Eleven years ago, PBS introduced America to three teenage Italian boys.Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011, at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people and the support of PBS. These three teenagers stole the hearts of the American people, and they continue to do so today. They have done several concerts with PBS over the past eleven years. Their concert in 2019 in Matera was to celebrate their ten years together as Il Volo and their last was the Tribute to Ennio Morricone.
There’s no question that PBS played a major role in the career of Il Volo.
As they were approaching their teens, each boy was approaching his musical education in a different way.
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. Gianluca joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know, the three teenage boys came together on the Ariston Stage in Ti Lascio Una Canzone for the performance of O Sole Mioand stepped off the stage and embarked on the road to stardom.
They signed a contract with Universal and recorded their first album.
Il Volo introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop and classical music! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Their aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them.
Ignazio started his singing education with Lilliana Andreanò moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. His relationship with Lilliana Andreanò continued. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do.
Over the last two years I have shared Il Volo’s life story with you. It’s time to go back and see how they landed on this road to PBS. Be prepared to listen to some amazing interviews! Watch the guys go from cute to handsome, from intelligent to even more intelligent! Three totally amazing men!
We all know Piero was discovered singing in the garden of his grandfather’s house. After his discovery, Piero embarked on a classical music education. He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
On the Eleventh Anniversary of Il Volo’s concerts on PBS, and as they begin the North American Tour, let’s look back at how this journey started with PBS. Let’s take a walk Down Memory Lane to PBS with our guys!
We begin by listening to an interview with LAaRT.
In 2010 when they arrived in America, they took it by storm. After their performance on American Idol, they sky rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts.
What happened next? PBS! So, we arrive at PBS. But let me turn the story over to the guys. They will tell you about what happened on this journey from Ti Lascio Una Canzone to PBS and beyond!
“Spotlight” Producer Paul Larson just minutes before going on stage at Place des Arts in Montreal, Quebec spoke with the guys about their career after their performance on PBS. So, I invite you to watch this amazing video and listen to what the guys had to say about their beginnings and their future!
Spotlight Click on the Photo Below
Recording with Placido Domingo!
I always love the videos of the guys recording. This one has to be among one of the greatest. It was when their dream came true, and they recorded with Placido Domingo.
Now for their first US concert from Italy on June 10, 2015.
When we think of Pompeii we think of Italy. Take a picture of Pompeii and show it to anyone and they will know it is Pompeii, Italy. That is why this concert was so important. Not only was it their first US concert in Italy but it was a true representation of Italy! From this area of Campania, in the region of Naples we find the most romantic music in all of the world ~ Bel canto! The songs the guys sing in concert come from this region. They have brought their Bel canto around the world and now they have brought Italy to the world through this PBS Special.
Il Volo – Live From Pompeii
A few years down the road, the guys catch up with Placido Domingo again. This time for their Magica Notte Special. We start with the rehearsal for Magica Notte for the PBS Special in Florence, Italy.
Moving on we come to a magical event!
But first, let’s listen to what the guys had to say in an interview with Rebecca Granet from The Trendon 1010 Wins about the Magica Notte Concert.
There were many interviews about this phenomenal concert including this METROFOCUS interview with Rafael Pi Roman. Rafael called Il Volo an Italian Contemporary Classical Sensation.
Metrofocus Interview Click on the Photo Below
The night of magic at Piazza Santa Croce!
We move on to that magical night in Piazza Santa Croce. When there was magic in the air! The night of the Tribute to the Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras! A truly magical event.
If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is!
One of the highlights of the concert was the guy’s duet with Placido Domingo. It was totally awesome! What I love about this video is Domingo is just as excited as the guys are! And during the video Domingo looks over at each guy with absolute awe and admiration! An awesome event!
In the middle of the video, we find Ignazio speaking to the Maestro.
Ignazio: Maestro Domingo, before performing the next piece I have to say one thing. You know we as children found ourselves dreaming, watching the videos of the three tenors, the video of maestro Pavarotti, maestro Domingo and maestro Carreras, and you know, as little ones it was unthinkable that today we had to be here, on this stage in Florence with maestro Domingo, for us it is a great honor to share this stage with you (Domingo) because for us it was something unimaginable, thank you very much!
Domingo: I would like to say two things, before we go to the end of the concert. Really, I must say that my grandchildren made me discover these three great artists, because they were already enthusiastic more than 4/5 years ago, when you started and they are here and they are very happy, now that we have sung together (they greet Domingo’s grandchildren with their hands in the stands). I would also like to say that really, I thank you so much for doing this (concert) remembering our concert, and we are also thinking of Luciano (Pavarotti) who we miss so much, Josè (Carreras) could not come because he had a concert, but I hope that on another occasion we will all find ourselves. Thank you.
Matera ~ The Ten Year Anniversary of Il Volo!
At the time of the Matera concert which marked the 10th Anniversary of Il Volo, our sweet Daniela Perani took the time to translated everything the guys had to say in the video. Because of this, I decided to include the entire concert here followed by the translation into English.
PIERO: Everything started as a game, three strangers put together, now after 10 years we are really like three brothers, we weren’t really aware of what we were experiencing, but the game, now it’s over, and it’s become our job, our daily life, our future. We hope to celebrate another 10, 20, 30 years of career together.
GIANLUCA: We met when we were children, and we grew up together, we created, really a unique alchemy, because we share the stage, we travel constantly together.
IGNAZIO: We will never have full awareness of what we are facing, because we always see beauty, we also see things with naivety.
IGNAZIO:Our goal is to bring the Italian tradition, through music, to different stages and different cultures.
“Arriving in America” is always a bit of everyone’s dream, and getting to that audience was very exciting, because you realize how much you can be attached to a culture, a tradition, a flag. It is very varied, as an audience, of all ages, from the two-year-old girl to her mother.
PIERO: There is that Christmas song that says “From 9 to 92”.
GIANLUCA: And also, the prestige that gives you this kind of music, because we do nothing but follow the steps of our greatest idols, like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, the bel canto that is truly appreciated all over the world.
IGNAZIO: Surely, we must say thanks to the American public that is the first who discovered us. Because after Italy, after that famous show, we immediately went to America, and with “O SOLE MIO,” they immediately sent us great affection and it was certainly nice to be able to share the emotions with all the American audience.
PIERO: Italy, in our career, has always given us great emotions, perhaps the greatest emotions, because from 2010 to 2015, we sang only abroad, we did many concerts in America, South Ameica, Japan, but in Italy, we didn’t sing.
IGNAZIO: We must tell the truth, we suffered a little from this, we pretended nothing, but we suffered.
IGNAZIO: Arriving in Italy and being practically unknown.
GIANLUCA: But you know, perhaps the “Made in Italy” musical genre has been increasingly revered abroad, especially in the US, a musical genre appreciated perhaps even more abroad.
PIERO: But in 2015 we had …..
IGNAZIO: The revenge …..
PIERO: The courage to participate in the Sanremo festival.
GIANLUCA: … and to bring back the “bel canto”, also in Italy, after 20 years.
PIERO: With our song “GRANDE AMORE”, when Carlo Conti said Il Volo, the winners of Sanremo, it seemed like dreaming. But then, the Italian audience has always remained faithful, from the beginning.
IGNAZIO: I’m sure that if we commit ourselves for a moment let’s remember the emotion of the first time we sang at the Verona Arena. And knowing, being aware of being in that scene with your concert, is something that makes you think a little, and be excited, because a few years before it was unthinkable.
PIERO: In our career we have had the opportunity to do many concerts in the Arena, we hope to make thousands of them, yet. But I can say that I struggled to fall asleep immediately after the Verona concert.
GIANLUCA: It is precisely this, the point, also a piece of advice that we want to give to all the guys who dream of living for music, and they want to do what we are doing, that there will be many people who will probably not believe in you, but you must persevere, because you can truly reach the farthest dream. We believed in it and we still believe in it and we are studying, really hoping to continue to stay together for many years to come.
IGNAZIO: In USA for Haiti, we had the opportunity to have an experience, which we will never forget, we were three strangers, small, just arrived in America, and we found ourselves singing in the choir of WE ARE THE WORLD.
PIERO: We were among hundreds of artists, without knowing how to speak half a word of English.
GIANLUCA: Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Maroon Five ……
IGNAZIO: There was also Barbra Streisand, who knows, maybe it was the bell, which then gave her the idea to call us to do the tour with her!
