Tag Archives: Metropolitan Opera

Bel Canto by Susan

Two years ago, I wrote a story about the history of music in Naples in order for the fans to understand why the guys sing Opera, in their case Operatic pop or popera and Neapolitan songs and why their Bel Canto worked!
This story is really two stories in one. It’s about Il Volo and their music, and it is about where their music came from and the people who made this music famous. Ironically, many of these people had a lot in common with Il Volo.

So, let’s journey back to Naples in the 15th and 16th century and see how this all began….
Italy is an emotion and in the center of that emotion is a passion and that passion is Naples. Naples is like no other place in Italy or, for that matter, no other place in the world. Neapolitans are the most diversified people in all of Italy. Naples is a feeling you can never shake but, above all…
Naples is music!
Neapolitan Music is very much a part of Naples culture but, its origins are obscure. In the 15th and 16th century Neapolitans sang canzonetta, which were light-hearted melodies. Among the most common styles of Neapolitan canzonetta is villanella, a three-voice, A cappella way of singing. The first villanella score was printed in 1537. As a result, Neapolitan music became famous not only in Naples, but everywhere in Europe. At the end of the 1700’s, composers began incorporating these songs into comic operas.
In the mid 1800’s Naples began to see a new movement in music. In 1835 a new song “Te Voglio Bene Assaje” appeared. This song is considered to be the first modern Italian song.
“Te Voglio Bene Assaje” ~ The trio le Note di Napoli        Voice: Francesco Delli Paoli ~ Guitar: Roberto Castagna ~ Mandolino: Bruno de Rosa

The first “hit” may date back to 1835 but the golden age of song, in Naples, was from 1890 – 1910 when immigration to America began. Men left with the dream of a better life but what they found was even harder than what they left. They left their homes and families, and, in some cases, they never went home again. They found themselves alone with nothing but their music. Many Neapolitan songs were written about these times. Most of these immigrants lived in New York City in lower Manhattan in an area which became known as Little Italy. Small music companies would put on one act plays. Little vignettes. The stories were always the same, they were about home and family. They were about the mother they would never see again.
Torna A Surriento ~ Enrico Caruso

In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Caruso’s debut on November 23, 1903, was in a new production of Rigoletto. A few months later, he began his lifelong association with the Victor Talking Machine Company. He made his first American record on February 1st, 1904, having signed a lucrative financial deal with Victor. Thereafter, his recording career ran in tandem with his Met career, both bolstering each other, until his death in 1921.
Torna A Surriento ~ Not Caruso! Actually, the version I prefer!

Caruso was the first international singer to come to America. He introduced America to Italian Music. He loved to sing Neapolitan songs and they were so popular that when he performed at the MET at the end of the show he would come out and sing Neapolitan songs. Among these songs were “’O sole Mio,” “Torna Sorrento” and “Santa Lucia.” As a result, Neapolitan songs became a part of an opera singer’s repertoire and every opera singer after Caruso would sing opera and Neapolitan songs.
Music in Naples remained the same until after World War I.
In 1920, the government devised a way to get taxes from singers. The result of this movement caused the artist to devise a new way of singing and thus, sceneggiata was born.
After World War I, the Italian government increased the taxes on variety shows, thus causing many authors to devise a mixed type of show that would complement songs with dramatic acting, in order to circumvent such taxes. In other words, if they told a story, within a song, which was story, then you would not have to pay the variety tax. So, sceneggiata is a story within a story. Sceneggiata can be roughly described as a “musical soap opera”, where action and dialogue are interspersed with Neapolitan songs. Plots revolve around melodramatic themes drawing from the Neapolitan culture and tradition. Songs and dialogue were in Neapolitan dialect. This movement stayed around until the 1940s when all hell broke loose!
With the arrival of US troops in World War II, Naples woke up to a new beat. The US troops introduced them to the buzz and rhythm of jazz and boogie, and Naples immediately liked it. It took little time for performers and songwriters to understand how these new US imports could benefit them. It was time for a new name to appear in Neapolitan music. Enter, Renato Carosone. Carosone introduced Naples to music they could dance to and so Naples got up and danced and never looked back until the late 1970s when a new movement was started in Naples.
I would not do Neapolitan Music or Il Volo justice if I didn’t mention Pino Daniele.
Pino Daniele was an Italian singer-songwriter, and guitarist, whose influences covered a wide number of genres, including pop, blues, jazz, and Italian and Middle Eastern music.
Daniele made his debut in the Italian music world in 1977 with the album Terra mia, which was a successful mix of Neapolitan tradition and Blues. Daniele defined his music with the term “tarumbò”, which indicated a mix of tarantella, blues and rumba. His lyrics attracted critical praise. Written and sung in an intense Neapolitan, they contained strong and bitter accusations against the social injustices of Naples, as well as Italian society in general, and included melancholic personal themes.
Daniele’s talent is evident in albums like Pino Daniele (1979) but, he scored his greatest success in 1980, with “Nero a metà,” which was noted by some authorities as the hallmark of the rebirth of Neapolitan song.

