In the beginning the guys were called “awesome opera singers!” That’s how they described them. No, not in Italy! Here in America!
I love looking back at the beginning of their career and watching how they grew! One of the nice things about living in New York is you get all the interviews and promos firsthand!
In the late summer of 2011, the guys were getting ready for their first North American Tour. This involved a lot of preparation and a lot of appearances on TV talk shows to pave the way! I remember watching them on “Good Morning America” and thinking this is going to be an amazing journey for them. They have so much going for them but above all they had their youth which was an asset! Their voices were enticing and, they were adorable! Every teenage girl was going to fall in love with them. So would their mothers, and above all the grandmothers! It was the beginning of a journey that was going to take them to every corner of the earth. They would steal the hearts of all who came into contact with them. And, given their age, we could count on their music being around for a long time. That was the thing about their music, it came from the past and fit right into the present and would go well into the future. Everyone would come to love it! Yes, there were others who sang the same songs but, they were not Il Volo! Only Il Volo could pierce our hearts with their beautiful voices and leave us memories that would grow with age and expand with every new song!
During the last days of summer in September of 2011, the guys were taping the “Today” show. They were teenagers and they were belting out their favorite song “O Sole Mio” in front of projections of stained-glass windows. Their appearance capped a few months that brought them from “American Idol” to the morning talk shows to the final episode of “Entourage.” The idea was carefully designed to expose them to both mothers and daughters, before their first North American tour, which included theaters like the Beacon Theater in Manhattan.
In the NBC studio at Rockefeller Center, a sleepy-eyed Gianluca, 16, crooned the opening verse, and Piero, 18, and Ignazio, who was turning 17 the following Tuesday, released ringing high notes. Hoda Kotb, “Today’s” co-host, put her hand on her heart and smiled wistfully behind the cameras.
“We are Il Volo,” Ignazio said at the end with a heavy accent and a dimpled grin. “It means ‘flight.’ Thank you for flying with us!
After the taping Hoda said, “Believe me, everyone’s going to come running. They’re going to beat down the door.” How right she was!
The theory, Arias for teenagers, the crossover dream was being masterminded by some of the most savvy executives in the music business: Jimmy Iovine, who helped turn Eminem and Lady Gaga into superstars; Ron Fair, who nurtured the careers of Christina Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas; and Steve Leber, a management legend who worked with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and AC/DC and has come out of pop retirement to try to make Il Volo explode. And explode they did!
The group was introducing the same Italian pop standards and power ballads that performers like Bocelli used to rocket to superstardom. The difference, of course, is age: theirs, and that of their potential audience.
“In the beginning all of us thought that because of their kind of music, the audience would be from 35 and up,” said producer Tony Renis. “But now we realize that they can conquer the kids. The younger generation all over the world. The kids are used to rap but they never had the chance to listen to this kind of music. But now Il Volo is spreading a new kind of feeling. They are conquering every age.”
The group caught Mr. Renis’s eye in the spring of 2009, when the three boys were competing individually on “Ti Lascio una Canzone,” an Italian version of “American Idol.” A shrewd producer on the show, Roberto Cenci, suggested they combine forces, and their renditions of modern classics were hits.
“These kids were singing ‘O Sole Mio,’ and I heard such amazing, beautiful voices that I didn’t believe it,” Mr. Renis said. “I thought it was fake. They were singing with such mature voices, like men of 50 or 60 years.”
Mr. Iovine and Mr. Fair signed the guys to Geffen Records after hearing a clip that Mr. Renis played for them. Their debut album, “Il Volo,” a mélange of songs in Italian, English and Spanish calibrated for the widest possible appeal, was assembled over the next year and released in Italy in November 2010.
The label’s connections landed the guys a spot on “American Idol.” They also did a cameo on the final episode of “Entourage,” with their song “Un Amore Così Grande.”
Meanwhile, when Anthony Rugiero heard Il Volo sing, he was struck by the group’s similarity to both opera’s The Three Tenors and the pop music world’s Jonas Brothers.
“I was amazed,” said Rugiero. “It was, like wow! They are treating these kids like the Jonas Brothers in Italy and they’re singing opera, like The Three Tenors. You look at them and it’s like, these guys have it all. It’s too good to be true.”
Rugiero, who heard the group sing in Italy, knew Il Volo could help his charitable endeavors. He had been looking for a way to raise funds for Boys’ Town of Italy, Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance and the Volterra-Detroit.
“I was thinking, how can I get a group together that’s big enough that it would reach all age levels? I thought about singing groups and was trying to think of who I could get, when I see these young kids in Italy,” Rugiero recalled. “They take classical music and put a little something into it. These kids are wonderful.”
Rugiero, who also is a board member of the Detroit Opera House, was determined to bring the group to Detroit as a fundraiser for three organizations and began working on a plan to produce the concert himself. After Live Nation bought the group’s North American concert tour, Rugiero suggested a benefit dinner that would be held in conjunction with the show on Sunday, October 16. Concert promoters liked the idea.
This video is the best example of how they were able to steal the hearts of the American people. The video shows them on a simple stage with limit musicians and their voices shine!
“I purchased the first 20 rows, center section, all premium seats,” Rugiero said, describing seats at the Fox Theatre. “We hope to have a great evening.”
Fiat was the sponsor of the event, along with several Italian-American business leaders including Tom Celani and Anthony Soave.
The Volterra-Detroit Foundation supports The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Comune di Volterra, which had formed a partnership to provide a new educational opportunity in the City of Volterra, Italy, for students in metro Detroit. Through the partnership, U.S. students can study in Italy for no additional fee, after paying their regular college tuition.
“I love programs that bridge the gap between Italy and the U.S.,” Rugiero said.
Rugiero didn’t get to produce the concert but he was able to use it as a fundraiser for three worthy organizations.