GIANLUCA: Two years later, because in 2012 we went on tour with her, in America and Canada, and this too was an experience that made us grow, professionally but also personally.
IGNAZIO: I remember that the first time we met her was for my birthday, my 18 years (for us Italians is the age of maturity)
PIERO: Your 18 years.
GIANLUCA: You celebrated 18 years, on stage with Barbra Streisand, not bad!
PIERO: She perfectly studied our names and pronounced them perfectly, without the American accent, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, because the Americans, to speak our names …. what an effort!
GIANLUCA: One of the greatest emotions we experienced in our career was being able to share the stage with a great artist, Maestro Placido Domingo, in a concert tribute to the three tenors.
PIERO: The relationship with the master Domingo, was born thanks to his two grandchildren. He tells in an interview, that he returned to his son’s home in New York, and saw the grandchildren who were watching and listening on television on YouTube, our version of “O SOLE MIO”, and everything was born that way.
IGNAZIO:Surely, we must also say thanks to our manager, Michele Torpedine, who then, in the end, was his idea. He wanted to do it for years, and surely, we used a little the wake of the Sanremo festival and the success we had in Italy.
GIANLUCA:What then is a repertoire, almost untouchable, we didn’t even want to commit the sin of presumption, also because we are young, there is still so much to study, this is important to say it, also because we didn’t want to imitate or emulate the three tenors, but only to remember this great project, which really brought the “bel canto” the opera, out of the theaters, around the world, and it was an incredible success, which excited millions of people all over the world.
Being able to be joined by the great master Placido Domingo, after 30 years of that great concert, was a great honor.
IGNAZIO: And then we realized that 70-80% of the repertoire, was what we were already singing.
PIERO: It wasn’t so difficult to choose the songs.
IGNAZIO: This year, to start the 10-year celebration, we started with a very special, very exciting event, we found ourselves on a gigantic altar, which was then a stage, turned into an altar, in Panama, for World Youth Day. We had the honor of singing for Pope Francis, being able to share the stage, with our music, with faith, above all, to see 700 to 800 thousand people praying in silence, to have Pope Francis in front of you, to pray together with all those young people.
PIERO: We are believers, and find ourselves, the only ones, there, in front of Pope Francis, who while he prays, listens to your voice, I believe it is an emotion that we will tell, to our children, grandchildren, we will tell it for life.
GIANLUCA: Being able to start the celebrations, of these 10 years, with a selfie with Pope Francis, it is not every day, and above all, to sing the “Ave Maria”, for him and for more than half a million young people, who found themselves there for WYD, and representing all the young people in this important event, was unique. We couldn’t have started the year in a better way.
PIERO: In life it also takes a little luck. On our last trip to Japan, something unexpected happened to us, in Japan the discipline of ice skating is very followed, and in the last Olympics, the Japanese skater, won the gold medal, skating on one of our tracks, doing the choreography on “Notte Stellata”.
GIANLUCA:There are so many Japanese people who come to study in Italy, especially opera. It is incredible, as some people have told us that they have learned to speak Italian, even listening to our songs. And it’s also nice to see so many young people who are approaching, all over the world, even this musical genre, which is our goal, we are young, and we want to bring it to the new generations.
IGNAZIO:Often an artist does not have many opportunities to talk about himself, he is always engaged in interviews to say “we sang, we did …..”
PIERO:And it’s inconvenient.
IGNAZIO:It is uncomfortable. I think that an artist, to have a space, to talk about himself, to make people understand what he feels inside, and who he really is, is a rare and unique occasion.
IGNAZIO:We are three guys who weigh a lot the words, and in these years, we have always given a particular weight to the word THANK YOU, because being grateful to someone, to something, is always beautiful, it makes you feel better, and we would certainly like to say thank you to several people in this interview. But the biggest THANK YOU, and I think I speak on behalf of all three, goes to our families but above all to our manager Michele Torpedine, who, despite the many difficulties we have encountered in these 10 years, has always been there to give strength to us, and constant determination …
PIERO: His constant presence…….
IGNAZIO: …… that he sent us in these 10 years.
PIERO: The best thing about these 10 years is to see our fans, grow with us. We met 15-year-olds, who now have 25 like us, and our biggest THANKS goes to you fans, who supported us and endured us for 10 years. We hope to live this long adventure and we love you so much.
GIANLUCA: We have had 10 wonderful years. Unthinkable things have happened to us. We were 14/15 years old and always sharing the same passion that unites us, which is music and love for singing.
IGNAZIO:This is what we want to do in life, and it will be our goal for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, until I have to accompany Piero by the arm.
GIANLUCA: 10 years of friendship of music and above all of fidelity and respect.
PIERO: There will be lots of surprises, we promise you we won’t let you down and we’d like to tell you THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
And, last but certainly not least, we come to Il Volo’s Tribute to Ennio Morricone!
When I wrote about this concert, I called the article Phenomenal because there was no other way to describe it!
I began by saying, get used to it, I’m going to use the word phenomenala lot in this article.
Let me say, I can write at least five pages just on the opening of the concert. If I wrote what I felt, saw, experienced in this concert, I would have to write a book!
Yes, that was how I felt, and I think most people felt about this concert. To begin, this was their first Live concert for TV on Raiuno.
In this concert, there was so much movement. Things were happening all around the stage. How did I present this? In my article, I invite you to Take a look at the stage! You the audience are the spectators! You’re being drawn to the stage. You watch the guys’ approach and, you are in awe of their presence. You feel the intensity of the music, you and the guys are pulled into the movie. The music is all around you! Their voices are a force in your head. You look up in amazement! You are a part of the scenery! You are a part of the orchestra! You are a part of the movie! You are a part of ~ Il Volo! You have arrived and you are ready to follow the guys no matter where this journey leads you! It’s only the beginning! Fasten your seat belts.
We get to go back to the beginning with the guys singing E più ti pensowhich they sang at the beginning of their career with the Maestro himself, Morricone.
Among their guests was the amazing Nina Zilli.
The presentation which was a Raiuno special was in conjunction with PBS.
The hardest part about writing this story was selecting the videos. For me every song is a symphony; it’s “un attimo senza fine!” ~ “An endless moment!” An express that I love to use when describing not just the songs but also the guys, as some will attest to “Il mio attimo senza fine.” Each song goes straight to my heart and stays there until the next song begins! The songs and their voices are piercing. I can feel the adrenaline rise in me from the first note!
Performers spend their whole career trying to get to the top. Our guys, amazingly started at the top. It’s mind boggling. The amazing thing about these guys is they figured out where to go from up!
Going Down Memory Lane to PBS has been an awesome journey! And I know Il Volo is a big draw on PBS. Their specials are rated among the best for PBS. That’s why they have them back time after time! Not only do we love them but also PBS loves them! They put the Special in the word special! We hope to have a new PBS Special Event soon!
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
Here I am with the second part of this beautiful interview.
I assure you that you will not be bored.
Enjoy the reading!!
MARA = Come back here. (long applause) You are guys, but you have a great responsibility, because you have immense talent …
GIAN = With this song we also had the opportunity to show the beauties of our country with the Frasassi Caves.
MARA = Yes, there was the video.
GIAN = I also want to say this thing, because for us it was a great honor, to be able to work with maestro Vittorio Storaro, who is a “cinematographer” and not a “director of photography”, which is a small detail.
MARA = What’s the difference, for those who don’t know?
GIAN = There is a big difference. In America they say cinematographer …
MARA = …. three Oscars, he made all the films of Bertolucci (another Italian director who won the Oscar for The Last Emperor), Vittorio Storaro …
GIAN = … exactly three Oscars …. because every time it is a life lesson, not only artistic, but his wisdom has given us wonderful moments …
MARA = Sorry if I interrupt you, Gianluca, but I have a backstage video and I would like to send it and then you all can comment on it.
Let’s watch it together.
(the video of the Frasassi Caves backstage starts)
In the video: Gianluca’s voice = The melodies of the great master Ennio Morricone are the protagonists in this wonderful setting that are the Frasassi Caves.
Ignazio’s voice = Sharing this fantastic place also with maestro Vittorio Storaro was a great emotion. (applause)
MARA = It is so beautiful that it seems unreal, it seems magical.
PIERO = Have you ever been there?
MARA = No, never been.
PIERO = Look, time stops there.
MARA = But where is this place, exactly?
GIAN = Near Genga, in the Marche region.
MARA = Ah, in the Marche.