Daniele wrote and sang his own music, and this music was known in America. In 2010, Daniele, a self-taught guitarist, was called by his friend Eric Clapton to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. Due to the number of artists who appeared, Clapton was not able to perform with Daniele so, he called Daniele to play at Toyota Park in Chicago where they were able to play together. In 2011, Daniele and Clapton had a concert at Cava de’ Tirreni stadium.
I started this piece by saying Italy is an emotion and Naples a passion. If Naples is a passion, that passion was Pino Daniele. Songs like Napulè, Quando and Quando Chiove are just a few examples of his songs. Examples I chose because I know you know these songs. They are very deep passionate songs. Many artists have sung Daniele’s songs but in order to do justice to a Pino Daniele song you have to bring passion, emotion and Neapolitan dialect to the song.
Enter Ignazio Boschetto….
Napulè ~ Not Pino Daniele. Sorry Pino love your music but there’s another guy who owns this song!

Ignazio’s tribute to Daniele is amazing and emotional.

A few days ago, I posted “Alleria” sung by Ignazio. I did this so I could see how you would react to it. I was not in the least bit surprised with your reaction. Many said it was a beautiful emotional song. Some said it brought them to tears and many said I don’t understand the language but, I can truly feel the song.
Daniele’s songs are very deep and very emotional, and you can feel the depth of the song because of the presentation of the song. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it’s as if Daniele wrote his songs for Ignazio.

Let’s look back a moment to see how our guys fit into the picture I presented here. Well, we know they sing opera, and we know they sing Neapolitan songs. Why? Remember what I said about Enrico Caruso. Every opera singer after Caruso would sing opera and Neapolitan songs. As a result, Neapolitan songs became a part of an opera singer’s repertoire and that includes Il Volo.

But do we see any other similarities here?
20th Century ~ The year is 1903 – Enrico Caruso comes to America at the turn of the century. He brings with him a new kind of music. The music changes Americas way of viewing Italian music. To Americans, Italian music was opera. But now, they have Caruso singing Neapolitan songs at the MET. A few months later, he begins his lifelong association with the Victor Talking Machine Company. He made his first American record on February 1st, 1904, having signed a deal with Victor Talking Machine company. Thereafter, his recording career ran in tandem with his Met career, both bolstering each other, until his death in 1921.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Fast forward 100 years to the 21st century.
The year is 2009 Il Volo signs a major contract with Universal Music. They come to America where their music immediately catches on and causes a revolution in the music industry. Over the next ten years they sell out every American Concert. All their albums and concerts are a tremendous success. And their success is from singing Opera and Neapolitan songs.  Thereafter, their recording career runs in tandem with their Concert career, both bolstering each other.
Did I read that wrong or did Caruso and Il Volo do exactly the same thing in two different centuries? Did history repeat itself?

So here we are in 2009 and music is about to be revolutionized. Three teenage boys are the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract with a major American music label. This was unheard of! No international artist or group ever captured the ear of an American music label before even stepping foot in America! When they came to America, they had a signed Universal Music contract in hand!