Back in New York, the “Today Show” was not their only talk-show appearance. They were on “The Tonight Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and CBS’s “Early Show” in May, when their album was released in the United States. And they were preparing for a PBS special.
In the meantime, their album made its debut on the Billboard 100 chart at No. 10. The Italian and American management teams butted heads about where, when and how to spend the boys’ time. Should they stay in America a full year and play smallish clubs? Make one-off appearances all over the world? Play theaters seating 1,000 or 3,000?
“No one had a real game plan,” said Mr. Leber, who persuaded the families to bring him and his son, Jordan, on to help manage the group as it rolled out. “They need to tour, tour, tour, tour. The kids and the parents were nervous about going on the road. But the most important thing was to go on the road.”
So, on the road they were. Each of the boys was accompanied by one parent, a substantial sacrifice, since all three left their jobs to join their sons, and none are wealthy: Piero’s father is an auto-body mechanic, Gianluca’s a truck driver, and Ignazio’s mother owned a pizzeria that her 25-year-old daughter was running in her absence. None of the three spoke English.
The group had already been to Singapore, New Zealand, Sydney, Miami, jumping on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival. With the upcoming North American Tour, it was necessary to get a new wardrobe. The guys were taken to Dolce & Gabbana on Madison Avenue to shop for a tour wardrobe. When they arrived at the store, Barbara Vitali told the sales associate, “We have to balance the repertory they are performing with the teenagers that they are.”
The scene in D & G was confusing! A series of slim blazers failed to fit Ignazio, who has lost more than 30 pounds but remains wide in the shoulders. Ignazio sang “All Nylon” to the tune of “All Night Long.” Gianluca emerged from the dressing room in tight black velvet pants and a shiny black blazer. Piero ended up with boots spattered Pollock style.
“They’re very, very different from one another,” Mr. Fair said. “Gianluca’s like a young Tony Curtis or a Mario Lanza, almost a Presley character, handsome and dark and Italian with fabulous hair. Ignazio is a crowd pleaser and a people person, adorable and funny. Piero is more studious, very serious.”
Three hours and well into five figures’ worth of clothing later, the group headed to theBorgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, site of the tour’s first performance of the guys first full concert ever. They allotted two days for preparation.
The following morning’s rehearsal began well. The boys sounded fresh as they warmed up; the echo of one of Ignazio’s high notes stayed in the ice-cold air of the theater for five full seconds. But Gianluca missed an entrance — he had, as usual, been on his cellphone with his girlfriend — and things quickly dissolved into backstage shouting.
The next day was the opening show, and the boys had still not run a single song all the way through. Mr. Leber arrived, doling out hugs. “This is not music,” he said. “This is a happening. This is an event.”
And it was. It got off to a rough start. The lighting careened from darkness to glare. The sound mix, including the vocal track augmenting some of the group’s harmonies, was murky; the video projections — a mixture of slow-motion Italian film clips and animations — were distracting. The boys seemed unsure of exactly where to stand and how to move.
Then they opened their mouths. The first song was “Il Mondo,” a sweeping heart tugger. Like many of the numbers in Il Volo’s playbook, it started quietly, with a verse from Gianluca. It built and built, until Ignazio, oozing delight at being onstage, let loose a startlingly full and mature high note.
A girl literally screamed with delight!
Gianluca glanced at Piero with relief in his eyes. The audience gave standing ovation after standing ovation.
Next stop, Toronto. In contrast to the Borgata show — which, like much of the tour, was organized by the American concert-promotion monolith Live Nation — the Toronto appearance was the work of a local promoter, Mimmo Pellegrino. It was at Roy Thomson Hall, where the Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays and, which is about three times the size of the Borgata theater.
The Borgata show had, as Mr. Leber had predicted, the feel of an event – sold out, electric. In Toronto about a quarter of the seats remained empty. Some odd scenic elements had been added, like three enormous white masks that were revealed at the end to be swivel chairs. The audience response was warm, but it was hard for even the loudest of the recorded string arrangements to fill the big space.
The audience at both shows was mostly older, but there were the seeds of what could become a classic boy-band phenomenon: that girl screaming in the audience at the Borgata, high-pitched shrieks of “We love you!” in Toronto, a high school senior who asked Piero to be her date for homecoming. (He said yes.) And maybe, just maybe, they will inspire young people to try “real” opera. The thought was, if Il Volo can persuade teenagers to notice and care about vocal production in a classical — or at least classic — style, who knows?
“By January they could sell 1.5 million records around the world,” predicted Mr. Fair, who arrived at the theater in Toronto just as the boys were exiting the stage. “Everyone will know who Il Volo is. It’s going to be a gigantic live act. Tickets are going to sell like crazy. And then a song will come along, like a Coldplay-type song, a pop record that’s introspective and beautiful, and everyone on the more pop end of things will know them.”
But before everyone knew them there was a degree of fame and it was pleasant and inviting. There was some discussion after the Borgata show about whether the boys should exit through a back door. They decided instead to greet the public, and as they walked into the lobby, what can only be called a polite mob ensued, just the right size and just the right amount of enthusiasm. The boys thanked everyone graciously as they signed autographs and posed for photos.
Earlier in the day Ignazio was doing a sound check onstage with the band. Steve Leber watched from the seats. As if on cue, Ignazio hit one of his shining high notes. Mr. Leber smiled. “Our game plan is working,” he said.
And it certainly worked well. The crowds grew and, the enthusiasm grew and, it has never stopped working since then. The 2011 North American Tour was just the beginning of their success in America. A success that ten years later continues not just in North American but around the world.
And over the last year the call from our guys and the world was Let the Concerts Begin.
2022 should prove to be the best year yet! Welcome Back guys! You have really given us great pleasure with your Tribute to Ennio Morricone and we look forward to its arrival in North America and around the world!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Excerpts from an article in the New York Times by Zachary Woolfe on Sept. 29, 2011
Today I would like to share a letter with you from a lady named Marilyn Andrews in Seattle.