GIAN = Yes, this place is one hour from my house, I’m near Roseto degli Abruzzi.
MARA = So did you know this place?
GIAN = Yes, I had already been there, because schools often organize trips with pupils to make excursions.
MARA = It’s a magical place, I want to go there.
PIERO = We had the privilege of having the caves just for us and Vittorio Storaro, to shoot the video.
MARA = Illuminated by Vittorio Storaro.
GIAN = Think about the power of Bel Canto, associated with a wonderful place, it is the perfect soundtrack, but then it allows us to join idols, like Vittorio Storaro, or as before, you saw us joking with Woody Allen, it is the prestige of Bel Canto. As you know it all started with Pavarotti, then with Bocelli, so we, humbly, always try to follow in their footsteps, to bring this kind of music higher and higher.
IGNAZIO = I’ll tell you an anecdote. In the caves, we were collaborating with the master Storaro, and he was still trying to get an extra emotion out of us. So when there were our solos, he would say to Piero: “Piero concentrate you, try not to think about anything, as if there were no one, the caves, the emotion …”
GIAN = He (Storaro)was also a director on that occasion, just for us.
IGNAZIO = …. “let the emotion out” …. ok, Piero, does his (solo), Gian does his, it’s up to me and I ask: “Give me some more advice, master …”
MARA = You are giving HIM to the master. (in Italy it is a sign of respect)
IGNAZIO = Absolutely … and he tells me: “Ignazio, forget where you are, it’s just you, the camera and nothing else around.” I followed his advice.
PIERO = He added “…and think of a person dear to you ….”
MARA = Think of a person dear to you?
IGNAZIO = Yes. The playback of the song was over and I cried and I cried for 15 minutes …
PIERO = He burst into tears.
MARA = Who were you thinking of?
IGNAZIO = Your Love is a song that means a lot to us, also because we performed in Sanremo three days after my father’s death, so it means a lot to us.
MARA = The memory!
IGNAZIO = By now, I associate that song with that moment and therefore I was in tears for 15 minutes.
GIAN = The whole album is dedicated to Vito ….
PIERO = … to Ignazio’s father.
On this occasion Ignazio proved to be a great man, because three days before our performance in Sanremo, we received this terrible news by phone, and we all expected a NO, from Ignazio, we thought we would stay at home. Instead he, as a great professional, arrived in Sanremo, sang, did his duty. He has my highest esteem. ❤(appaluse)
MARA = Who knows how you were inside, love.
IGNAZIO = I think that the greatest happiness of a parent is to see their children happy.
GIAN = There was a backstage part that I would like to tell and that moved us all.
During the rehearsals Fiorello (co-host of Sanremo), approached Ignazio and hugged him for three minutes, they hugged tightly, I’m telling you, because unfortunately he also experienced the same situation ….. and by the way we say goodbye to the great Fiorello, hello Fiore !!
MARA = (turning to Ignazio) Were you far away, when your dad passed?
IGNAZIO = I was in Bologna, we were, there. Before, we talked about the pandemic, and the lockdown, there are positive sides, I was lucky enough to spend a year and a half with my whole family, and that’s what we hope all the young people, all the boys of our age, have done – have the opportunity to spend time with their families, and to understand how important their support is.
MARA = I think so.
PIERO = But in these years…. we have been together for 13 years …
IGNAZIO = We are together, that is, we work together ….
MARA = But there would be nothing wrong, Ignazio ... (being together can be meant sentimentally)
PIERO = No, no, we are together
IGNAZIO = Of bad, nothing, but Piero, it’s not that I like him so much. 😁
MARA = Are the two of them engaged? (Piero and Gianluca). About you (Ignazio) we learned that you have a girlfriend in Brazil …
GIAN = The two of them who ??
MARA = Not the two of you together, although there would be nothing wrong with that.
GIAN = No but imagine, there would be nothing wrong …
MARA = Do you, your fiancée, have it?
GIAN = Yes, yes, I do.
MARA = You have her! And you Piero?
PIERO = No, I …
GIAN = Piero no.
MARA = Is he single?
GIAN = Piero is single, the only single, that’s right.
MARA = He is in love with Bellucci, he is waiting for Bellucci.
IGNAZIO = Morricone was one of the most beautiful projects we have ever thought …
MARA = Do you want to change the subject?
IGNAZIO = Is it understood ?? 😁
MARA = You are smart, eh !!! But when you can, with aunt !!! (she means that the aunt, that is Mara, discovers the smart ones)
IGNAZIO = (He gets up and sings to Mara, hugging her) “I’ll take you and I’ll take you away.” (applause)
MARA = Come on, another film I loved is Sacco and Vanzetti, directed by the great Giuliano Montaldo, starring Riccardo Cucciolla and GianMaria Volontè.
PIERO = For this piece, we studied a lot, because we didn’t know so many things ….
MARA = Wonderful movie.
PIERO = The story is truly poignant, because unfortunately there is injustice.
MARA = Exactly. Great movie.
GIAN = We are here, eh !!
PIERO = I was telling her about Sacco and Vanzetti …
IGNAZIO = We felt a little lonely.
MARA = Here he is (Piero), I brought him to you.
PIERO = This song is called: HERE’S TO YOU. (applause, here’s to you begins)
(applause and standing ovation at the end)
MARA = Well, you wonderful ones! I just want to say that this is an important film, an important theme, it is the story of two Italians, two emigrants who were unjustly condemned, and we at this moment want to greet all our compatriots who cannot be here.
I + P = Absolutely.
GIAN = And it is also nice to remember that soon we will be on tour, from March in the United States, we start in RCMH on March 4th, and then we will reach many people who have been waiting for us for two years since the last tour that unfortunately we had to stop due to the Covid.
MARA = So you will reach our compatriots, and not only !! But then I will also say all the dates.
Let’s move on because there is another beautiful song.
PIERO = There are many (dates)
MARA = Yes, a lot.
PIERO = More than 100 concerts in six months.
MARA = But when are you leaving?
PIERO = March 4th …
MARA = And are you coming back?
PIERO = In December
MARA = Next year (2022)
PIERO = Yes, and we will sing in Italy, we will do concerts in the summer and concerts in the winter.
MARA = How long are you away?
PIERO = From March to December no stop, only 7-8 days in July
MARA = Are you going back to Italy?
PIERO = Yes, at home.
MARA = Love !!
GIAN = At least, a little sun, a tan, otherwise we will be pale, tired, with travel …..
MARA = Let’s go on, now they make you listen to another beautiful song, music ….
PIERO = What is it?
MARA = SE TELEFONANDO
IGNAZIO = Another of my favorites.
MARA = I like it a lot too.
PIERO = Do you know how it was born?
MARA = Maurizio Costanzo (he wrote the words)
PIERO = Yes, but Ennio Morricone was at the post office paying a fine, a bill, I don’t know what it was, he heard the sound of the ambulance, the siren of the ambulance “ta-ta …. se telefonando” and from there makes you understand the genius of the master Morricone.
MARA = What a beautiful song.
PIERO = Magnificent.
MARA = Why him, great musician, great author, but then this is a song that everyone can sing, in truth.
IGNAZIO = Absolutely. But then the genius of the master Morricone was that he was inspired by silence, for him silence in his works was fundamental …
PIERO = Determinant
IGNAZIO = I like to compose, and sometimes, removing is more difficult than adding.
MARA = It’s true.
IGNAZIO = The essential is something difficult to achieve. It can only be reached by those who are geniuses, like the maestro Morricone.
MARA = How wise have you become, aunt’s love. (she hugs Ignazio)
IGNAZIO = Mamma mia, I’m getting emotional!
MARA = Come on, come on, come on, SE TELEFONANDO, Il Volo!! (starts Se Telefonando)
(applause and standing ovation at the end)
MARA = IL Volo, on Domenica IN, which makes us spend the wonderful Boxing Day !!
Good, good guys, good, good guys (she applauds the guys).
Now I’m sending something with you, from here, from this position. Last year was December 25, 2020, exactly one year ago, and where were you? In St. Peter’s Square ..
P + G + I = Yes, St. Peter’s Square.
MARA = With ???
PIERO = Nobody, there was nobody. Ours is a dream job, we are dreamers and we saw that surreal situation, lockdown, at home at ten, and we wanted to wish the whole country a Merry Christmas from there. We got organized, with the director of RAI1.
MARA = Stefano Coletta.
