he returned to Montepagano, he found the whole village in a party, not just his grandfather but all his countrymen were waiting for him from the morning to celebrate.
Gianluca tells us what happened next….
“As happened to Piero in Naro and Ignazio in Marsala, the mayor appointed me Ambassador to the World from Roseto degli Abruzzi and gave honorary citizenship to Piero, Ignazio and Torpedine.
But before that happened, I was named, ‘Ambassador of Abruzzo 2015’ by the city of Roseto. The award for this honor was a statue depicting the warrior Capestrano, a well-known historical figure. The original statue was found buried in the soil by a farmer while working in his field and, it is now on display in the National Archaeological Museum of the Abruzzi in Chieti.
Every year on August 5th we celebrate the Day of Abruzzesi in the world, a day set up with a regional law to remember all the emigrants. On that day five ambassadors of Abruzzo are appointed in the world, that is, Abruzzesi who have come out of the regional boundaries for different reasons and give prestige to their region.
The ceremony, which has a different location every year, was held in the Fortress of Civitalla del Tronto, a village that is a jewel of the province of Teramo, right on the border with the Marches.
I however, am still in Abruzzo and therefore I cannot be appointed ambassador according to regional regulations, I was awarded with the beautiful statuette that replicates the warrior Capestrano, for having brought the name of my land around the world.
I cannot tell you what a feeling it is to receive from the regional Presidency the cultural symbol of my region.”
Gianluca was also given an award by the publishers of the Eldos News, who named him “World Ambassador of the city of Roseto degli Abruzzo.” This award was a plaque in gold and silver made by the prominent goldsmith, Roberto Talamonti. Piero and Ignazio were also included in this event, being named Honorary Citizens of Roseto and receiving awards printed on parchment and roses made of silver.”
All the ceremonies ended with the Concert in Chieti. Piero and Ignazio were very happy that Gianluca invited the children of the A.G.B.E. They spent time taking pictures and signing autographs for the children. The guys had as much fun as the kids did!
These were emotional days for the guys. They were home, they were honored, they were happy and they were ready to take on Italy!
Three proud Italian Ambassadors to the World!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Some stories just write themselves and the author stands by with pen in hand, looks down at the paper and says yes, yes that’s exactly what I wanted to say! And you can’t even remember writing it but it’s there and it’s so spot on! Life writes its own stories! Certainly, life wrote this one about three teenage boys. Teenagers! Think of your kid outside playing basketball or soccer. Could you imagine that he would walk off the court and into the limelight? I’m thinking your fondest hope would be that he would clean up his room.
How do you explain three amazing voices coming together on the same stage, at the same time? I have only one explanation. La Forza del Destino! It was fate! It was a plan! It was God’s plan!
Watching the guys recording these last few weeks brought back fond memories of the beginning. Before Sanremo, before Barbara Streisand, before Notte Magica! In the real beginning….
In the beginning there were three guys named Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca. They were ordinary guys!
Piero loved his motorbike! “When I arrived at the roundabout in the center of the city, voom, I did a wheelie with the motorbike.”
Ignazio loved to play soccer. “My main project when I went to school was to get home and spend the afternoon playing football.”
Gianluca, also, loved to play soccer! “How did I play soccer? I was good, come on, I did not like losing, I wanted to score goals by force, I never passed the ball, and when I had the ball, I scored.”
So, yes, they were ordinary kids but, they all had something special. They had a special gift from God. Their voice!
What was it that made them different? What was it about this baritone and two tenors that was different from other tenors or baritones? First and foremost, the delivery of these three voices was equal. The crispness and clarity in each voice was defined. They were alike but they were different. They were balanced! Roberto Cenci recognized these exceptional qualities and understood that they could blend into one beautiful voice so, he decided to put the three voices together. The result was they were an immediate sensation and they caused important people in the industry to stop and listen!
Each one separately was captivating, together, they were a gift that God gave to humanity!
The first meeting!
We have to keep in mind that in the beginning the guys were underage so any negotiations and plans for their future was handled by their parents. It was only after the parents first meeting with among others, Michele Torpedine, that the guys were informed that plans were being made for them. After this meeting the parents met again a month later and signed a contract for the guys to record with Universal.
I think Piero put it best when he said, “The day before, I went to my uncle’s workshop and the next day I signed a millionaire contract with an American label.”
The behind-the-scenes video of the guys recording “Tous les visages de l’amour” and, the recent recording of the Ennio Morricone album inspired me to write this article.