In 2020, at the height of the covid pandemic, my husband passed away from a long illness. I had been caring for him for several years prior to his passing. I loved him so deeply, but yet, after many months, I had been unable to grieve for him. Let me describe my husband, and you may be able to make an association with someone else:
Professional singer; glorious baritone voice; a repertoire of thousands of songs; offered a chance at fame on national TV (but turned it down over concerns for impact on the family); opened a show for Tony Bennett; musically inspired by Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Mario Lanza, the Three Tenors, etc.; private in nature but a consummate perfectionist in public performance; intelligent, serious, articulate, a philosopher of the mind; handsome, part time model with a stunning smile; fit and athletic runner and weight lifter; self taught in many things, including guitar and piano; a lover of beautiful clothes (Armani in particular); a lover of all things Italian – culture, art, history, wine. Above all, lover of family. The list could go on….
In the fall of 2020, I happened to hear a televised concert of Il Volo on TV. I loved the music and began to follow the group online and joined the fan club – my first and only one ever. As I read more about Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca individually, I was startled by the many things Gianluca and, my husband had in common. “How odd”, I thought. The more I learned, the more things I found they had in common, the stranger it became, and so the more I followed.
Sometime in the winter of 2020, I viewed and heard Gianluca’s performance of “Mi Mancherai” in Rome on YouTube. At that time, I knew virtually no Italian words, and so had no idea of the song’s meaning. But upon hearing it, something inside me just broke. It was such a jolt that I actually felt it physically. The timbre of the song, the sadness and the passion with which it was delivered instantly touched my soul at such a deep level that I cannot even describe it. I wept, and wept and wept, and realized that I was finally, finally grieving for my lost husband. Two days later, I searched online for an English translation of the song. And the tears came all over again, as I learned that the song is about losing someone so very close to you that you are overwhelmed with the “missing” and the sense of loss. It was quite literally a musical expression of grief – my grief. Without realizing it, I had been led, seemingly step by step, to the music of Il Volo, then to the character of Gianluca, then to his song, then to the expression of my grief. How could this even be possible – that a complete stranger helped me begin to overcome my deepest loss? I have no idea. But I somehow need to thank Il Volo and specifically Gianluca for the gift that he gave me, even without his knowledge of it.
Over time, I am healing. And I have begun the process of reinventing myself. Hesse says that “the true profession of man is finding his way to himself.” That is what I am doing. With my previous background in international business, I am learning Italian, working remotely here in Seattle for an Italian company in Vicenza, and planning a different life for myself. I may not stay in the U.S.; it is possible I may choose – Italy? Spain? Portugal? All of these changes involve a great deal of new thinking, new learning, and a lot of courage, but as I heal, I am becoming a true lioness!
Today the music of Il Volo brings me no tears, only incomparable joy. I have never had the opportunity or pleasure of seeing and hearing Il Volo in concert, but I hope to do so in the future, in Italy or somewhere in the world. It is highly unlikely that I will ever meet Gianluca in person. But if I did, I would shake his hand, thank him, and let him know that he has helped me more than he will ever know. “All things are possible.”
Many of you, in the comments after the various articles on the Verona concert, asked me for the opinion of the press. I have not forgotten about this and therefore here I am giving you my opinion.
I want it to be clear, that it is only my personal opinion, maybe I am too protective, towards Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, or maybe, like a mother, I want the best for them, because I think they deserve it, and therefore also this time, I was disappointed with the reviews in the press, or rather, I was half satisfied, but I certainly expected more.
Let’s start from the fact, that the concert was magnificent and you have all been able to see it.
The television ratings have absolutely rewarded the concert, they had the maximum ratings of the evening, therefore a real success.
The next day, it was Sunday, but I expected that the newspapers and television news, at least those of RAI, would write or say a few words of congratulations.
Those few newspapers that reported the news, did it purely as a news item, “Il Volo had the best ratings”, no compliments to the three boys.
On the Sunday after the concert, I watched the RAI news and also all the entertainment shows that also report the news of the various shows.
NOTHING, no one has talked about it, nor in the news, not even in the gossip broadcasts.
Here are some of the articles, of which I will translate the best parts.
The music has restarted and it has done so in a big way with a show that is not only musical. Starring Ignazio Boschetto, Piero Barone and Gianluca Ginoble who, in the unprecedented role also of conductors of the evening, led the spectators and viewers of Rai 1 in an evening dedicated to sharing. Il Volo, Tribute to Ennio Morricone had the merit of turning the lights back on to music.
The opening on the notes of Ecstasy of Gold, the main piece of the soundtrack of Once Upon a Time in the West, was exciting.
Two and a half hours of music, memories and emotions in a journey not only linked to the figure of the Maestro, but which fits perfectly with the musical journey undertaken over the years by the three boys, increasingly careful to bring excellence around the world of our country.
Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca then retraced their 12-year career, with significant images and with the performance on the notes of ‘O Sole Mio, a song they sang as children, and Grande Amore, the piece with which they triumphed at the Festival of Sanremo 2015.
Music is sharing and it certainly cannot save the world, but it certainly has the merit of making it more enjoyable. Especially after the terrible year and a half in which we changed our perspective on the present and the future.
After a long season without concerts, live music officially resumes thanks to the concert held this evening, Saturday 5 June, in the splendid setting of the Verona Arena. Protagonists Gianluca Ginoble, Ignazio Boschetto and Piero Barone, the three souls and the three voices of Il Volo. Two and a half hours of beautiful music, a concert-tribute to the romantic and visionary genius of Ennio Morricone.
Broadcast live on Rai Uno, the event certainly did not disappoint expectations.
