Tag Archives: Jana & Lorna Italy 2016

Jana & Lorna’s Adventure -Tribute to Tenors Review!

So sorry this is a long time coming, almost two weeks afterward!  But the jet lag had hit me more than expected and we were so busy and exhausted by the time we got back to our rooms at night, we just went to bed, as we usually had to get up early to catch a train to somewhere!  Lol!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Ok, it was finally set to begin! It was about 9:20p and dusk was just about getting ready to statueset in. There was a slight breeze blowing, about 80 degrees and just the most gorgeous evening you could ever want for an outdoor concert. The lights illuminating the Santa Croce Cathedral were amazing, changing colors from blue to gold to red. You could feel the buzz of anticipation of the audience. It was packed. There were empty seats here and there, but when you looked behind you, all you saw were a sea of faces, waiting for the concert to begin. The lucky persons that lived in apartments around the piazza were waiting as well, literally, hanging out their apartment windows, waiting for their “free” concert to begin!


They started pretty much on time…we saw the orchestra line up from the left of the stage and they walked out. When they were seated, Placido walked out as well. The crowd roared with applause. I wondered where the guys were? The orchestra played the opening symphony and the audience responded with appreciative applause. Ok, here come the guys!!! They walked out so calm, and so beautiful, in their tuxes. Some said they could tell they were nervous. Maybe a little fidgeting from Ignazio? They stood there, in front of their music stands. Hanging on fearfully, until the orchestra sounded the first notes. The prelude to Nessum Dorma started to play and they opened their mouths. Out came these magical notes! Gianluca started the song, then Piero, then Ignazio. Ignazio gave Piero a friendly and reassuring pat on the shoulder before it was his turn to sing. Sounds never before heard from our guys…the audience was immediately mesmerized by their voices. Placido was doing his best conducting both the orchestra and the guys! It must have been difficult for the guys to have to watch Placido, as they are not used to having a conductor – they just do their own thing, but they dutifully followed the conductor. When Ignazio sang placido orchestrahis last part in the song, he gets this serious, almost scary look on his face and his eyebrows point down in an angle – kind of like watching a cartoon character’s eyebrows when they get angry! The power and passion put forth by Ignazio was just incredible! His face filled with emotions as he sang those last notes. They also had an adult choir for a few of the songs, one being Nessum Dorma. The guys politely turned to watch the choir when they sang. The last few phrases were sung and it was over. You could see the guys breathe sighs of relief and more shoulder and arm touching going on! Maybe they were trying to convince themselves that this was really happening? The crowd was on its feet almost before the song was over. It was just the first song of many on that magical night in Florence, so many, gathered around the beautiful Santa Croce.


Unfortunately, I did not see “anyone” except for Ercole, running around taking a few pictures. Couldn’t see much being in the 3rd row….and I was kind of in the middle. I did not tape the first few songs, as I wanted to enjoy the concert. I also forgot to bring my extra battery, so had to conserve it. I did take some pictures, but was very disappointed, as they came out blurred a bit, even as close as I was. I did, later, decide to tape several of the songs. By the end of the concert, my battery was at about 16%, so I had to be very choosy on what I taped.


They sang a few more songs, then they took a break so the orchestra could play a few as well. Then came their solos. I truly don’t remember whose was first, but I think it may have been Gianluca. As many have already said, he was positively magnificent! His gian soloelocution was perfection. The song he sang, I believe it was called “La Danza?” was the perfect song choice for him and he certainly delivered. You could tell how proud and happy he was when he was finished! Smiling from dimple to dimple. It was truly amazing he could sing with such speed and alacrity and hit all the right notes, too! Of course, I probably wouldn’t have known if he’d hit a wrong note?


Many of us, I believe, were a little surprised in that Ignazio did not sing “La Donna Imobile…” as that was the song he credits to having sung as a child. But instead he sang igna solo 2another song – Una Furtiva Lagrima. I was not that familiar with this one, but of course, it was awesome! It was a lot of fun watching Ignazio’s eyebrows while he sang – it was like he became another person when he was singing those songs?