IGNAZIO = Let us wish him well for Santo Stefano.
G + P + I + M = Greetings director !!
PIERO = And so from there, we made these four songs, to wish a Merry Christmas, with St. Peter’s Square completely empty.
MARA = Let’s see it then. (start the video of Merry Christmas from San Pietro 2020)
In the video: Gian = On this very special day, in which, even if we are close, we are forced to stay away, we wanted to find a way to wish you a Merry Christmas.
Ignazio = With music, in this extraordinary square.
PIERO = The hope is that Christmas, with its magic, can bring a smile to your homes, and warm your hearts.
MARA = How beautiful !! It’s beautiful, I think you have performed everywhere, but I think this was an emotion …… (addressed to Piero) at one in the morning did you tell me?
IGNAZIO = In fact there was still a curfew, so thanks to the Municipality of Rome, and the Vatican who gave us permission to be able to register it. So as not to create a crowd, we did it after curfew, we finished at 1am.
I want take this opportunity to reiterate that the mind that thinks these things is Michele Torpedine, who has all these fantastic ideas.
MARA = That we say hello to Michele (she blows a kiss), where is Michele? It should be around here!
PIERO = Do you think that Luciano Pavarotti called him (Torpedine) Great Boss, and he too (Ignazio), jokingly also called him Great Boss.
I’ve never done, it but I told him: “The day you make us sing in front of Pope Francis, I’ll call you Big Boss”, and now I have to!
GIAN = Behind every singer, there are people who allow them to be able to fully express their art, surely he is the person …..
PIERO = Can you turn the camera? He is there, behind …(Michele is nearby)
MARA = No look, let’s do one thing: “Come here, Michele, we’re talking about you” (applause)
PIERO = Great Michele.
MARA = (drags Torpedine on stage). Sorry, they were talking about you.
MT = You know that these things embarrass me, I’m not used to it.
MARA = Come on. Listen, we are almost at the end of this beautiful segment, I don’t know how to thank you.
How do you handle these boys, Torpedine?
MT = How do you manage three dynamites like this, they go it alone, just say yes or no to things.
MARA = Now you all go, go around the world for months …
MT = Around the world, we hope that everything goes well with Covid.
MARA = We hope, we hope so.
IGNAZIO = We thought we would leave you with a Christmas song, since they told us that Christmas songs are sung until the Epiphany.
MARA = Come on, the witch is here. (herself)
PIERO = White Christmas.
MARA = White Christmas, Il Volo, and I take Michele away. (White Christmas song begins)
Thanks guys, (applause), thanks, thanks. Happy New Year!
IGNAZIO = We want to thank you.
MARA = Thanks to you.
IGNAZIO = We wanted to congratulate you for the new year.
PIERO = We never had the opportunity to spend all this time together, you are really human !!
GIAN = Thanks for believing in us.
MARA = You gave me a great gift, guys.
IGNAZIO = And you gave us a great gift, because talking about each other, is not always easy.
GIAN = Best wishes to you too who are following us, hoping that it will be a 2022 of normality.
IGNAZIO = We wish you to collect all the most beautiful, unthinkable and imaginary fruits, because “nothing is impossible”.
MARA = And it’s true !!
GIAN = He is also international, him.
PIERO = Only optimism !!
MARA = Come on guys, but see you, you go around the world …
PIERO = See you in concert in Italy …
MARA = At the Arena ??
PIERO = In June at the Verona Arena and Taormina …
MARA = And so, see you in March. They go and then they come back: Il Volo !!!
I have no words after this beautiful interview, it was long, but not boring at all.
I believe that when our young men open their hearts, we only know of good feelings.
This is also what we like about them, their way of being, unites us and brings us closer and closer to their human side, they are not only excellent artists, there is much more.
Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had. No, Gianluca lived a very simple life. Perhaps that explains why Gianluca is a romantic. With him, everything is about passion! Like his passion for Abruzzo which he takes around the world. On tour he always speaks about Abruzzo. He loves his country and, he wants others to love it too! I agree with Gianluca, Abruzzo is an amazing place. My maternal grandparents were from Abruzzo!
Gianluca’s life began in the small town of Montepagano where he lived a simple life but, when he emerged, he began a journey that would take him around the world and through his amazing voice would leave his mark in every corner of that world.
Let’s listen to how Gianluca describes the town he grew up in:
To be precise, I grew up, in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am, very, proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
I am right at the sea. I’m relaxing, I’m calm! There is a sea breeze and nothing else. It’s Thursday and I am practically alone on the beach. I’m fine, from God! I’m fine because I’m home.
When Gianluca goes home to Abruzzo, he feels like he is on vacation. Montepagano is a very beautiful town. It sits at the top of a hill facing the Adriatic Sea. It is like a picture-perfect postcard! It’s no wonder Gianluca is at peace here. Montepagano is Gianluca’s paradise.
If you ask Gianluca about this paradise and how he spent his childhood there he will tell you, “My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.”
And, so, we come to perhaps Gianluca’s greatest passion, Music! Or let’s say our greatest passion about Gianluca, his music!
As you know, Gianluca’s mother worked, so, he went to after-school session with the nuns. He had a teacher named Gabriella. One afternoon, while Gianluca was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher was speechless. “What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,” she told Gianluca. “But do you know Andrea Bocelli?” She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind. “Of course, I know him,” Gianluca said, “he’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said this with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you” was the teacher’s answer. “I was seven, maybe eight years old and thanks to Gabriella I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.”
Yes, this was Gianluca’s passion as a young boy to sing Bocelli songs. And he sang them all the time. But it was music itself that motived Gianluca. In an interview with the “Rosetana Star” Gianluca said: “Music for me is the oxygen of my life.”
And it wasn’t just Bocelli as Gianluca will tell you. “As I grew older, I became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all Frank Sinatra.”
So, let’s turn to the Voice! Sinatra was known as the Voice. But I think Sinatra would be in awe of Gianluca. Love you Frank but Gianluca’s got this one!
Gianluca is known as the Velvet Voice!
I don’t who coined the phrase but, that is right on. Let’s use our senses to understand what that means. Take a piece of velvet and hold it in your hand. Now take your other hand and gently pass your hand across the velvet. What do you feel? You feel a smooth even surface that is crisp with no breaks in it. The sensation is so good that you automatically go back and do it again. And every time it’s the same. It’s pleasing!
Now take Gianluca’s voice, let the notes pass into your ears, what do you hear? A crisp, smooth, even voice with no breaks in it. The note barely passes into your ear and, you are going back for the next note. It’s always pleasing!
Gianluca is a lyrical baritone. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the baritone range. Most baritones are limited in range. Gianluca’s voice is huge. He has a very rich chest resonance which creates a feeling of depth and drama in his voice.
A baritone’s voice is very romantic, very pleasing to listen to and is always inviting. Most songs are written for baritones. Gianluca starts, almost, every song. Why? In order for a song to be received well you must draw your audience into it. Gianluca’s voice draws you in in a romantic way and you hang on to every note. He can mesmerize you with songs like “Mi Mancherai” where he reaches into the depth of his being and yours. His interpretation of “Surrender” is electrifying. But, when Gianluca sings, “She’s Always a Woman”, he takes your breath away. The highs, the lows, the emotion, the expression. His voice expands like nothing I ever heard before. He has total command of the song. You walk away with your senses lifted to another level.
So, let’s turn to how Gianluca got to where he is today! To do this I need to introduce you to the Zecchino d’oro .
Why the Zecchino d’oro or perhaps you’re saying what is the Zecchino d’oro?
I was first introduced to the Zecchino d’orolast November when an article came out saying the Zecchino d’oro will be postponed due to Covid 19. The presenters of the year would be Mara Venier and Carlo Conti.
When I read this article, I immediately thought of Gianluca. So, what is the Zecchino d’oro and what does it have to do with Gianluca?
The Zecchino d’oro is an Italian tradition. It is an event for kids, and it is dedicated to them and to all the adults who still feel like kids.
This show is presented every year between late November and the beginning of December.
In Italy there are magical days, when it starts to get cold, and children stay in their warm homes. It’s not Christmas, but the period that precedes it when the famous Zecchino d’oro TV show is broadcast. It has been broadcast every year, for decades. It was established in 1959 by Cino Tortorella who was the good presenter who introduced the children on stage, disguised as Mago Zurlì. He was so loved by all children.