In the lineup some of the most beautiful songs already interpreted in the past by the trio ….. Inevitable some of the themes composed by Ennio Morricone for the cinema … national pop scene …. Finally, from the very first listening, the unpublished “I Colori dell’amore” (The Colors of Love), signed for the occasion by Maestro Andrea Morricone, a particularly suggestive piece, crowning an unforgettable evening. We start again … we start again in a great way.
People, as many people as they have not seen in the same place for a long time. With the masks, the right distances ……. the music has started again, the Verona Arena has been granted to a few thousand people who have been excited for almost three hours together with Il Volo which paid homage to the teacher Ennio Morricone. A perfect evening for climate, program and joy, to the point of (almost) forgetting the waiting time “justified” by television times ….. an evening that will go down in history.
Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio start with Ecstasy of Gold, the theme of The Good, the Ugy and the Bad by Sergio Leone. Then a few words, presented Andrea Morricone ………. who will conduct the orchestra in some pieces during the evening. One is Your Love …….. the three artists remember when, in 2016, they participated in the tribute evening to the three tenors Pavarotti-Domingo-Carreras. The composition cannot be anything but the Nessun Dorma and the execution is thrilling; the orchestra, directed by Maestro Marcello Rota, and the choir the latter arranged as tradition dictates in front of the stage, immense …………… The colors of love is the piece created for Il Volo by Andrea Morricone followed, for the last standing ovation, by Libiamo ne ‘lieti calici, aria from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi and the reprise of Estasi Dell’Oro. With a dedication to the people that Covid has taken away and a thought to Vito, Ignazio Boschetto’s father who died last March, the circle closes, the music remains in the air. And, I’m sure, people are finally smiling under themasks.
Il Volo-Tribute to Ennio Morricone: success for the concert that bewitched the audience.
… aired on Rai1 last night live from the Verona Arena, it won the prime time with a 25% share, winning 4,702,000 viewers.
…… The exclusive concert-event of the international trio Il Volo, in honor of Maestro Ennio Morricone, saw Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca alternate conducting, accompanied by Marco Giallini and Laura Chiatti. The Filarmonia Veneta Regional Orchestra was conducted by Maestro Marcello Rota, with special participation in some pieces by Maestro Andrea Morricone.
The event, which also marked the reopening of the Verona Arena’s musical season, lasted over two hours, winning one standing ovation after another from the audience present at the Arena.
Certainly these are all positive articles, but they are few and moreover from minor newspapers, certainly not those that, after Notte Magica, have really said very badly about them.
But one yes, I had a great satisfaction reading IL FATTO QUOTIDIANO.
This newspaper had written very badly after Notte Magica, using titles like this: ”Il Volo on Canale 5, the great opera scam: we hope that people will keep them abroad, so, at least for a while, we get rid of them”.
The three tenors have returned to live music for the only concert scheduled for this year. The Verona Arena was sold out with a Covid capacity of 6 thousand people to applaud the most famous arias of Maestro Morricone and the many guests on stage. Emotion for a special dedication to Ignazio’s father that Piero Barone made at the end of the show.
The challenge was twofold. The great return to prime time live on Rai Uno and all three alone to conduct, without any intermediary. The result of “Il Volo – Tribute to Ennio Morricone”? In front of the screen last night there were 4,702,000 viewers and 25.8% share. Excellent listening that rewarded an evening that was indeed the celebration of the great Maestro but also the story of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble, their story between anecdotes and songs from their repertoire included in the lineup. The event was organized in full compliance with anti Covid-19 guidelines and protocols.
……………Excited, the three tenors dedicated the event “to the people who didn’t make it. Our thoughts go up there to them.” Piero then added: “This concert is dedicated to Vito who we miss so much and is watching us from up there.” That is, Ignazio’s father who died of an illness on February 28th. The concert will be broadcast in the United States by the PBS network. Il Volo will return to America next year for a series of concerts, while the Morricone tribute album will be released later this year and will be sold all over the world.
But the journalists who had written so badly about Il Volo after Notte Magica, where did they go?
What happened to them??? This time they didn’t write anything bad, but not only that, they didn’t write anything at all, as if the event hadn’t happened.
And then the articles that I first translated are beautiful, but there is no direct compliment to the boys, nothing that says about their personal growth, artistic maturation, praise to their voices.
The only really beautiful article, no ifs and buts, is the one published by VANITY FAIR, really well written, you understand that whoever wrote it was really present and experienced the emotions of that concert.
The Arena di Verona reopens its doors to music starting from Il Volo with a show in honor of Ennio Morricone, live on Rai Uno. We stayed with them in Verona.
Months of closed doors, silence. The Verona Arena turns the lights back on and lets the music play, starting with Il Volo – Tribute to Ennio Morricone, a concert event, in honor of the great Maestro. Broadcast live on Saturday 5th June on Rai Uno, it marks the great restart of the summer season of one of the most important places for Italian music.
It is a special evening. The three boys appear excited, after days of rehearsals, which ended at two in the morning the night before.
A show prepared in detail, where for the first time the two tenors and the baritone also play the role of television hosts but choose not to read the hunchback, in order to be more free to be themselves. The difference can be seen, after a somewhat rigid start in the spoken parts, when they finally break up joking with each other. It is their beauty. Serious and composed as they sing, they appear much more fun (and entertained) if they let themselves go to their dynamics of colleagues (and especially friends) who have been working together for the past 12 years. Instead, no hesitation in the sung parts, from the first note of Your Love, the song that opens the concert, among the images of the film Once upon a time in the west. They show once again, in this first concert after a year and a half of stoppage which for them is also the first live television broadcast, that they are professionals able to fill the sky of Verona with three powerful voices that fit together perfectly and excite an audience that stands up many times, in continuous standing ovations, demonstrating great participation and emotion to the three protagonists.