Let’s start by listening to Piero talk about their first meeting with Michele Torpedine.
“The day began well, calm, and quiet. I was having lunch at the hotel restaurant and a gentleman with a sand-colored raincoat and graying hair arrived. I heard footsteps behind me and a ‘Hello, Piero’ with this deep voice. You recognize Michele’s voice anywhere. You know, when I speak of that meeting, it reminds me of things I’ve seen in an American movie. It was from this that we started, three fifteen-sixteen-year-old idiots, and Torpedine, who had already become an icon for me. So, he sits with us and we start talking. After lunch, we got ready for rehearsal.
And, so, it begins!
Being teenagers there was always going to be some antics going on.
Gianluca recalls, “We were three children at the park playing. Ignazio, to name one, poured Coca-Cola on the floor in the dressing room and it ended up on Michele’s jacket. Michele turns and says, “Barbara look,” I still remember it, with a face looking like “Oh my God!”
Piero recalls, “And after the Coca-Cola there were plums. Our first meeting with Michele ends with plums flying from one dressing room to the other and Michele comes out with white hair, indeed no, because he already had white hair. No, he comes out with straight hair saying, ‘Are you three, crazy?’
In practice we threw plums from the door of our dressing room, to the one next to us. We had a mess that night.
What has changed from that day to today? Nothing. On tour, in the television broadcast rooms and sometimes even in the recording room, one of our favorite activities is the fruit launch. The best are the grapes (but we also use cherries). Ignazio throws them from a distance and, I have to take it on the fly and catch it in my mouth. It doesn’t matter if the Pope or Bono is in the dressing room next to us, it doesn’t impress us.”
Listen to what the guys had to say about the beginning of their career.
Piero: “At the beginning it was really a dream, even if I do not like repeating it, because you find yourself traveling the world and doing it, from one day to the next. However, I repeat, always without realizing the importance of the thing, without fully understanding what was happening.”
Ignazio: “So, a dream that Piero, in the clouds, has forgotten to say is the most important thing: it was the first time that Italian singers signed a contract directly with an American record company. But it was not that we signed the contract, the big thing was done, but it had yet to start!”
Gianluca: “Piero forgot to mention that ours was the first contract signed directly by Italian singers with an American label, but Ignazio forgot to mention that the first recording studio in which we entered all three together for our great adventure was called the Forum and it was in Rome.”
The first time in the studio!
Ignazio continues: “For us today there are seven takes to sing. At that time there were thirty or forty. You will say, what language does he speak? English, Spanish and, also a little Italian. So, a take is the recording of the single phrase that each of us sings when we record a song. We continue to redo it until we get the best version. In 2009, our first recording, took almost two days to record a song, until it was good. I remember that I made the absolute record of takes in “Smile,” I repeated my part for fifty-seven times.”
Piero: “…It was nice because it was the first experience. We did not sing well because we had no technique, so it was as Ignazio said. We did a take sixty or seventy times.
At that time, we arrived in the studio and we found everything ready. The songs to sing, the subdivisions, the arrangement, this and the other things. After the third album, we did everything together, we created everything with Celso Valli, our producer.
Those first times we did not have this freedom, everything was prepared for us because we did not have the skills to do it.
Now we have them (the skills) and we share the parts, we know each other better and, in the studio, we help each other. It is also nice to see that each of us now has his way to enter the recording room. Gianluca and I sing with the light on in the recording room. Ignazio, on the other hand, enters and the first thing he does is turn off the light. They are small details, but they mean that we have grown and, we have our own way of working.
Between the three of us, we have split up the roles. If there is a problem with the mixer, Ignazio works on it with the producer to fix it. Gianluca is the one who listens to the songs from morning to night and offers: ‘Guys, I discovered this songwriter,’ ‘Guys, I discovered this artist, what do you think?’ I like the managerial part. I like managing, I like to contact people, I like to propose new things to Michele, ‘Why do we not do that?’ ‘Why do we not try to do that?’ ‘How can we get to this person?’ I like us to put our heads together and think of how we can improve. We have a complete professional balance. We have grown physically, but also professionally. Even if we have a new producer, we do not know, we do not have any problems. We know how to talk to him and tell him what we want. This is the most important aspect: being at the same level.”
After this it was off to America for the guys.
Speaking of America! One year ago, we were enjoying the concerts in America! I saw the guys at Radio City Music Hall! Then the world turned upside down!