They said there were supposed to be lots of surprises! To be honest, I really thought Jose Carreras would have shown up. If he was there, no one pointed it out. The one surprise that I did think was pretty cool, was that Placido sang Non ti scordar di me with the 3 of them. That, was a real treat and surprise for me.


Yes, since this was a live show, there were a few flubs here and there… in the beginning, they forgot they were supposed to speak English! I believe Piero started speaking and then Gianluca reminded him it was supposed to be in English. Then they ask Placido to say guys and placidosomething and Placido responds in Italian. Piero says, “that was Italian…” Lol! Then he repeats it in English! Gianluca was introducing a song and said something wrong and said it again. It will be interesting to see what they keep and cut from the PBS DVD. I am surprised they did not announce in the beginning that this was a PBS special, like they did for Pompeii. I think they briefly mentioned it at the end, along with Sony Latin.


When they sang the “real” version of Torna a Surriento, I’m sure Ignazio had a really hard time keeping still, since this is the song they have all the fun with during their regular concerts. But he kept it under control!


There were no breaks and the concert was almost 2 hours long, although the guys did not sing constantly. The orchestra had a few solos as well. Every so often, Ignazio was being “Ignazio” trying to have a little fun here and there, conducting the orchestra and choir and flashing that brilliant smile. Yes, ok, you all know I’m a little biased here…piero gian


Some of the most enjoyable parts were hearing them sing some of the songs we already knew they sang, like Mamma, and a few others. It was interesting to hear how their voices had matured since they had first sung them at the Detroit Opera House video – “Take Flight…”


A bit of a disappointing surprise was when Ignazio was singing “Tonight” and we were just waiting, with anticipation for him to hit those few high notes and he didn’t! I’m thinking… ok, here it comes, I’m waiting… ahh, ooh. He didn’t sing it… I guess he was saving his voice for the other songs.


One other surprise was definitely Adeste Fidelis. Gianluca shouts “Buon Natale” everyone!


At the end, Placido complements the guys and says they should really consider singing more opera type music. I’d say, I have to agree! I mean, anyone can sing “pop” music! Although, it wouldn’t matter to me what they sang, even rap, I would buy their albums!

It’s their voices. Their voices are the magic – it doesn’t matter what they sing. The expressions on their faces when they sing; that is the magic. For a split second, I think Ignazio looked right into my eyes; that was magic. The songs they sing into our hearts and souls is not an illusion, but a pure mystery, to never be solved, no matter how many times we see them perform their tricks for us!


Alas, to many, it may seem like tricks they perform with each song, making it look seamlessly simple. However, we know how much passion and hard work they put into each performance they give. Night, after night.

Carpe diem, guys!

You seized the night, and the passion; and it was yours!

This was the night of magic!

Ciao a tutti!  Please forgive any typos or grammatical errors here.  It is now 1:19am and our train to Rome leaves at 10 to 7 and I still need to sleep somehow.  It’s also a real challenge typing on this external keyboard from my tablet!  Ok, all that being said, here goes!


This is srictly a review of the concert in Arena di Verona from tonight – the tenors concert will come a little later.

For me, this was the most magical and perfect concert ever.  Not only was it a perfectly beautiful evening weather-wise, I FINALLY got to hear all my favorite songs.  They really picked the best of the best for this finale concert.  The stage and the lighting were magnificent.  They had the monitors and also the videos going for many of the songs.  I thought for sure we were going to be blinded by the lights again, but it was only once or twice.

I finally got my dream come true and into my Il Volo trance I went.  They started with Per te ci saro!!  OMG, I sang the whole thing!  I wanted to stand after every song, but the Italians don’t do that.  They did stand after the solos and duets.  There were few empty seats…Lorna was so awesome, she let me have the 2nd row seat for the entire concert.  I will remember it forever.

Even thought it was second row, we were still quite far from the stage.  Like the orchestra pit area was empty of chairs and unlike the first Verona concert in September last year, the stage did not come out in the middle.

Their voices were of course perfection and Igna added his own to the end of My Piove – a little jazzier riffs and Gian joined him for a few…

Yes, they sang my favorites – Per te, l’more si muove, torne l’amore, canzone per te.  They even did a slight sketch of the Godfather routine.  Igna even sang Alleria and didn’t cry.  No Ancora though….