“These have been difficult days for us. We’ve been thinking about doing a live broadcast for a long time, but we’ve always wanted to wait, we didn’t think we were ready. Today we want to send a message to young people. Never give up on your dreams. Because we didn’t do it,” says Ignatius, just as one of their dreams comes true.
…………It is their only 2021 concert in Italy and is also broadcast in the United States by the PBS network. “The best thing is to see so many people working on this event,” they say. And with them there are also the dancers, as if to emphasize that the art that must start again also passes through dance.
………….What you don’t see on TV are the ladies in the front rows waving to greet them or the people outside the Arena listening. The greetings of the three, when they are not framed and the words during the advertising blacks. There are also many foreigners who have come from abroad to attend the show. “We have experienced shortcomings and distances. There are those who have had great losses and those who have great satisfaction. We are dedicating this concert to people who have not made it. Our thoughts go up there to them,” says Ignatius. And among them there is also his father Vito, who died suddenly in March. “This concert is dedicated to Vito who we miss so much and is watching us from up there,” says Piero at the end, in a moment that becomes very emotional but which again leaves room for the professionalism of three friends who support each other. And so, while Ignazio sings perhaps at his best, the hands of Gianluca, visibly moved, look for his, to support him, in the most difficult, but also the most exciting, moment of the whole show.
They show their nuances, especially when they go on stage alone. Gianluca sings Your Song by Elton John showing his more pop side, dedicating the song to his mother, sitting in the front row. Piero, with Andrea Griminelli on flute, No puede ser nueva and Ignazio Listen accompanied by an eight and a half year old boy, Julian Iorio, on saxophone.
The tribute to the maestro therefore also goes through great songs such as Volare, My Way, O sole mio. And there is also Grande Amore, the song with which they won in 2015 at the Sanremo Festival. At the end they thank them, they dedicate an encore to the cameras off to the standing audience, they hope they enjoyed the show «We were very anxious. But we gave everything .
In their future there is now a period of rest. One more day in Verona and then everyone at home, waiting to be able to leave for a tour in 2022 that they hope will keep them busy for at least two years. Before then, however, a new disc for Sony Music, which will be this tribute to the maestro and which will arrive after the summer. “After a year and a half you gave us oxygen,” they tell the audience. And the public too, it is evident, has breathed this evening.
Of course, other newspapers have reported good comments, but they are publications linked to them by friendship, such as Il Resto Del Carlino (newspaper of Bologna) or the newspapers of Abruzzo and Sicily, even the newspaper of the Arena, but there was no doubt that they wrote well of Il Volo.
Mute scene, however on the part of all the television programs, nobody talked about it.
In short, I was satisfied because there were no obvious “attacks” on our boys, but I’m not thrilled with what was written.
I repeat, maybe it is my feeling, but I would have liked more, for so much work, so much art, so much beauty, which Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca have certainly been able to give us.
We’ve recently had so many intriguing posts about the Verona concert, the latest Il Volo TV interview, and the history of Il Volo, that I took a short break from writing and translating (while I worked at my day job)! In any case, Flight Crew still wanted you to get the translation of an Il Volo interview article that appeared in Famiglia Cristiana magazine right before the Verona concert.
The Famiglia Cristiana article pursued some of the things many other interviewers have already asked the guys: their memories, their feelings about returning to the stage, upcoming recordings. But this article touched on one or two things that most of the media don’t usually get Il Volo to talk about: supporting each other during crises, their faith, prayer, marriage, starting a family. See if you agree with me that overall, Ignazio said the least, but revealed the most.
The Cover Story Title is “Exclusive: Il Volo at the Arena of Verona in Concert for Morricone. Once Again in Front of the Public.”The cover quote from the guys is“Our Strength? It’s Our Friendship and Our Faith.”
This posting will be a little different than my previous ones, because I am giving you the actual magazine pages, so we can enjoy the whole thing together. I put the translation of the call-out boxes into our own call-out boxes. In case some of the magazine pages aren’t super sharp, we have also embedded some of the original shots here and there for you to enjoy.
(Each image in this post can be clicked on to view a larger version.)
As you can see below, the inside headline, besides repeating the cover, adds: “The Three Singers of Il Volo are the Stars of a Concert in Honor of Ennio Morricone, Whom We Lost One Year Ago.
When I first saw this article, it added to my impression that the Verona concert was dedicated to more different people than any other show I’ve ever heard. Daniela’s and my translations of the stage talk from the concert over the past month showed that in addition to the show being dedicated to the memory of Maestro Ennio Morricone, Ignazio dedicated the concert to those we lost during the pandemic, and Piero dedicated it to Ignazio’s late father Vito. Now, at the bottom of this magazine article, we see Gianluca’s statement “I’m dedicating this show to my grandfather Ernesto who recovered from the [Corona] virus. It’s he who helped me discover the westerns of Sergio Leone.”
Sergio Leone, as you probably know is the Italian film director whose “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” featured Maestro Morricone’s music, and like the other two films in that trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, added up to help make Clint Eastwood a star. Leone also directed the “Once Upon a Time” series of western films. Given Leone’s Italia origins, he is the founder of the style that came to be called “Spaghetti Westerns.”
So, without further ado, here’s the translation of the article by Eugenio Arcidiacono. [Based on his name, he may actually be an archdeacon].
“The interview takes place remotely, with the three Il Volo guys linked by video from their homes. But on June 5 will put them back together again for the first big concert in Italy with the public (a live audience) since the start of the pandemic: 6 thousand people will listen to them in the Arena di Verona during their tribute to Ennio Morricone one year after his loss (and the lucky ticketholders will be allowed to return home later than the curfew hour). Many more are those who will follow them on TV, live on RAI1 and in other countries of the world, from the United States to Japan. A great challenge after a year and a half of inactivity for Piero Barone, Gianluca Ginoble and Ignazio Boschetto.“
“We’re only thinking about one thing: finally, we get to sing. We couldn’t stand it anymore!” exclaims Piero. “We prepared for months, partly because for us it’s a totally new repertoire, with the exception of Il Più Ti Penso, a song that was constructed by blending themes from Once Upon a Time in America and from Malèna, which we included in our first album.