The Zecchino d’oro is the festival of the little ones. In fact, if the Sanremo Festival is aimed at adult audiences and the songs are interpreted by adults, the Zecchino d’oro is made for children, with songs tailored for children.
The songs may seem like simple songs but, they are actually much more. Special attention is given to the songs’ texts. The themes are about tolerance and peace. And this is confirmed by the expression of the event: “In this contest, the winner is not the child who sings, but the song that is sung!”
Father Berardo Rossi, one of the founders, discovered by chance, a girl who used to teach the children of his parish and organize events. Mariele Ventre, who was 22 years old, had just graduated from the Verdi Conservatory in Milan and was on her way to a promising concert career. She said yes to Fr. Rossi’s proposal and the adventure began.
Mariele liked the name Zecchino because it refers to the gold coin in the field of miracles of Collodi’s Pinocchio and thus it was called Zecchino d’oro. She founded the Piccolo Coro two years later, an institution that she would direct passionately for thirty years, until the last day before she died on December 16, 1995. Upon her death the Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano, was renamed Piccolo Coro for Mariele.
Zecchino d’oro, however, is not only music and entertainment, but it has also been carrying out voluntary initiatives by raising funds to build schools, hospitals, orphanages, with projects all over the world, to help the less fortunate live better lives.
In 2008, the Zecchino d’oro received an amazing recognition from UNESCO, becoming a world heritage for a culture of peace: the first TV show in the world to receive such a prestigious award.
This year the images were to be reassuring to Italy. The country had the strength to bet on good feelings and a strong idea of safeguarding children.
Though you may not know this show in America, we can relate to one of the characters, Topo Gigio, the puppet created by Maria Perego. Topo Gigio landed in America many years ago on the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. For those of you who are not old enough to remember Topo Gigio, let me say we waited every week for his appearance on the show. For us kids and the adults he became a household name. Seems hard to believe that this little mouse stole the hearts of the American people.
So where does Gianluca fit into all of this? If it wasn’t for the Piccolo Choir of Roses which was inspired by the Zecchino d’oro, Gianluca may not have been discovered.
Gianluca was a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses which is one of the local branches of this choir. The Mago Zurlì, who was the presenter of the event when Gianluca was in the Choir, was Gianluca’s father, Ercole Ginoble.
But, let me let Gianluca tell you how this all came to be….
When I sing, I don’t forget instinct. What does that mean? As I said, I have never studied singing. I learned to “use” my voice only thanks to my musical ear. I listened to the music and, it transmits everything I know. And I especially thank the Little Choir of Roses.
When I was about eight or nine, all those who knew my voice gave me the same advice: go sing in a choir. In Roseto there was the Piccolo Choir of Roses directed by the master Susy Paola Rizzo. They sang the songs of the “Zecchino d’oro” or other famous songs with arrangements in that style, with music for children. The Mago Zurlì, that was the presenter of the event, was my father. He had been for a couple of seasons.
This is where I started. It was nice because we studied the songs throughout the winter season, not the technique of singing, the songs. It was different, because we did not study the notes and how to do them, rather we studied instinctively, following what the teacher said and what our ear heard.
Then, in the summer, we demonstrated our work in the Municipality of Roseto. We sang in the squares during the local festivals, in the lidos, in the bathing establishments, around the whole of Abruzzo, all these tiny villages.
During the performances with the choir, besides the repertoire of the Zecchino d’oro, we sang the songs of Bocelli: Misere, Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, La Voce Del SilenzIo.
Of course, the greatest achievement for Gianluca and the guys was winning Sanremo! We know that it was Gianluca who convinced the guys to go to Sanremo! Or rather Gianluca convinced Piero who convinced Ignazio. And, in the end, Gianluca sums up Sanremo and the events that follow in this way!
The truth is that I was right from the beginning and, no one has ever listened to me, ever. I believed it so much that, if you notice, maybe I’m the one with the least surprised look when Carlo Conti announces the winner. Then, of those moments, one remembers little, there is great confusion, emotion. It was a dream to be able to shout, “Thank you, Italy!” from that stage. I looked at Sanremo as a child, when there was Pippo Baudo, and I was there and have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said. The emotion was only when my grandfather told me almost in tears: ‘Who would have told me that in my life I would see Modugno win at the Festival and then I see you win.’
On Sunday evening, when I returned to Montepagano, I found th whole village in a party, not just my grandfather: my countrymen were waiting for me from the morning to celebrate. There really was everyone, including the mayor. And then, the journalists, the local TV and a crowd of people who we could not count.
Another of the beautiful things that came after San Remo was the chance to meet the children of the Agbe, the Association of Parents of the Emopatic Children, of Pescara.
It is a reality born in 2000 from the idea of a group of parents, in fact, 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. An initiative that, for those like me and very sensitive to the problems of health of children, and really beautiful.
The thing that honors me a lot and that, inspired by my story with Ti Lascio Una Canzone, they thought to have the children dedicate to singing, so they organize a Christmas show every year that keeps them very busy and also a lot of fun. But at Agbe they would never have thought we would meet.
Instead, after the Festival I went to see them, all young patients 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.
But Gianluca is about emotions too! And many things that happened after Sanremo were emotional for Gianluca! Like Gianluca receiving a prize for bringing Abruzzo around the world. Let’s listen to Gianluca talk about the emotion of winning this prize.
When I talk about emotions that arrived after Sanremo, I cannot forget what it meant to receive a prize like Abruzzese that gives prestige to its region in the world.
Every year on August 5th is celebrated 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.
For example, they awarded a university lecturer, a cardiologist, the founder of a cultural association, an entrepreneur and a successful executive. 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 a 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. The original of the warrior stands in the National Archaeological Museum, more than two meters tall, of limestone, with a large disk helmet that looks like a hat. You see it for sure. And it is one of the things I’m most proud of.
In short, Sanremo was just a dream that brought us many different emotions.
Gianluca has a heart of gold! It’s always about helping others whether through his generosity or his love of his country! That’s just how Gianluca is. He has his hand in everything and reaches it out to those who need it!
But it seems I digressed!
So now, let me go back and sum up Gianluca’s musical career! Although Gianluca never studied music he did develop a musical ear and instinct and as a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses and his performances around Abruzzo, he was discovered by Licia Giunco who brought Gianluca to Rome to audition for Ti Lascio Una Canzone. The rest of the story is history!
And as a result of this, Gianluca Shares His Amazing Voice with people all over the world!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
I was torn between calling this story “The Man in the Shadows” or “Ricomincio Dai Tre” (I Start Again from Three) because both titles would be so appropriate here. If you follow Il Volo, you certainly know who I am talking about in this story, their manager, Michele Torpedine. At concerts we see a patch of grey hair and we all say, “There’s Michele.”
But who is this man? And where did it all begin for him?
“Ricomincio Dai Tre” is Michele Torpedine’s autobiography. I said this about the guys’ book and, I will say it about Michele’s book, “If you can read Italian, you need to read this book.” It was so good, I read it in one weekend. I will say a lot of the people he talks about, you probably will not know, unless you’re Italian. Having said this, it is a very good read!
Let’s start by first looking at how the guys came to know Michele.
The day the guys came together singing, “O Sole Mio” on Ti Lascio una Canzone, Michele was at the end of his career. For him it was truly over. All he had done for so many now seemed in vain. But with this vision before him, three amazing teenagers, he was able to see a new light. A light that would start the wheels rolling again. A light that would reveal truth. A truth that never before was revealed to him. A truth he searched for his whole life but would only find in his relationship with Il Volo.
What was this truth? For the answer, let’s go back to the beginning that is the beginning for Michele. Let’s listen to what Michele has to say about his humble beginnings….
In my story, you will find pieces of true stories of artists, such as Andrea Bocelli, Il Volo, or rather, among their stories, you will find mine, that of an Apulian child emigrated to Bologna, the boy who from a studio apartment in a small white house (the Apulian houses are often white), went to the oval room of the White House.
I loved the music, I still love it, the world of music, less.
I was born on 12th May 1952 in a small town in northern Puglia. I don’t remember anything about this place, because I moved to Bologna when I was 5 months old.
My father was called Salvatore, he was a tailor, he was severe, hard.
My mother’s name was Titina, I lost her when I was 27 years old. I carried her down in my arms, wrapped in a sheet, to the mortuary chamber. She was 51 years old. Hunger, misery and cancer, this was her life, she struggled like a beast, then from one day to the other she fell ill and flew away in less than a year, I still haven’t managed to forgive her for leaving me so early.