Gian sang Bridge…and it was incredible.  I remember telling Donna it would get better after we heard it in LA and she said “how could it get better?”  It did!!

I think someone mentioned that they were filming part of that movie where the guys are going to be part of it about opera.  Apparently, they guy who is the star actor was in the front row a few seats down from us. And?!  The guys were cuter!!  Lol!  They did this filming during the concert, but it was no big deal.

The one big shocker was that they did not sing O Sole Mio!  Not disappointed as they left in Surrender!!  Igna and Piero did their thing.

Since I was in the 2nd row, I imagine I’ll be somewhere in the DVD and group shot in the end.  My split second of fame. Lol!  I was in a pink dress to the right of the stage.

I did not see any of the immediate family except for Mary Grace, Piero’s sister and I think Alessio?  Gianluca’s friend.  At the end, Igna went over and gave this older guy a bear hug and picked him up, but no clue who he was.  He looked a little like one of his uncles.

If people want to know what to give Igna at the next m/g I would suggest a belt.  He was pulling up his pants the entire night!

I took some pictures and taped a few songs, but my phone camera and the lights were not friends.

By the time you read this, pictures will be all over everywhere, as well as videos.

Did I say how incredibly awesome it was????  Igna was also playing the piano and a few other instruments.  Gian was wearing tennis shoes and racing acros the stage every so often.

Don’t get me wrong, the tenor concert was awesome also, but this was more special and magical for me, as I have been waiting to hear these songs live for as long as most of you!

It was all in Italian except Igna said Thank You.  I did not quite catch what was going on, but something about studying their speech for the next song, etc.  I also had my friend Veronica to translate a few things for me!

I’m still trying to realize I’m in Italy!  I’ve seen the guys 5 times now this year.  You just keep thinking when is the next time?  They are planning another tenor tribute concert in the arena next May 17, but you know, nothing is ever as special as the first time!  My guess is that they might incorporate a few of

those songs into their regular concerts next tour.

Ok, it is now a little after 2am!  I really need some sleep if I can, that is.

They really outdid themselves with this one!!

Ciao a tutti – a presto!  Until next time…Jana


Jana and Lorna’s Adventure Day 2 “Gas or no gas?”

Allora….Day 1.5 & 2

So far everything has been ship-shape and right on schedule!

We landed safely in Florence and hailed Uber!  Our nice driver, Alessio, who spoke English, got us safely to our hotel.  Or at least pretty close.  A lot of one-way streets in Florence and  they drive fast and crazy!  The entrance to our bed and breakfast was a bit hidden, so he drove past it a bit, so we just walked, as it was a one-way street and he really couldn’t turn around.

We had some difficulty actually finding the rooms, as nothing is marked.   There were 4 floors and we had no idea which one it was.  Nothing said Martindago.  I went to 4 and Lorna went to 2 and we could not find it.  Each floor just had these HUGE wooden double doors on either side of the floor.  I finally gave up and called them.  They were on 3!


Ok, we got to our room, filled out the paperwork, and then relaxed a bit.  We arrived just about noon, as expected!  We were a bit tired, so we took a nap.  We needed to meet our group for the tour at 6:10p.  I looked on my trusty Google Maps and saw it was just a 10 minute or so walk from the hotel.  Ok, we can do this, so we set off.  We went a little ways and decided it was the wrong direction, so we turned around.  Not sure if this is like this all over Italy, but street signs are on buildings!  So, you had to keep looking up without tripping over the cobblestone walks.  As Lorna said, it was a miracle we found it, after a few wrong turns and the sun in our eyes, we ended up in the right spot!

We soon found out Alessio was our driver and chef again.   No, different person. Lol!  Alessio took us into the rolling hills of Tuscany in the Chianti region.  We arrived and were instructed to wash our hands.  Then it was a quick history of chianti wine and that the wine we were going to drink tonight was organic.  Like champagne, you cannot call just any dry red wine, Chianti!

