In the first days of August, Il Volo flew to Japan, where, after an absence of three years, three concerts were scheduled.
Before the concerts there were some interviews and appearances in programs, moreover our boys like to visit beautiful Japan and therefore Il Volo left in time for Japan.
Here are some beautiful photos of Ignazio , Gianluca and Piero in the beautiful Japanese places.
And here they are during some interviews and participation in radio and TV programs.
Nice interview of Il Volo with Italianity that we translate:
It has been more than 10 years since it debuted in its teens and has found success in the American market right from the start. The three young vocalists of Il Volo have become beautiful young people and have returned to Japan for their third performance.
They have already won many fans in Japan and around the world and responded to the interview. At the end of the article, there is a video message from Il Volo to ITALIANITY readers.
On this visit to Japan, in addition to the aforementioned performances in Japan, live footage was recorded at the World Heritage “Kiyomizu Temple” with no audience. Subsequently, the scheme will be turned into a film and will be screened in Japan and other countries around the world.
The first foreign artist in the world to perform in Kiyomizu-dera
ー ー For this visit to Japan, I heard that you will be recording live footage at the World Heritage-listed Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Please tell us what you think about this project.
Gianluca (G): I believe that the musical power of the opera Bel canto allows us to sing in such a historic and wonderful place. Perhaps it is because of the magic of Puccini’s “Nessun dorma”, the music of Maestro Morricone, and our music becomes like the soundtrack of the place. It was like this in 2016 when I performed the Concert Dedicated to the Three Tenors in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, and when we performed the concert in memory of the great maestro Ennio Morricone at the Verona Arena. We are very honored to be able to return to Japan and do our best in music. We would like to thank everyone who believed in us and we are delighted to be able to play our music in this wonderful country.
Ignazio (I): We are particularly grateful that you have chosen us as the first foreign artists to perform at Kiyomizu-dera. And I am happy that it will be a benefit concert praying for peace and freedom in this world.
ー ー This is your third visit to Japan, has your impression of Japan changed compared to the first time?
G: 2017, 2019 and 2022. Compared to when we started, we have grown a lot and to some extent got used to Japan, but I feel that Japan is a wonderful country that always surprises us and amuses us with its differences. Fortunately, we have the ability to absorb everything and even enjoy the differences in places, people, food and culture. I am happy to be with people who share the same experience. We love Japan now.
ー ー What do you want to convey to the Japanese audience this time?
I: Sure, I want to convey various things every time. Hoping to give you something different from the last time. It all comes down to our passion for music. And we want you to feel like you are in Italy. We want you to feel the culture and background of Italy at our concerts. I always have that thought in mind.
A group that sings not only the songs of the past but also the new ones
ー ー Do you have any special secrets for singing in a trio?
G: I think we have been very lucky. Because they had three different voices. All three have a different charisma. Despite these great differences, everyone had the same passion for music. When we combined three different voices with this passion, it all boiled down to our unique vocal quality.
ー ー You held a concert in memory of the great Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who passed away in 2021, and also released a studio recording album. What kind of person is Morricone to you?
I: Ennio Morricone is a true genius. It had the magical power to transcend music in movies and to convey so much more. We are very honored to have the opportunity to cover his songs with beautiful melodies.
ー ー Many of your original songs were written by famous Italian artists such as Francesco Boccia, Tommy Esposito, Francesco Renga and Gianna Nannini.
G: For us, singing new original songs alongside singing many historical songs in bel canto is an attitude that we are not just a group singing songs from the past. We are very happy that great artists provide music for a young group like us.
ー ー You have a repertoire of many covers, but is there something special about singing original songs?
I: It’s much easier to sing songs from the past. To sing a new song, you have to look for new sensations, new techniques, new feelings and so on. However, when we covered the great master Morricone, he was already dead, so we couldn’t directly ask him to teach us, so it was difficult.