EA: Did any of the other tracks have lyrics written purposely for you?
Ignazio: “No, they’ve already been performed with lyrics. The only “gem” is Ecstasy of Gold from the Good the Bad and the Ugly: the Morricone family gave it lyrics, so it was a debut performance.
Gianluca: “There have been so many tributes to Morricone, but this will be the very first time for a tribute done by a male group. A tribute that will be translated to a CD that will come out after the summer. Andrea Morricone came to us in the recording studio and will be a guest on the stage to conduct some of his father’s music.”
EA: You’ve been conducted by Ennio Morricone in concert in the Piazza Del Popolo in Rome in 2011. You weren’t even 20 years old. What memories do you have?
Gianluca: “It’s true, we return to being children when we think of him. We were really naïve. I remember that during the general rehearsals with a one-hundred-piece orchestra he gave me the cue to start singing, but I didn’t start. Morricone turned to me [for not starting], and then I said to him, “So you give me the start cue?’ I saw the first violinist turn white [with shock] because I addressed the maestro as “tu” [the familiar/intimate form of you, which is not supposed to be used to conductors and music directors]. But he just smiled at me and said to me ‘Guys, don’t worry about it. I’ll deal with it.’”
EA: What is the first film with his music that you saw?
Piero: “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. As a real Sicilian I recognized myself in that little boy who wanted to get away from his homeland to find his own way, and who listened to the adult he was most attached to, who counseled him to not get trapped by nostalgia. I’ve only cried a few times in my life, but when I saw it and heard that poignant music, I melted like a popsicle.”
Piero stops, and begins to hum the theme song from Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. “Who knows these notes? With our concert we want to make our audience take a dip into their past, rediscovering the emotions they experienced the first time they saw these films.”
Gianluca: “I, on the other hand, am fond of westerns, because I watched them with my Grandfather Ernesto, whom I’m extremely attached to. When I let him hear The Good, the Bad and the Ugly sung by us, he got very excited. I dedicate the concert and the CD to him, because at 87 years old he became sick with COVID and took a month in the hospital to recover. We were very scared, but in the end, he made it.”
EA: The concert was originally expected to be in St. Peter’s Square, but instead became the season opener in the Arena of Verona.
Piero: “We thought of St. Peter’s Square because Morricone was from Rome, but they didn’t have the conditions to guarantee [everyone’s] safety there. At the Arena of Verona, on the other hand, these conditions were present and it’s as magical a place as any, and recognized all over the world. But we still want to return to St. Peter’s Square as soon as possible.”
EA: Morricone has also composed musical scores thick with spirituality. Will you also perform one of those?
Gianluca: “In Fantasy, a track based on the theme of Gabriel’s Oboe, from the film Mission, one of the most mystical melodies ever composed by the master, accompanied by words like “In fantasy exists a warm wind which blows over the cities, like a friend. I dream of souls that are forever free.”
EA: As ambassadors of Italian music to the world, what do you think about Maneskin’s victory at the Eurofestival?
Piero: “We’re very happy. They are young people with great personality who present an “unpublished” side of Italian music to the outside: rock.”
Gianluca: “They do a completely different genre than ours, but we like them. We don’t listen to lyric music from morning to night. I grew up with David Bowie and Elton John.”
EA: In these months of forced inactivity, how has the relationship among you been, especially as friends?
Piero: “We got to know each other better. We talked a great deal, not just about music; and above all, we learned how to listen to each other.”
EA: How do you feel about those three child prodigies who in 2009 appeared on Ti Lascio Una Canzone?
Piero: Much tenderness, but also pride. We have been fortunate but also good at not getting sucked into the most ephemeral, fleeting parts of show business. We have managed not to lose contact with reality, because we have always remained anchored to our families.
EA: All three of you are believers and practicing [Catholics]. What reflections have sustained you in these times we’re living in?
Ignazio: “Like Piero said, this pandemic has made us grow as persons, because we have held each other up in difficult times, like the death of my father and the illness of Gianluca’s grandfather. But our faith has been fundamental in helping us. Prayer, in particular, has proven its power.”
EA: After the Arena of Verona, you won’t be doing concerts [in Italy] for the rest of the year. You can take advantage of this to start having your families.
Gianluca: “I’m still such a kid, that I can’t imagine myself as a father.”
Piero: “For sure, the first of us to get married will be Ignazio.”
Ignazio: “Yes, it’s true that I have always dreamed of a wife and children. With the job I do it’s not easy. But I’ve been working on it…”
Credit to Famiglia Cristiana and owners of all photos.
There are various situations that can affect us in life, which we can find singular, rare or even unique. In 2009 happened, due to the combination of various factors, precisely one of these concentrations that not even elaborated by an expert alchemist would have been so perfect to create a union like the one that exists among the Il Volo boys.
One day, to go to a talent show in Rome, they left, completely unaware of what awaited them, two from Sicily and one from Abruzzo, more or less the same age, all three of provincial extraction, all three of modest families but respectable and respectful of the most important traditional values, and finally all three bearers of voices, although different, but of excellent quality for timbre, intonation and passion.
Precisely this exceptionality, this being different from all the others, immediately led them to a lightning career, something that never happened, an immediate contract with an American record company, triumphal tours around the world, applause and standing ovations. But this immediately involved a shared life for the three boys, who not only have three different voices, but also different personalities. As good as bread but sparkling Gianluca, funny and vibrant Ignazio, serious and perfectionist Piero.