They presented Operatic pop or popera to America. What is this new movement? It’s singing Opera in a more classical style. While opera is very strict and regimented, popera is more ethereal it has a lighter feeling, and it moves freely. It takes away the hard edges of opera and replaces it with a more ethereal feel while still presenting the drama and the high notes of the opera. It has a more popular appeal. This along with the classical Neapolitan songs become a big draw. Why did it work? One reason is three amazing voices! If the voice wasn’t there the song wasn’t going to sell.

When I’m writing these pieces, I do a lot of research and I watch a lot of videos. And this is what I found. I looked at videos of the promos the boys did, for their albums. They were 16 – 17 years old and I found many 14 – 16-year-olds at these promos. I saw teenage girls and boys singing opera and Italian songs. They liked it because the music is easy and catchy and, they pick it up very easily. And more importantly, the guys are very attractive and likeable. The young girls love them not just because they are very handsome be because they can relate to them. They were 16 – 17 years old and they were telling these young kids we love this music, and you can too. And they did and still do! Once the kids were sold the parents followed. Who wouldn’t want their kids singing this music? In turn the parents found it just as pleasing. As to the grandmothers they were the ones who were fainting over these attractive young men. I know an 84-year-old woman who has their picture hanging in her bedroom and she tells me their music saved her life after her husband died. Her kids think she’s crazy. I think she’s happy!

So, let’s continue on this amazing journey.
The albums keep coming, the success keeps coming and the boys have grown into fine attractive young men. And now they’re ready for a new experience. The music evolves and they are ready to crossover. In 2018 they released one of the most exciting Latin albums to come out in years. I would go so far as to say Amame is the most exciting Latin album that was ever produced. It’s opera, its rock, it’s classical, it’s pop and it never stops giving. The rhythm in songs like “Noche Sin Dia” is amazing. You have to move with the music. You can’t sit still.

Songs like “Maldito Amor” is a phenomenal experience for your ears. The delivery is smooth and beautiful. It’s one of those songs that stays with you forever. This album is so exciting that I will not play it while I’m working because from the first note you have to get up and dance. Exciting! Exciting! Exciting! I thought about this album the other day and how I would write about it. These three amazing guys absolutely floored me. The beat is so intense and, they are spot on. I think the guys knocked it out of the box with “Noche Sin Dia.” With Latin music you don’t just sing it, you feel it and if you don’t feel it, you don’t cut it. This album cuts it! Good move!

As if that wasn’t enough, they follow up with Musica!
This is the album that proved that great can get greater. This album is representative of where these young men are now. It’s beautiful, it’s sensitive, it’s romantic. It’s about love. It’s about them being ready for love. It comes from deep within them. All the sweetness and humility of these guys is in this album. It moves your senses. What I am saying is they have evolved and, their voices have evolved. They’ve grown into their voices. Their voices are mature and have expanded in such an amazing way. There’s an intriguing balance in their voices. To experience this amazing evolution in voice and song you need go no further than “Be My Love.” Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes which lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe. This is Musica che resta!
I wasn’t able to talk about all the albums here. But I need to include Il Volo sings Morricone because this is another new direction in their lives. No, they have not left Bel Canto behind, instead, they have moved forward and added Morricone’s music to their repertoire.
This project started with their desire to pay tribute to Ennio Morricone. What better way than to present an album of his Academy Award winning songs.

Morricone died at the beginning of the COVID pandemic and because of this, it gave the guys the opportunity to go through his songs and compile a list of songs that would give a true representation of who Morricone was. In the beginning of their career, the guys sang “E Più Ti Penso” accompanied by Ennio Morricone.

Most of Morricone songs where movie theme songs like “The Ecstasy of Gold” from “The Good, the Bad and, the Ugly.”  The guys along with the Morricone’s family and in particular Andrea Morricone put words to music to form an album which has become the theme of their new World Tour, “IL Volo Sings Morricone.” The tour begins on June 3rd in the Verona Arena.

There are so many wonderful songs in this album that it is hard to single one out. “The Ecstasy of Gold” is Gianluca’s favorite. “Se” from Cinema Paradiso is Piero’s favorite and “Here’s to You” from Sacco & Venzetti is Ignazio’s favorite.