In Bologna, we come in search of work and survival, we are poor, but really poor. We lived five people in one room.
At the age of 8, I started to work, with a shoemaker, straightening the nails that were extracted from the soles. At 12 I started working as a bartender, then as a waiter and bellhop.
My brother Nino, at the age of 17, assembled his first battery of drums (drum set), I, who was five years younger than him, began to follow him and learn. I began to work in the evening. I would go to the places where you can play. At the age of 14, I became part of a local orchestra.
At 16, my first dream comes true, a friend of mine called me on a Sunday afternoon and tells me that he was given the task of hiring six bands to open the Jimi Hendrix concert and asked me if I wanted to take part. I accept immediately, I was excited.
Our band is the last one to play before Hendrix enters. Bad fate because people couldn’t wait any longer so they threw booze and popcorn at us.
Things began to improve they call me more and more often.
One evening, all together, we go to see a concert of musicians playing with Ray Charles, the place is packed, that evening he is there too, Ray Charles, at a certain point they tell me they don’t have a drummer and they asked me to play. My legs were shaking, I was paralyzed with fear, but then I calmed down and played.
Michele says that the battery (the drums) is his life, not women, nothing for him is as reliable as a drum set. Michele continues…
Everything goes well, time passes, I was good, but not a genius, I understood that it is better to change.
One day someone proposed that I be a road manager, that is the one who contacts the local promoters, pays the musicians, takes the money, checks that everything goes well.
I plan a series of concerts for artists like Paoli-Vanoni, a great success, things are getting better and better, from one day to the next I became a millionaire, and people began to ask for me.
I started a partnership with Zucchero Fornaciari. He is good soul singer, nobody in Italy sings like that. Time passed and Zucchero became very successful, one day he came to me with a beautiful and sad song: “Miserere”, and he says, “this song should be sung with a tenor … let’s try to ask Pavarotti?”
Pavarotti was in America. I have to bring him a demo of the song so he can listen to it. I contact all the tenors I know but nobody wants to do a demo with Zucchero, join the lyric, with them pop was not contemplated by the classical tenors.
By pure chance, a friend tells me that in Tuscany, in a club, in the evening, there is a blind boy who plays the piano and is very good, he also sings tenor songs, his name is Andrea Bocelli.
It was the first time I met Bocelli. No one believed in him, not even himself.
Bocelli agreed to do the demo but, he was fearful because Pavarotti would hear it. He is very good and likeable. He sings the demo in a special way. I tell him to persist with music and he replies that he has won a receptionist competition and that the music will remain his passion.
I fly to Philadelphia to give Pavarotti the demo and, he immediately tells me that he will never sing a song of light music. I asked him to at least listen to the demo and he agreed. I explained to him that the boy who sings is not a tenor but a simple boy who plays for passion and Pavarotti asks me if I’m kidding him, because for years he hasn’t heard such a beautiful voice.
I go home and call Bocelli and I incredulously propose a contract to him. Bocelli doesn’t believe it’s all true.
At first it was difficult, nobody wanted Andrea. Too risky! There were always so many bad reviews in American newspapers, but people loved him, that’s the only thing he has always counted on.
The live reaction of the people was a show in the show. Andrea was a great interpreter of emotions he knew how to take on the feelings of ordinary people. This was its added value: to be a common mortal with a divine voice.
As to women, Michele says…
Women, I love them, but I’m afraid of them. I can’t trust the exclusive relationship with a woman. I am not so naive as not to understand that beautiful women are with me even for what I do, I am wealthy, I ride in beautiful cars and, I have some power. I never married, but I was almost married. How it ended makes me feel bad today. I was 30, she was from Bologna, beautiful and intelligent. We decided to get married.
I will only say, he cheated and, it was over! Too bad!
As with everything, Michele goes back to his mother….
My mother who I loved very much, left me early, too early, without giving me a way to show all my love for her. My mother could not share with me that little bit of success, of well-being, that I wanted to give her after so many hardships. I had everything from her, and she, she had no way to say with pride “That is my son”. I feel guilty about this.
But there is another woman who has always been important in my life, and it is my sister Liliana, a little friend, a little mother, and always with me even at work, especially in the most important moments.
I must admit that other female figures have been very important in my career. At the beginning, Cristina Gelsi, who followed me in the 16 years with Bocelli. And, now Barbara Vitali, omnipresent in all my activities, almost my alter ego, she lives traveling the world to assist Il Volo.
So, let’s talk about the guys and their relationship with Michele.
In an interview with La Vita in Diretta, Michele was asked, “What has changed, Torpedine?”
I have many enemies, which will increase after this book but, I met the right people: Gianluca Ginoble, Ignazio Boschetto and Piero Barone.
Yes, as you can tell from the title of the book, when I met them and put them together as a trio, they were so young… to think that ten years have already passed! With them and with their families, good people, a relationship was born that goes far beyond the professional one.
Together we joke and laugh, then we get serious, enjoying worldwide successes: but the human side, their being real and clean, for me is an added value, which is priceless. And, especially in this environment, is a rare commodity.
So true! This is something we always say about the guys. Something we admire! Their integrity and values are priceless! We admire that they are able to remain grounded being in this environment.
Where there is gratitude, there is Il Volo! Michele continues…
It’s so hard to be told ‘thank you.’ For this reason, the boys, Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio are different: grateful, so much so that I had to tell them to stop making my name and thanking me during interviews or at the end of the concerts, everything seems prepared.
But, of course, we know it’s from the heart! That’s who Il Volo is!
Asked about whether or not Michele would “Fancy a family.” He replied….
I have no children or wife, I married music. Perhaps the ugly will come later when I turn around and find no one. But at the moment I’m fine with that!
We wonder what did Michele expect when he signed Il Volo?
Another great story started, a new story at a time when it seemed to me that there was no future for me, for my profession: a breath of oxygen in my environment.
After years of disappointment, loss of trust and gratitude, missing or denied, with Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca, Michele rediscovers the values of gratitude. Michele says….
The boys allowed me to really go back to my job.
So where did Michele begin with the boys? He started in a place where he always wanted to be.
Let’s start with trust because they trust me first of all; the administration of an entire world tour, with important figures to move on which I could take what I want if I were dishonest. But they trusted me and so did their parents, to whom, moreover, I have committed myself to teaching everything, the mechanisms, the things that move, the figures, the relationships. All.
So how does Michele describe this trust?
If I had to define the story of Il Volo with a dominant feeling, I would call it, Un Grande Amore – A Great Love!
Many have arrogated the merit of the success of the three boys, which is certainly the result of great teamwork, but it is above all the result of intelligence, humility and generosity of the three families who have not only never hindered my work as manager, but were supportive in the best way: Ercole and Lenora Ginoble parents of Gianluca, Vito and Caterina Boschetto father and mother of Ignazio, and Gaetano and Eleonora Barone who gave life to Piero.
To sum up his life, Michele says,
Many disappointments, mainly human and partly, even professional.
At some point, I found myself feeling more disappointed than ever with music, with the environment I mean. There was never gratitude around me. I found myself tired, eager for simplicity, for pure things. The horizon seems closed to me. One night I was at home, sitting on the couch, three boys, fourteen, fifteen, appear on TV. Of course, they are good, and if I tried to really put them together? A trio, here’s what I could do: Il Volo.
I think those three determined boys saved me from depression and from the desire to leave everything. Three teenagers, yes, but already great, in all respects. Already great since I first saw them: Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca.
How do the guys feel about Michele?
Let me answer that by going back to last October when Michele was involved in a lawsuit with Tony Renis. Renis accused Michele of violating their contract with the boys. The boys answered with this message about Michele.
We know you well. You have been by our side for more than 10 years. You have defended us from everyone, you have fought for us, you have taught us so much and above all you love us. You always made us understand who we should trust and who preferred to use us for their own interests and for their own personal glory. We are proud to have chosen you and to have renewed our trust, for 10 years, day after day. This is truth that no sentence can hinder. For the rest, just have patience: in the end the truth always comes. In life and in courts.
In concluding Michele says…
I started from a studio apartment in a small white house and passed to the Oval Room of the White House, received by Clinton and Bush. Who knows Ricomincio Dai Tre – I Start Again from Threemay become a film!
Maybe it’s time for me to go back to my old career and write the screenplay!
What did we learn from this story? We learned Michele is a very sensitive man.