We were then led to the kitchen for our first lesson.  We actually made our own dough, added toppings, and then he threw it in the ovens.  Next came the demo of making chocolate gelato.  We also learned what to look for in buying a good gelato.  Kind of like a diamond, but only 4 criteria…1. are crowds local or tourists, 2. price – no more than $2.50 for 2 scoops, 3. be sure it is offered in small amounts, not mounded high in the case, 4. like a diamond, color – be sure your favorite flavor is a natural color, not overly orange, pink, or yellow.  After the gelato lesson, it was time for pictures.  We went outside and were able to take pictures of the beautiful landscape, while our pizzas were cooking.

It was then time to come in and eat our creations.  My toppings were sauce, cheese, black olives, red onions, proscuitto, and what he called salami.  And it had a kick!   Sprinkled with oregano.  I like my cheese on top, so that is where I put it.  Pizza was ok, but looked good.  I think I will continue to buy my dough!  However, the wine and gelato were awesome, and we bought a bottle of wine to bring back to the room.  We even got diplomas.  By nearly 10pm, it was time to go back, so we got a very quick and bumpy ride back to the drop off point.

Once again, my trusty Google Maps got us back to the hotel.

The next day – July 1!  The day of the first concert!  I know a lot of it is already circulating on the net…

I woke  up at 4am and could not go back to sleep, so I gave up and got up at 6am.  Got in our tiny bathroom shower and was careful not to brak my neck.  Next, I rolled Lorna out of bed.  We made it for breakfast about 8:30am or so.  It took us a few tries, but figured out breakfast was about a half block away on the corner.  We had 2 cappuccinos and a croissant and shared it with the birds.

We were waiting for a call from Veronica, who was bringing our Verona tickets.  We ended up meeting her and her 1 friend at the steps of the Santa Croce at 11:30a.  We decided to find a restaurant and had lunch.  After almost a few hours, we made it back to our hotel and agreed to meet again at 4:45pm, as Lorna and the girls were gettingb their hair done. Prior to that we almost passed the hotel where the guys were staying.  Fans were camped out waiting for them to appear.  No sign of them, so back to our rooms we went.  The girls got their hair done, while I got our tickets to the concert.  I was hungry and it was a bit after 6p, so we ate dinner at this restaurant by our hotel.  It was very good and had a very nice waiter who spoke English.  They ask you what kind og water you want – sparling or regular, gas or no gas!  Ok, what were you really thinking?  Lol!  It was nearly 7:30p by the time we got out of there, so we quickly went back to our rooms to get ready.

Just getting to the Santa Croce was an adventure.  We were just a 10 minute walk away, but it took us almost half an hour, as they routed us clear around the entire plaza to the other side.  We got to our seats about 9:10p and the concert was supposed to start at 9:15p.  Alas, I suggested Lorna change purses and she forgot her phone!  Ok, up to me to take pictures and video.

Oh, on our slight detour around the plaza, we accidentally ran into the guys leaving the hotel and getting in their van.  Amongst the crowd, we were able to see Igna’s and Piero’s heads.  I screamed to Lorna, “it’s the guys, it’s the guys!”  They quickly vanished into the van and the doors were shut.  We turned the other way and made it back to the venue to find our seats.


Mi dispiace, but it is 2:30am, i am exhausted and need to get up in 4 hours for our all day tour tomorrow. So, i must sign off for now.  Part 2 tomorrow! Sorry, some pictures tomorrow…

Jana and Lorna’s Italian Adventure Day 1

We woke to beautiful sunshine in Detroit.  A perfect day volare!  I got my massage and it was glorius!

Ginny picked us up and we went to lunch.  She then whisked us off to the airport and we arrived about 1:30p.  We easily checked our bag outside and breezed through security!

Ok, we now had about 2.5 hours to kill!

We got to our gate and just relaxed.  Lorna went exploring and came back with a coffee.  I was able to connect to the airport wifi and thanks to Kelly, we were able to hook into the Placido special.  Unfortunately, because it was delayed for so long, we were only able to hear the first few songs and then it was to board.

We were on the plane!  Ok, it was beginning to seem more real.  So far so good.  No more mishaps!