My favorite, all of them, but if I really have to choose, I will say for personal reasons, “Come Sail Away.”

So, I have only touched on a small portion of their albums, but in future stories I will go deeper into each album. Til then, keep in mind “Bel Canto” is and always will be their signature but there is always room for new and exciting musical experiences.
Below is a beautiful movie that actor, John Turturro directed and stared in. It is the history of music in Naples over the last century.
In the movie you see performances by many artists you know including Mina, James Senese, Massimo Ranieri and Lina Sastri.
It is so worth watching for the rhythm and beauty in it! It seems everyone in Naples has rhythm and every Neapolitan has a song on his lips.  The movie ends with Pino Daniele singing “Napulè.” A song we all know thanks to Ignazio and his tribute to Pino Daniele.  Through this song and Turturro’s images, we can see all the beauty and rawness of Naples and it leads us to think, is Naples about the people or are the people Naples? This is not Naples coming to life. This is Naples!
Turturro is the narrator, so aside from the songs, it is in English. Enjoy!

Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
Credit to the owners of photos and videos

PORTA A PORTA 2022 AND OTHER NEWS by Daniela

This episode of Porta a Porta was supposed to air in February, but due to the war in Ukraine it has always been postponed.
Last week, with no ads and no announcements, it aired after midnight. Here is the episode and what has been said.
Please click on the photo below to view the video.

Porta a Porta show

VESPA = We are approaching Eurovision, in Turin, the great music festival, and we are going there, remembering Il Volo, the boys of Il Volo, which we baptized here more than 10 years ago.
Let’s open this segment with the guys from Il Volo who will come here, in the studio, with us, and with this clip, Il Volo introduces itself.
(begins a video that traces many moments of Il Volo’s career. Immediately after, Il Volo, in the studio, sings “SE”).
Il Volo, celebrates more than 10 years of success at Porta a Porta. Piero Barone, 29 years old, Ignazio Boschetto, 28 years old, and the plague, Gianluca Ginoble, the worst of all, who runs away, cannot be found, is undisciplined, messy  😁(he says it in a benevolent tone), but he is only 27 years old that we have to do??
GIANLUCA= I’m the youngest, by the way I just turned 27, just last week. 
IGNAZIO= He is the smallest! (Maybe he also says it in a double sense, he also means height) 😁
PIERO = So, I’m the oldest at the table.
VESPA = Madonna, how old are you.
IGNAZIO = Can we sit down?
VESPA = Sure.
PIERO = Bruno, what did I tell you a little while ago?
VESPA + PIERO = The promises are kept. (They had promised to return soon to Porta a Porta)
VESPA = Look, I know it takes a long time . We love you so much, you love us so much, we have brought each other luck ….
PIERO = This program brings good luck, you were the first to invite us and tell everything we were doing outside (means outside Italy).
IGNAZIO = I can say that your program and you were the first person and the first (Italian) program who believed in us, and never took us for granted. We always have Porta a Porta and you in our hearts.
VESPA = Thanks, thanks, thanks.
After two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, who would have said it would last that long, seven thousand people sent home to Los Angeles (he refers to the canceled concerts) and now, go home and then in June ….
PIERO = Exactly, we will start in May from Japan (they didn’t go, I remind you that this episode was recorded in February), in June there will be concerts in Italy, we start from the Arena di Verona, 3 and 4 and maybe … . (implies that there might have been another date) ….
IGNAZIO = Yes, because we have been postponing it for two years
PIERO = Two years, and it seems that we are finally leaving…
VESPA = How many concerts in Italy?
PIERO = In Italy, there will be more or less 15 concerts, I don’t know exactly it’s all in the planning phase.
VESPA = And then instead in autumn: United States …..
PIERO = Autumn: September US, South America will follow and we will return to Japan, then concerts in Europe, we have to recover two years of work.
VESPA = There are many people waiting for you.
Well, we first heard “SE”, taken from the movie “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”, now we listen to “Ecstasy of Gold” beautiful music by Morricone …
IGNAZIO = Then we also have Clint Eastwood here in the studio (he jokes referring to Gianluca, applause)
GIANLUCA = You two are targeting me, I understand.
VESPA = You have to go straight (a way of saying to be good)
GIANLUCA = I’m going straight, I’m the most restless one, right?
VESPA = Let’s hear these guys (Ecstasy of gold video starts).