A coexistence that could have been dangerous and even lead to a breakup, but having in common instead fundamental qualities such as the sense of duty, the kindness of soul and the ability to love, made possible for the three boys to find strength to stay together and gradually to esteem and amalgamate more and more, until they were united no longer by the need to travel and collaborate, but by a pure and disinterested friendship, completely free of rivalry and envy, by an ever deeper affection, to the point of no longer being friends, but brothers and to considering each other’s families as their own family.
In this they were also helped by the fact that the same type of collaboration, sincerity and affection had been established among their parents.
In short, a large family that found itself reunited in the greatest pain a few months ago when prematurely lost one of its members, Vito, Ignazio’s father. An Ignazio who, very courageous, in observance of the diktat “the show must go on”, wanted to participate in the Sanremo Festival, even in the days of deep mourning, in order not to harm his companions, even he metaphorized the pain presenting himself with his head almost completely shaved.
On that occasion, the brotherly love of Gian and Piero was evident to everyone’s eyes, their eyes did not leave their partner for a moment, ready to encourage him, to caress him, to make him feel their attention even with a simple touch of the hand.
The photo published here can be said to represent the allegory of this brotherly love, of this continuous attention: Piero, during the concert dedicated to Morricone, has just named Vito, to whom he dedicated, up there in Heaven, the historic concert they are concluding, Ignazio is deeply moved, tries to swallow tears, to mask his emotion with that sweet wonderful smile that is his habitual: his companions surround him, embrace him, make him feel their closeness, but what is surprising is that they too are breaking up in tears, Gian is about to burst, Piero in the photo is from behind, but if you have the patience to go and see the video, you can see how he too has his face in a crying attitude.
This is why at the beginning I was talking about a lucky situation, about a meeting desired by destiny : these guys had many blessings in their lives, their families first of all, then their voice and their beauty. But among them there is also this very positive character, the ability to be brothers, to rejoice and feel pain for the same things, in short, to love each other deeply.
Let me say writing about the concert the last two weeks has really been exciting! But “Where do I go from here?” So many amazing things happened! I keep going over it in my mind. I guess it’s time to move on but first I want you to listen to what the press had to say about the concert!
Andrea Spinelli from Quotidiano.net.
The idea of opening the concert with “The Ecstasy of Gold” directed by Andrea Morricone, while evoking Clint’s ice eyes …. turned out to be the most powerful opening of the gates of the Arena and brought it back to the center of the music.
Faces a little tense! Tense nerves, “our legs tremble, it is the highest and most important moment of our career” but in the voice of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble resounded all the determination of the event. A bit like in the “thrill” of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” but without steaming Colts. Many emotions, which the American PBS network will bring back at some time to the audience overseas, to pave the way for the World Tour kicking off on March 18th from Radio City Music Hall. By then, the album, “Il Volo – a Tribute to Ennio Morricone,” scheduled for autumn, will also be in stores.
Another review from Quotidiano.net
In the Concert event “Il Volo- Tributo a Ennio Morricone” at the Arena the three young tenors made the heart of Italy vibrate with their first live on Rai 1…. Immediately the first standing ovation with “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot, but many others followed in a crescendo of emotions.
In the lineup there were many famous songs by maestro Morricone, or arranged by him, but also many classic songs of Italian and international popular music, from “Volare” to “My Way” to “Se Telefondo” to arrive at the successes that made Il Volo known all over the world.
The three also performed alone, each with their own vocal skills and peculiarities, from Gianluca’s pop with “Your Song,” to Piero’s lyrical skills with “No Puede Ser,” to the vocal power of Ignazio with “Listen.” Il Volo wanted to dedicate the concert to all those who did not make it in this year of pandemic, in particular Vito the father of Ignazio who recently passed away. For the audience, a surprise a single unreleased by the trio “I colori dell’amore,” written by Maestro Andrea Morricone.
“These have been difficult months. For a long time, we wanted to do a live broadcast but, we did not feel ready,” said the three. “Tonight, we realized a dream! I say never give up to kids and always chase your dreams.”
So that is the final word on the concert! It’s hard to move on but we must! But you never know, I may come back to it later.
I must say I received thousands of comments from the fan clubs around the world! The consensus was unanimous, “the most amazing event. The guys’ best concert ever!” I agree 100%!
Today, I want to respond to some comments, two, in particular, that come to me time and again.
Many of you have made comments or written to me and said I should write a book about the guys. I will but, not right now, I’m already writing a book and I can only work on one book at a time. But the idea of this brings me back to the guys’ book Un’avventura Straordinaria, La nostra storia, (An Extraordinary Adventure, our story).A great book! I know you’re going to say it’s in Italian and you don’t understand it. Many people have asked me why I don’t translate the book. Simple, it’s not my book to translate. If it were, I would certainly translate it because it is a book everyone should read. It’s not just about their extraordinary voices it’s also about their extraordinary lives. Their beginnings! Their great values! Their amazing families who made great sacrifices for them. This is not just their story it is the story of their families who had to change their lifestyles in order that their children could go around the world and bring joy to millions of people! Extraordinary yes but, not just their adventure, it’s also their family’s adventure!
And what an adventure it was! From their performance at Ti Lascio una Canzone, where they shared the stage with some of the greatest names in the Italian music industry to that moment when they sang together for the first time “O Sole Mio” and changed their lives forever!
From the Italian shores to the American stage these young men have revolutionized the music industry! They reached into the past and brought forward music that was long gone. Italian Classics! True Neapolitan classics! Amazing Arias! They presented to the American people an old but new way of listening to great music! They captured the hearts of all generation. Teenagers, parents, grandparents!
They came to America and found themselves performing with some of the greatest entertainers in the world! Entertainers who were in awe of these three teenage boys. Just amazing!
As many of you know, I wrote excerpts from the book. I took the original book which consisted mostly of dialogues and short stories between the guys and changed it to a narrative so you could truly appreciate their stories. (If you go to my Facebook page, you can read many of these stories.)
