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 Mio and 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!
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 Trend on 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 phenomenal a 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 penso which 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!
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Credit to owners of all photos and video.