This splendid video was filmed in Sardinia, “Il Volo Sings Morricone”, released on November 5th and distributed all over the world. But now we have to go back nine years, you are celebrating 10 years.
IGNAZIO = Yes, we have been celebrating this for two years now (laughter).😁
GIANLUCA = The celebrations never stopped.
VESPA = But you were just out, remember, we took you that you were in swaddling clothes, very small.
GIANLUCA = We have always been a little kids, now almost men.
VESPA = You were kids on December 17, 2013.
PIERO = We were here.
VESPA = Here, at Porta a Porta, let’s see. (a video of Porta a Porta starts and the boys sing “Un Amore così Grande”)
You were really little, and you had already been to America, however, you came from America.
IGNAZIO = We came from America. I remember.
PIERO = What is 2017?
VESPA + IGNAZIO = 2013
VESPA = (Turning to Piero) You looked the youngest, you looked really small, small …
PIERO = I didn’t have a beard, that tuft, a little restyling was done.
GIANLUCA = Before, when we were a little younger,  people liked us , because we were child prodigies, in short, who sang with a different voice than our peers, we dressed a little like “grown-ups”.
Today it’s the other way around, see? (touches his beardless face) Today one takes off his beard and wants to look younger.
IGNAZIO = You take off your beard because you want to look younger. 😁
PIERO = He must always speak in the plural.😁
GIANLUCA = As a child you want to look older, do you see how we were dressed? We were dressed in our thirties there.
VESPA = Can I tell you something? Only once in my life did I feel old … who knows why at 27, at your age (talk to Gianluca)
GIANLUCA = Is it true?
VESPA = You saw, we had the same feeling, and now you are rejuvenated.
GIANLUCA = You can see that at 27 we Abruzzo feel “old”.
VESPA = At 27 we hear it and then we don’t !!
PIERO = The crisis of the 27th year.
VESPA = Yes, the 27th year crisis. (laughter) 😁
So, you then moved on to the theme songs of the television novels.
PIERO = For this you have to talk to Ignazio.
VESPA = Ignazio !
IGNAZIO = But I’ve always had a passion for writing music, I was in Sicily, and I remember I was sitting on the veranda, and the melody came out. So I carried it on and Makari was born.
VESPA = But during Covid?
IGNAZIO = Yes, it was that summer that seemed ….
VESPA = …. that things would return to normal?
IGNAZIO = Yes, like baby candy, right?😁
VESPA = Exactly.
IGNAZIO = And then I found myself writing this melody, and then, with Danilo Ciotti, our collaborator, we presented this song to the Palomar family, who are the producers of Makari, and so it all started.
VESPA = And it went well, let’s hear it. (begins the video of the song Makari)