Comfy seats, we got a snack, some wine, then dinner.  Ok, bathroom time.  Not too bad, but the seat creaked when you sat down and when you flushed the toilet, it sounded like it was taking you with it. Lol!

Got settled again, time for a movie.  Found a cute one, My Name is Doris with Sally Field.  Dozed off…woke again and gave up.  Put on the guys, it was time for a snooze!

Flight was pretty smooth, but for a little turbulence here and there.

Landed safely in Amsterdam, where I am now writing this post, waiting again to board in less than half an hour.  It’s gray and raining here, but did buy a few Dutch souvenirs.

I guess that’s all for now until we arrive in Florence.  It’s about a 2 hour flight.

Ciao for now!

Jana & Lorna’s Final Countdown Week!

Final Countdown – 7 Days!

Yes, it is hard to believe it is just 7 days away now.  Just 5 more days of work.  Can I keep busy enough, can I keep still?  I guess I will have to; I have no choice.

Dani was kind enough to send me a few links of some of the songs the guys might sing.  Still trying to guess who will sing whose parts?  My first bet is that Luciano’s part will be sung by Ignazio.  Here is why – I played Nessun Dorma and when he hit these few notes, chills just ran down my arms like they do when Ignazio sings that note in Tonight!  Then, believe it or not, I was actually close to tears at the end of it.  Kind of reminds me a bit of Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts is balling at the end of Madame Butterfly and Richard Gere is confused because he knows she doesn’t understand a word of it!  But she says it’s the emotion in the voices and that’s what makes you understand and feel, even though you don’t know what they are saying.

To paraphrase Barry Manilow (sorry!), he says this about his music – something like “it’s not so much what the music says, it’s how it makes you feel.”  I think that’s what the guys do to us.  They make us feel, deep down feelings, that maybe once were lost.  They bring those memories, once again, to the surface.  And sometimes those feelings and emotions bring tears to our eyes, bubbling over for no apparent reason, except to maybe remind us that something as simple as a single note can evoke such joy and passion inside of us.

Yes, we are just about at the 1 week point! I cannot believe it. It still doesn’t seem real. Even with all the planning. I don’t think I’ll believe it until my feet touch the ground in Florence!  I was able to book us one more tour, as well as another meeting or two while we are there!


I booked the Vatican tour for our last day in Rome. It’s about mid-afternoon and I’m guessing lasts a few hours or so. We then will have the remainder of our day to wander and find a great place to eat, relax, and reflect on our wonderful adventure.


We are also going to try and meet up with Sara Hay (Sara Sary on FB). She is from Abruzzo area and is a professional photographer. You may have seen her FaceBook page with all of the gorgeous photos of Abruzzo and the surrounding areas. We will be meeting up with her when we go to Silvi on either that Tuesday or Wednesday. She is also the one that is posting Italian lessons! I looked at a few of them and they are really good. She was not familiar with the Flight Crew site, so I told her to check us out!


I was able to connect with her due to a special project I was working on and wanted to use one of her photos. I sent her an IM with my request and she wholeheartedly agreed to let me use the photo. She is very nice and also speaks English. So, now I have TWO new friends in Italy, besides Dani!


Most things are done – I have been busy. All tickets are purchased (plane, trains, tours), passports, itinerary mostly planned, but still need to type out all the details. I seriously think I could start my own travel agency business after this trip! Lol! Definitely will need a side job to pay for all of this!


Will probably try to start packing on the weekend. I literally have something planned after work each day this week, including through Saturday! I am also planning to get a massage on Wednesday morning before we leave and then a manicure. I want to be totally relaxed. Have them melt all my stress away!


Lorna and I still need to get our international driver’s licenses, although someone said you really don’t need one, but don’t want to take any chances. Still getting advice from lots of people. Even my boss, before he left for his trip says “be careful in Rome of the pickpockets…” Yes, I will try to be very vigilant.


Lynn K. has also been sending me some lovely links through FB messenger that I need to check out as well!


Ok, that pretty well sums it up for now. And here comes kitty! Yes, they will miss me!


A presto, Italia!1 - back cover cd 1