What in the world was going on?Literally in the World!
We started hearing about a pandemic. And it seemed the worst of it was in Italy. The guys began to worry. And then, no it was time to leave. Leave now or get stuck in America! It was time! They turned off the lights and went home!
(First message from Il Volo on the Covid situation, sent when they were still on tour in America)
They canceled their last three performances and the next thing we knew they were on their way home. But being true to form, like good children, they checked in with us as soon as they got home and told us they were safe and, they needed to be with their families now.
As you know the guys went into quarantine and stayed there for three and a half months.
Then the quarantine was over and, they left their houses. And something amazing started to happen!
The one thing they wanted more than anything was to get back to work. Well, they did have the commitment with Dolce & Gabbana which gave us a spectacular Sunday event. And there was the concert in Monte Carlo but, something was missing.
At Verona, they showed us what was missing!
But let’s step back a minute!
On the Friday afternoon before the performance, we watched the guys at sound check give a performance to the people who were scattered around the Verona Arena that would rival most concerts. And then later in the evening they returned to the Arena for light check.
Ignazio and Gianluca were making videos with their phones, while Piero was wandering around.
Ignazio get’s Piero’s attention.
Ignazio: “What are you doing?”
Piero shakes his head and asks. “What are you looking at?”
Ignazio (points): “The light that is there.”
Gianluca: “It’s Beautiful.”
Ignazio: “The gorgeous light. Gorgeous! Gorgeous!”
Of course, Piero pulled out his phone and started to video.
But what was it about the lights that got Ignazio’s attention? Well, they were as Ignazio said, “La Luce Stupenda!” “The lights were gorgeous,” but I think he was thinking about the last lights that he saw on stage.
That Saturday night when the guys were entering the Arena before the show they were stopped and asked this question by a woman reporter:
Reporter: “You are International entertainers therefore you know how much the live dimension is missing. But above all you have defined the stage as your natural element. So, how is it for you to return to a live performance tonight?”
Ignazio: “It’s like giving candy to a baby. We are happy because we missed it. We missed it to die for but not only for our personal thing but because this is to me the music slowly restarting with safety measures. But we are restarting it all with Italian music. It’s like I am starting again to grow up on stage and hope that it can be a message of hope for the groups, in the cities, in the emerging local areas who want to start making music. We have to continue making music and we hope for full concerts and full live by 2021.”
It was an absolutely beautiful statement that said it all! What I liked best about this statement was Ignazio saying “It’s like I am restarting it all with Italian music. I’m starting again to grow up on stage…” What did he mean? This time he is starting in Italy not America. He finally feels like he is at home! Bravo Ignazio! You are home.
When the guys arrived on stage, they had a message for the world and all the people in the industry:
Ignazio: “2020 will be remembered as the year where the world would be constrained to be turned off.”
Gianluca: “For the music employees the verb “turn off” means the end of the show, when the curtains close and it is the waiting moment for the next show, but this time the waiting lasted more than expected, the silence was unavoidable.”
Piero: “Now, the world is getting ready to start again! Now the moment has arrived to raise the curtain! Now, we will turn on the music!”
This beautiful statement was followed by the performance of the evening. Their choice of “Nessun Dorma” sent an even stronger message. It’s says we may have to perform under these new world conditions, but we don’t have to change who we are or why we’re here. In this ancient Arena we look to the past while following the path to the future.
Click on the photo below to view IL VOLO’s performance of “Nessun Dorma”.
From their first note the whole arena lit up. Their voices were clean and crisp. Their presence was illuminating. Their notes rose above the Arena into the night sky to let the world know music is back! The final note of their song sent the final message. All three voices rose in unison and their voices sent forth a note that took our breaths away! It said We Have Returned! “Turn on the Lights!”
What is so amazing about this is, over the months since they had left quarantine, they had almost single handedly brought back the music industry in Italy. All the work they’ve done since they left quarantine has been to move things forward in Italy. This includes their most important project the concert in Tribute to Ennio Morricone and the recording of their new album by the same name.
Seeing them back in the recording studio, these last few weeks, has been a joy. Listening to them sing “Your Love,” at Sanremo, even under trying circumstances, gave us hope for the future. This preview gave us a look into the new album which we are all anxiously awaiting. But above all, the guys have Hit the Restart Button! They have played a major part in the restart of the music industry In Italy!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!