ー ー When you were in your teens, you made your debut in the world of music in 2009 when you appeared on the talent show “Ti Lascio Una Canzone” for young people. What are your memories of that period?
G: All three of us were kids, and we were still young, and we just started chasing our dreams and we got our calling. I think I was very lucky. Being able to live with your passion without suffering setbacks. We only believed in our dreams, but it was like a miracle that the three of us were able to catch that dream.
ー ー Famous singer and talented producer Tony Renis and another talented producer Michele Torpedine have contributed to your expansion in the American market.
G: Yes, yes. They are the benefactors who worked hard to make our childhood dreams come true. Michele Torpedine was also a talented manager who nurtured artists such as Andrea Bocelli and Zucchero who would later become big names. We weren’t strong enough to sell a group of 15-year-olds singing non-commercial songs. But it was they who found the market for it.
I: I think the exact same thing!
ー ー At the end of the interview, please deliver a video message to ITALIANITY readers.
G= Hello everyone, we are Il Volo, there are two of us, Piero will arrive tomorrow. (Piero went to Japan a couple of days after Ignazio and Gianluca, due to his grandfather’s health condition). Piero also greets you. We send a greeting to all the readers of Italianity.
I = He said it all, see you soon in concert. Hello, Arigato Gozaimasu!
*The live recording video shot in Kiyomizu-dera will be streamed on Sunday 19th September. After that, it will be made into a worldwide movie. Details will be announced on the official website of Sony Music “Il Volo”.
And here we are at the three concerts, very few videos that have come to us and then you will also understand why, few even the photos, but something has come.
Here is the list of songs that will be sung by Il Volo. The orchestra will be conducted by Maestro Marcello Rota.
Our friends, Yukio and Kumiko, from Japan, had tickets to Taormina, but due to the closures for Covid, they couldn’t come, and they were delighted that Il Volo was going to Japan, and so not one, but all three concerts were attended.
Here is what they wrote to me:
Impressions of Il Volo’s Japan Tour
In May 2019, Il Volo left a message to Japanese fans, “we would be coming to Japan again in the following year”, but due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were not able to come to Japan.
This August, we are very happy to see them and listen to their voices after this long-awaited visit to Japan in three years.
We are also very grateful to them for traveling over 20 hours to come to Japan, as they had no choice but to take the southbound route due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This visit to Japan was marked by the first charity live concert without an audience, as a foreigner, on August 5 at Kiyomizu-dera Temple on Mt. Otowa, wishing for world peace, and following concerts in Tokyo (August 8), Osaka (August 10) and Nagoya (August 12). The Kiyomizu-dera concert will be streamed on September 18.
Concert in Tokyo
The concert in Tokyo was held at the Tokyo International Forum Hall A (about 5000 seats).
After the end of their 10 Years Anniversary, the cancellation of their performances due to COVID-19, and the memorial performance for Ennio Morricone in the meantime, their activities have been introduced on their official website, YouTube, etc. for the past three years. We were excited to listen to and see how much they have grown up over the years.
Since this July, the number of people infected with COVID-19 in Japan has increased dramatically. We thought it might make people a little hesitant to come to the venue, but it was almost full, showing how many fans had been waiting for the concert.
However, due to COVID-19 measures, strict conditions were imposed, such as the wearing of masks, no loud voices, and no gifts, etc. If anyone stood up or held up a penlight, theater attendants would fly in and warn them, giving the venue a different atmosphere.
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were probably a little confused by the masked audience and their lack of reactions, as mask-less performances are the norm in Europe.
As the lights dimmed and the stage was lit with a dark red color scheme, Piero, Ignazio, and Gianluca appeared from backstage and began to sing “The Ecstasy of Gold”, a tribute to Ennio Morricone. When Gianluca started singing, the hall was filled with thunderous applause.
Many of the songs were based on “the best of 10 years”, and were interspersed with songs dedicated to Ennio Morricone, “Se”, “Conradiana”, which was a very good selection, I think.