Before I conclude for today, I would like to talk to you about three friends of Il Volo ~ Fabio Ingrassia, Roberto Amade and Mariano Di Vaio. One of them had some great news for us this week.
Many of you know these men. I’m sure all of you know Fabio Ingrassia. Fabio has performed with the guys in, among other places, Verona. We have all seen him paint to music. It was so exciting to watch Fabio paint Charlie Chaplin while the guys sang, “Smile.” I wrote an article about Fabio, “Fabio Ingrassia…In Black and White Between Colors” (to read this story go to www.ilvoloflightcrw.com) Fabio graces us with his presence every day. We have the pleasure of watching Fabio and Maria raise Noah.
I’ve spoken about Roberto Amade in some of my stories. In 2014 Ignazio and Roberto collaborated on a project in support of young aspiring artists in Marsala. This past year, I did an article about Roberto called, “Leri Cavour.” (www.ilvoloflightcrw.com) This is a restoration project that Roberto and his wife Isabel are working on. Roberto loves spending time with his family. Just this past week we saw Roberto and Isabel with their youngest daughter vacationing in Venice.
And finally, entrepreneur Mariano Da Vaio. Mariano is on social media every day with his three sons. I sometimes wonder, who is the child and, who is the adult. I’m very impressed by how he communicates with his children. It is done in a very playful but intelligent way. And he is teaching his children to speak English. This week Mariano gave us the great news that he and Eleanora are having a baby. Baby number four! Congratulations! We await the arrival!
So, why do I mention these guys? There are other friends of the guys, we know Guiseppe and Eraldo Di Stefano friends of Gianluca and Dario Mirabile friend of Piero. The reason I chose to talk about Fabio, Roberto and Mariano is they are the three who are married.
I look at these three guys and I see where in the future our guys will be! These three men are married to amazing women and, they have wonderful families.
This week Fabio said something that I think was beautiful. “Hold your babies until you can’t feel your arms anymore. Let them sleep in the bed until they’re no longer afraid of the dark. Kiss them to a ton of kisses. Tell them how beautiful and good they are with every little challenge won. They will grow strong and full of love. So, you don’t need to beg him for anything since he never missed it. These are not vices. They will know their worth because the tireless hug of your arms taught them love.”
This not only sums up Fabio’s family it also sums up Roberto and Mariano’s families. I say to all of you out there, especially all you, young fans, who are ready to move on in your lives and, consider marrying, follow these guys (on Facebook and Instagram) to see how great marriages work. They are all so hands-on in their families. There is so much love between them.
In an interview the guys were asked, “How is it to come home after traveling around the world. You come home and you are famous.” One of them answered something to the effect of, “You need to leave the fame at the door.”
This is the secret to why these three marriages are successful. They truly leave the fame at the door. They always put their families first. I see them interact with their wives and children and I say they are truly great examples for young people!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
In my story today I am taking you back to the very beginning! I want to tell you a little something about the guys in their early years. I will be using excerpt from the book the guys wrote and various interviews they did about the book. This is just a small piece of each man’s story.
We begin by journeying back to Naro, Bologna and Montepagano where it all began, to meet, our guys as little children.
The stories are very sweet and sometimes very sensitive. I found myself in tears reading the beautiful accounts of their special lives. In one of the stories, I had to stop reading and take a breath because it was like I was reading my own story. I had experienced the same thing in my life and I understood where he was coming from and I felt his pain in my heart with every word he spoke! I’ve been there!
In some way I have a connection to each of these guys. In Gianluca’s case we are connected by country, my maternal grandparents where from Abruzzi but the beach we visited when we were in Abruzzi was Pescara. My connection with Piero is his family. He came from the same kind of family I did. Dinners with the entire family and summers in the countryside. As for Ignazio I have an emotional attachment to him. Ignazio sings with passion and, I write with passion. Many people have said when I write about Ignazio I write with the same passion as he has when he sings. I think this is because we are both very sensitive and we are alike in many ways. We have many of the same traits!
Let me begin by saying each one of the guys is unique in how he presents his story. Piero and Gianluca dictated their stories but, Ignazio chose to write his story. He has a writing technique very similar to mine. When he writes he speaks directly to the reader! He comes in and out of the story speaking to the reader and asking questions. He is an excellent writer.
Piero is a great storyteller! In his stories he recalls every detail. He makes you feel like you’re a part of his story. When the story is over you know the event as it happened and there is nothing more for you to know. He’s told it all! He is very serious and emotional when he speaks about his childhood and his family.
Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had. No, Gianluca lived a very simple life. Perhaps that explains why Gianluca is a romantic.
So, without further ado, let’s begin with….
All of what is said here was said by Ignazio in his story. I did not change the thoughts or feelings of Ignazio or any of the guys in any of their stories. All the Italics are their own words. You might say I’m relating the story as seen through my eyes. Ignazio as the narrator gives you the facts and I follow him by giving you information that is important to the story.
This is a very, sensitive and sincere story!
“If a life is a story and, if every story needs someone to tell it, here I am to tell you mine, all of it from the beginning.” ~ Ignazio Boschetto
My story is not a fictional story even if it seems to be one of those dreams that you never want to wake up from. My story is sincere. It is the story of my life just as I experienced it before Il Volo and inside Il Volo.
My flight (every reference is purely coincidental) starts with a Christmas Letter.
It seems Ignazio’s mother, Caterina, and his father, Vito, were thinking about expanding their family. It is Christmas time 1993. Ignazio’s sister Antonia, who everyone calls Nina, is at school and the children are told to write a letter to Santa and the Baby Jesus. What Nina writes is a miracle and the beginning of one of the most beautiful and sincere relationships between a brother and sister. Nina, 7 years old, writes:
Dear Santa and Baby Jesus,
I do not want any presents for Christmas. Give my gifts to poor children. I want a baby brother for Christmas.
Ignazio continues, Said and done!
Shortly after New Year’s Caterina discovers she is pregnant. When Nina is told she wants to confirm that her wish has come true. Nina asks her mother if she can join her for her ultrasound. During the checkup, Nina asks the doctor, “May I know what it is?”
“What do you want, honey?” the doctor asks.
“I want a little brother.”
“Then come, I’ll show you the string bean.”
Nina’s first wish is granted but her second wish, not exactly! Nina wants her brother to be born on October 1st, her birthday. It seems Ignazio had another idea.
My name is Ignazio Boschetto. I was born on October 4th, 1994 in Bologna, Italy.
No, I didn’t make it for Nina’s birthday. I was wrong. What can I tell you? When they brought me home, I was better than any doll to Nina. Everyone was happy but soon, there are some worries. During the first visit, the doctor found that I had a strange kidney malfunction. After several checkups, they found I was born with a single kidney, but the one kidney I had was larger than normal and it works as if it were two kidneys.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, I was born with the squint of Venus, but I was fine, a Bolognese, brand new. The truth is, I could have been born Sicilian – Sienese. How would you see me with a Tuscan accent?
Ignazio continues his story always keeping in mind that his life is possible because of the sacrifices of his parents.
Is it the same if the images that I will never forget are … the memories of my parents? It’s not that I’m crazy or strange, it’s right that my story would never have existed without my parents.
In 1990, Ignazio’s parents made the decision to leave Marsala. They left with the hope of a better life for their family. As Ignazio says, “The family they had only begun to create.” Within a few years they managed to achieve economic stability and were able move into a house. Ignazio says, “The house was very small, but it was my first house, the one in which I was born.”
Of all the houses I lived in, one particular address remains in my mind: Via Marconi 94 in Molinella. It was a big and very beautiful house. We moved there just before I started elementary school. I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation. But it was official I was not the most mischievous in class that would be my friend Nicholas. I was second.
Now I would not want you to get the wrong idea of me as a child. A saint I was not, mind you, but thinking about it now if I was mischievous at school, maybe there was a reason.
In 1998, when Ignazio was four years old his mom was diagnosed with facial cancer. For a child of Ignazio’s age, it was hard to understand what was happening.
Mom did something she always did with us, for as long as I can remember, she explained the situation to us, speaking openly. This is a great merit that I must acknowledge about my family, but perhaps a little more to mom, because the fact of speaking clearly with us children and telling us the truth about things that affected our family and life in general taught us to face up to early adult conversations.
Now, I’m going to step out of the story because there are no words that I can say that will express the emotion and the sensitivity of Ignazio words.