In the story, I acted as the narrator leading you from one story to another, always allowing the guys to tell the story in their own words. After a while, the guys took over (as characters usually do in a story) and carried me along on their journey. A very exciting journey!
What did I find out about the guys in this book?
I found out that Piero is an excellent storyteller. When he tells you a story, he includes every little detail so when the story is over you know everything there is to know about that story.
I found out that Ignazio is an excellent writer. (As is evident in his song writing!) He is the only one who wrote his story. Ignazio is very articulate. His words just flew off the pages. Because of this, his story was the easiest to edit.
As for Gianluca I was surprised to find out he was such a romantic. Everything that is important to him is a passion. He invests himself in what he loves and believes in: Family, Music, Country and Soccer!
I have read the book about 10 times. Going back and forth from Italian to English to be sure that the facts I had were correct. I have edited other books but this one was truly an exciting adventure for me because the characters meant something to me.
Let me give you some final thoughts I had about this book. This story truly was as the title suggested “an extraordinary adventure” about three young boys, child prodigies, who travelled the same path but started in different places: Naro, Bologna and Montepagano. I often think how it is possible that three amazing boys, with three extraordinary voices, that complement one another, wound up in the same place, at the same time, in history. My only answer is divine intervention. God had a plan and what a plan it was! He gave us three voices that would stay with us for a long time and certainly for me till the end of my days.
Another comment that caused a lot of back and forth, between the fans, within the column this week was something that I have dealt with in my stories but, it seems some of you have not read, are new to the group and don’t known about or just need some explanation for.
The question was “Why does Gianluca start every song?” He doesn’t, but in essence he does start most songs. One woman thought Gianluca sings first because he won Ti Lascio una Canzone. They all won Ti Lascio una Canzone! In order to say one won over another, they would have to have the same voices. Well, we know there are three different voices ~ a baritone, a tenor and a spinto tenor. Yes, they did come in first, second and third but, they all won because the end result was the biggest prize of all ~ becoming Il Volo.
Now for why Gianluca sings first, I need to go back to my story from April 6, 2020 “To Talk About Our Guys – IL Volo” which was the first article Flight Crew published by me. I have written about this on numerous occasions but, it needs to be said again especially for those new to the group. (You can read this full story “To Talk About Our Guys – IL Volo” on www.ilvoloflightcrw.com)
Like most of you, I spend a good deal of my day listening to these three amazing guys sing and, at one point, I said maybe I should do a review of what’s been going on in their lives for the last 10 years.
Let me start by saying these three young men are extraordinary! They are remarkable, exceptional, persons. And, they have revolutionized the music industry. Let’s take a look at each 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 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 a song but, when he 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.
Let’s talk about Ignazio, who I call the bridge. He is a lyrical tenor. He, like Gianluca, is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the tenor range. And God knows he can, easily, hit that high C. Waiting for it and knowing it’s going to happen is so exciting!
A lyrical tenor has a warm graceful voice which is bright and strong but not heavy and it can be heard over an orchestra. Ignazio’s voice is smooth, clean and clear, with an acute extension. His voice has the ability to increase the baritone voice of Gianluca while softening the spinto tenor voice of Piero.
In the aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from L’elisir D’amore, Ignazio grabs you and draws you into the song. He makes you feel the innocence of Nemorino’s love for Adina. In his dedication to Pino Daniele, you hear an interpretation that is emotional and a delivery that is so amazing that you get the sense that Daniele wrote his songs for Ignazio.
And finally, Piero.Piero is a spinto (meaning pushed) tenor. A spinto tenor has the brightness and height of a lyric tenor, but with a heavier vocal weight enabling the voice to be “pushed” to dramatic climaxes with less strain than his lighter-voice counterparts. His voice is warm, graceful, bright, and can be heard over an orchestra. Piero has a powerful voice that easily reaches the higher notes. Every note that comes out of his mouth reaches us with such intensity and remains with us for a long time. It’s the voice that reaches out to you and demands your attention. Think of him singing the beautiful aria, “E lucevan le stelle” from Puccini’s, Tosca. 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!
Now let’s put the voices together.
Gianluca starts most songs because he is a baritone and most songs are written for baritones. As I mentioned he draws you into the song. Gianluca will sing (in most cases) to Ignazio and Ignazio to Piero. This is how the three voices become one. Select one of their songs. Now close your eyes and listen to them sing. What can you say about this song? You can say, that is Gianluca or Ignazio or Piero singing. In the progression of the song, you hear the voices blend to form a symphony for your ears. Their voices are very distinct.
I use the word symphony for their voices because they are like a symphony orchestra. They blend. So, think about an orchestra. You have violins, flutes, cellos, piano, any number of instruments. But what makes it an orchestra in particular a symphony orchestra? It’s how it all comes together. If you just had violins or flutes or any one instrument regardless of how many there are, they wouldn’t work alone. They need to come together for the orchestra to perform the symphony.
They are a symphony because their voices blend together just as the instruments in an orchestra blend together to form a symphony!
Most groups sing and you hear just a song but with Il Volo you are surrounded by voices. And the individuality of their voices entices you and it stays with you.
Think of what Piero says when he introduces one of the solos, “After we were together a while, we realized we had three different voices.” He wasn’t saying that they suddenly found out they had different voices, he was saying we are three voices and one soul but we need to show you those voices individually.
Add to this what Ignazio had to say about recording a song, “….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.”
So, in fact, those takes are specifically for each voice ~ Baritone, Tenor, Spinto Tenor.
And so, we come full circle with the voices, how they are put together and how they are recorded.
We leave you with thoughts of the Reviews, the Comments, theAMAZING Voices!
In closing, I would like to wish Piero a very Happy Birthday!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!