Between songs, they sang the Japanese song “Shiawase nara te o tatako (If you are happy, clap your hands)”; which they had learned at the previous performance, and talked to the audience, which the audience enjoyed very much. It was a pity that Caruso, which was on the program, was not sung at all the performances.
Piero has been relentlessly challenging himself as an opera singer, and his voice range has widened, giving him a beautiful voice that is balanced and effortless.
Ignazio successfully combined the contrast between the taut tenor voice that overwhelmed the audience and the soft high tones of falsetto.
Gianluca’s velvet voice seems to have changed to a deeper, thicker, more voluminous voice instead of the light sound of the past. I thought it was probably due to his muscular, macho body from his daily gym training, as can be seen from the photos uploaded on social media.
After the final encore piece, Grande Amore, the audience rushed under the stage like a wave even though they had been quiet until then. The venue staff rushed to stop them, but Piero stopped them with a loud “It’s OK”, and Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca shook hands with the fans as usual.
Concert in Osaka
The second performance was held one day after in Tokyo at the Festival Hall Osaka, which has a capacity of approximately 3,000 people. Unlike the Tokyo performance, the stage of the Festival Hall Osaka had low steps and a short distance between the audience and the stage, allowing the audience to feel a sense of unity.
The program was the same as Tokyo’s.
Before this concert, there were interview programs with Il Volo on FM broadcast stations in the Kansai area on August 3 and 4 (unfortunately, Piero did not attend). On August 5, they appeared on a TV broadcast in Kyoto, attracting the attention of the audience in the Kansai region.
The audience was in a groove from the beginning of the performance. Because people in Kansai area realized the humorous talks of them, which create a good resonance between their witty conversation and the traditional Kansai sensibility, then their singing was much better than at Tokyo. Their ceaseless talks between songs also had the same feel as Kansai’s, so Michiko-san, translator, had a hard time interpreting.
After the encore, the audience was allowed to take pictures, and after the Grande Amore, they rushed to the stage edge to shake hands with Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, which was a usual scene at such performances.
Concert In Nagoya
Aichi Arts Center Concert Hall (1,800 seats) Nagoya is located between Tokyo and Osaka, where cultural performances are scarce and audiences often travel to Tokyo or Osaka.
This was Il Volo’s first time to perform in this area, and although I had heard that tickets were not selling well, the venue was more than 80% full by the time the performance began. Unlike other venues, there were audience seats in the back of the stage, and the acoustics were very good compared to others, allowing the audience to enjoy the voices of each Il Volo member.
The small size of the venue also made it easy to convey the audience’s sensibilities, making it the second-best performance following the Osaka concert.
During the encore at the end of the show, as in Osaka, photographs were allowed and the usual offstage contact with the audience took place.
It was a great pleasure to hear the three singers up close and in tune with each other. Many thanks to Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca.
Love from Japan.
Kumi and Yukio
Now, Kumico explains to us the importance of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, where Il Volo recorded a concert that will be broadcast via streaming in favor of world peace.
Here is a brief introduction to Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, excerpted from what is described on the temple’s website in Japanese.
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Website – Click Here
The temple was built about 1,250 years ago, and was registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites “Cultural Properties of Ancient Kyoto” in 1994.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is famous for its “stage” which extends out from the main hall and is approximately 13 meters high. The current stage was rebuilt in 1633.
There is a Japanese proverb, “Jump off the stage at Kiyomizu”. It is a phrase that expresses the seriousness and determination required to jump off the stage of the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is perched on a sheer cliff.
The fact that this performance started at Kiyomizu-dera Temple may mean that they started the performance with a serious determination.
Beautiful experience of the Il Volo concerts in Japan.
The Japanese public, despite the limitations and impositions, was very numerous and loving, even challenging the strict rules imposed in order to see, adopt and interact with Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero.
Thanks Japan and thanks to Yukio and Kumico for the nice description of the concerts.