I do not even have to tell you that since my mother’s conversation, my life has changed. I was small, but I could not afford to think like the other children of my age. As for my sister the situation was even more complicated because since 1998, the year of our mother’s first hospitalization, until 2003, the year when all the bad story is over, my mother has become Nina. For the first two years of elementary school, I have not often seen mom, a little because I went to school, a little because she had to return frequently to the hospital and stay there for long periods. Dad worked and my sister, despite her twelve years, had to be a housewife. She has become my biggest reference point. We had to grow both of us very quickly, without thinking about toys and different entertainment, and not so to speak, but really. The truth is that we were not interested in anything that usually affects two children of that age, because the only thing we wanted was to have mom at home.
It is difficult to say what was the worst moment because her absence was always felt. For sure, however, I was particularly impressed by a quarrel with my sister. I was four and she was twelve and I was playing with a toy, she was fed up because I made noise, she took the toy and, we had a fight. After responding badly to her, I immediately repented. For me Nina was very important, really like a mother. In the end I did not sleep for a week. But I never told her, at least until now.
After five surgeries and one hundred and fifty points in the face, mom has returned home. Too bad they did not leave me much time to enjoy her. I wanted to sit her on the sofa and, I wanted all the kisses, hugs and everything I haven’t had in those years. Mom is mine and woe to those who touch her! And instead, a few years earlier, mom had started working in a pizzeria and, not even the time to leave the hospital, she rightly started working again. What could I do?
Let’s move on to Montepagano!
With Gianluca, everything is about passion! Actually, four passions! Family, Country, Music, Soccer! Not necessarily in that order! He takes his passion for Abruzzo around the world. On tour he always speaks about Abruzzo. He loves his country and, he wants others to love it too!
My name is Gianluca Ginoble. I was born on February 11th, 1995 at the Atri hospital.
“I am from the town of Montepagano, Abruzzo. To be precise, I grew up in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.” ~ Gianluca Ginoble
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am, very, proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. I’m not like Ignazio, I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.
Dad, Ercole and mom, Eleanora realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years. They tell me, when I was three years old, I sang ‘O Sole Mio’ in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who were sitting around in the square.
This was Gianluca’s first audience but, of course he doesn’t remember it.
Because Eleanora worked, Gianluca went to after-school session with the nuns. He had a teacher named Gabriella. One afternoon, while Gianluca was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher was speechless. “What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,” she told Gianluca. “But do you know Andrea Bocelli?” She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind. “Of course, I know him,” Gianluca said, “He’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said this with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you,” was the teacher’s answer.”
I was seven, maybe eight years old and thanks to Gabriella I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.
Are you wondering why I suddenly sang ‘Time to Say Goodbye?’ The answer is simple: because it made me feel good. Usually, I would sing at home or in situations where I felt protected as if I were at home. I did not care to make myself heard by others. It also happened that at school the teacher knew my particular voice and she would make me sing in the classroom. “Gianluca, let us hear your voice, guys, let’s listen to Gianluca sing.” Do you know how I reacted? I sang, of course, because it was the teacher who asked, but first I went to hide behind the blackboard and put myself face to the wall. I was ashamed to die. I still remember that feeling of being hidden, while I sang, without seeing anyone. Also, because I was already singing with this voice that tended to the baritone, it was really special. I understood that it was a beautiful thing, which everyone liked, but I was still ashamed. Dad says I also did it at home to turn my face to the wall while I was singing. What could I do? I was very shy and a little insecure.
But now, the shyness is over. Gianluca considered this a defect when he was a child but now, he has overcome the shyness. What hasn’t changed is the constant need for confirmation. On social networks, you see his selfies and people think he is vain, but in reality, he needs constant fan approval. He needs to know that they support him. Gianluca has been this way since he was a child. He always needed reassurances. If he only knew how much his fans love him, he would need no reassurances!
Time to move on to Naro.
Let’s join Piero in the courtyard of the town square of Naro.
The heat of the day has passed, the time of rest is over and it’s time for people to come out into the square. On the bench nearby are old men. Piero is playing soccer with his friends. They are playing with his SUPER TELE (a plastic football). The ball flies off in the direction of the old men and they shout, “Slow with the ball or we will cut it.” The old men frighten Piero with their threat.
My name is Piero Barone. I was born on June 24th, 1993 in the Sicilian city of Naro.
(Francesco and Piero Barone)
What can I tell you about Naro? For me, it is the most beautiful city in the world! There are dozens of baroque churches and above the city the Chiaramonte castle. Below the castle is the beautiful Valle del Paradiso with its green pastures and the green sea that separates Naro from the real sea… and there’s the Spring Festival Narese!
I would gather with my friends in the afternoon and usually we played until ten in the evening but there was always the fear that the old men would pierce the ball.
Five or six years have passed since the old men scared me. The old men are still on the bench but now when they see me, they come to meet me, to greet me. Before, they scared me, and now they hug me and have that look of being proud and moved. It’s too strong for me! Yet, I still can’t explain why I become ‘weak inside’ when I see them.
“The truth is, I’m still that kid with his SUPER TELE.” ~ Piero Barone
For Piero life is all about Naro and the family and his fondest memories are of his childhood and his family….
I think it is an effort to remember when we were young. We were young the day before yesterday. In fact, all three of us, feel that time has run too fast. Yesterday we were children, and, in a moment, we found ourselves grown up with a great job to carry on. It’s the most beautiful job in the world, what we dreamed and desired, but the truth is that none of us really imagined what would happen.
I remember in detail the years from one to fourteen…. I recall for a few months, during the summer, when I was nine years old, I went to work in my father’s body shop but because I had bad allergies and asthma I was not able to deal with the paints and powders so, the decision was made that I would go to work in my uncle Angelo’s (my mother’s brother) mechanic shop which was just in front of my father’s shop. I clearly recall, at half past ten, on time, my uncle gave me two euros and I went to buy a sandwich at the supermarket. The sandwich was ham and provolone. ‘How good was that sandwich!’
What I’ve done in the last five or six years, I tend to forget. Not because I’m not happy to have done it, on the contrary, I am, very, happy. It’s to have the life I have and have a dream come true: living with music was all I wanted.
When I was a child, I visited my father’s body shop. The shop was, very, big and was full of cars and lots of noise. This was my “first stage.” I was not yet four years old, and I was starting to sing. My father lifted me up and placed me on the hood of a car that was jacked up and I immediately began to sing. The people in front of the shop looked out. Slowly one after another, they came out. I remember them, they stood there listening to me, their heads popping out of the door and, I sang and, it was the most natural thing in the world for me!
But what remains in Piero’s heart is what he calls the “campaign” of his grandparents.
How do I explain this campaign? I think “campaign” and I think “family” a couple that cannot be divided.
Piero compares this campaign to his mother, Elenora, and his father, Gaetano. He sees their marriage as an example of love that he hopes to one day share with someone. Piero says,
I want someone with whom I can carry on that love that is so great even in times of difficulty.
And part of that love, Piero explains, comes from the closeness of his family.
I am proud to say mine is a real Sicilian family, one of those that on Sundays reunites at the grand house, the grandparents’ house. Together we are mom and dad with me and my brother and my sister, my grandfather, my grandmother and my uncle, my great-grandmother, my grandmother’s sister, her husband and their three children, who are the same age as us and for me they are like another brother and two other sisters.And there were great lunches from the first to the sweets, things so good that you cannot even imagine them. And the saga continues, when summer arrives and, everyone moves to the countryside.
Piero’s fondly remembers a family tradition…
I could not wait for it to be Saturday morning when we lit the wood burning oven. I went to collect wood around the ground, I helped to light the fire, and I helped to take out the pizza. In addition to pizza, we did “u pani impurnatu”, which is bread baked in the oven. How good it was! It kept that good taste all week. The week passed and the next Saturday we started over again. The bread was beautiful, warm and fragrant. We also made the “impanate”, which are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area. In short, I ate a lot of good things and, it was visible (I was really fat).
We have now met the guys at the very beginning of their lives. What have we learned from each boy? We learned they come from very simple, very humble families. Hard working families. Not unlike the other children they grew up with. Their days were spent playing, being mischievous and singing on impulse. The one thing everyone comes back to in their story is their music. Piero tells us living with music was all he wanted. Ignazio tells us between the mischief, there was always the passion for music. And Gianluca says he sang because it made him feel good.
It seems for these young men not much has changed over the years. In the Beginning There was Music and not much has changed over the years except that now they share it with us!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!