And good Ignazio!
IGNAZIO = Thanks.
VESPA = Five million viewers!
IGNAZIO = Oh yes.
VESPA = It went really well.
What did you three do during the two years of Covid?
(he turns to Gianluca)
What have you done?
IGNAZIO = He took off his beard! 😁
GIANLUCA = But no!  We decided not to live them passively, trying to stimulate creativity. I learned a little to play the piano, I accompanied  me while I sang, it was my wish.
Then I studied acting a little. We reinvented ourselves, we thought of new projects. Morricone’s project was born thanks to two years of silence.
VESPA = (he turns to Ignazio)
And what about you?
IGNAZIO= You think, I lost weight in the pandemic, and then I gained weight, when everything was sorted out (I think he meant that he had lost weight around the time of his father’s passing away). 
I found love.❤ I studied a lot in the studio, and I improved.
VESPA = Did love distract you a lot?
IGNAZIO = Absolutely not!
VESPA = Did the love train you? Has it invigorated you?
It makes you dream, breathe ….
IGNAZIO = Love is beautiful when it makes you feel good, I’m fine. 😘
GIANLUCA(to Vespa)
You know it’s nice to see you in this role, I don’t see you asking about Meloni’s love (she is a political representative) (Gianluca means that: Porta a Porta is a program that deals with many topics, even political ones, often guests are politicians and they are not asked about their loves, of course) 😁
VESPA = You rather, you sentimentally, how are you doing?
GIANLUCA = I’m in love, I found love too last year, on the red carpet of the Venice Film Festival, think, what a story, like a fairy tale, do you realize? ❤
VESPA = Mamma mia! (and then turns to Piero)
IGNAZIO = Piero never talks (about the subject of love)
VESPA = I don’t want to invade privacy
PIERO = I like privacy, I prefer to live it for myself.
VESPA = …. live it for yourself, so is there a story? ….
PIERO = I mean my private life, for me my private life remains private ….
IGNAZIO(he comes to his friend’s rescue by trying to change the subject) Morricone was a great project, we worked hard 😁😁😁
VESPA = Look at these (Ignazio and Gianluca) talking.
What happened during Morricone?
IGNAZIO = Look, I’m perhaps the wrong person if you want to know something, I have a concrete stomach.
PIERO = About what?
IGNAZIO = On private lives, our gossips.
PIERO = In these two years we have had more time at our disposal, we have always had a hectic life, we have committed all our energies to Ennio Morricone’s project because you know, facing this world requires a lot of study, a lot of research and many thanks to the family of Ennio Morricone.
We have to thank his son, Andrea Morricone, also a great conductor, we had great support from him, he was like our compass, the world of Ennio Morricone is infinite and thanks to our producers and our team we have created Il Volo Sings Morricone, we also gave you vinyl for Christmas….
VESPA = Beautiful, beautiful, thank you!
PIERO = ….. we are delighted to have given voice to Morricone’s melodies, hoping that people are satisfied.
IGNAZIO = Can I add a little thing? At the beginning, perhaps we did not have a great knowledge of Ennio Morricone’s culture.
Once we thought about carrying on this thought, this idea, we immediately began to study, to understand who Morricone really was, because we had the opportunity to meet him in 2010, when we recorded our first album, and we had the opportunity to share the stage with him in 2011, but now we were more interested in understanding who he was and when we entered his world it was like taking a dip in a pool full of culture and emotions, full of feelings who always have something in store for you, it’s hard to explain!
VESPA = Now let’s see a video about who the three guys from Il Volo are all the way through.
Come on.
IGNAZIO = Help!
(part of a video with images of Il Volo a Porta a Porta)
In the video:
WOMAN’S VOICE = It’s been 10 years since Ignazio Boschetto, Piero Barone and Gianluca Ginoble came to visit us for the first time in Porta a Porta, at the dawn of their success.
Ten years in which Il Volo reached unimaginable heights, first, the enormous success in the US, with the invitation of Quincy Jones at the concert for Haiti, with stars of the caliber of Barbra Streisand, Bono and Lady Gaga, the transmission of Hellen De Generes and the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center.
Then the consecration in Italy with the victory at the Sanremo Festival in 2015, a real triumph, so much so that Grande Amore, reaches 110 million views worldwide (now there are over 215 million views), and drags the trio to third place in the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest, where they are the most voted by the public.
That year we also accompanied them to New York, touching on their popularity, their kindness, their uncommon values, namely: bel canto, family, principles, sobriety, education and respect, especially among themselves, nothing that is taken for granted nowadays.
In the span of a decade they bring the Italian classics all over the world, modernizing them, without upsetting them, it is the boys in sneakers who sing Nessun Dorma and O Sole Mio, to use their words.
They also have the honor of singing in front of Pope Francis and over a million people in Panama on the occasion of World Youth Day.
Even during the health emergency, they continue to make all their fans feel the warmth, participating in the most important international streaming reviews, with a great sense of community and responsibility.
And now, as a sign of rebirth and hope, their world tour is about to start, 110 dates around the world, to celebrate their first 10 extraordinary years of career, an eagerly awaited reunion with the public, to continue to proudly bring Italy and its beauty around the world.
VESPA = We have taken the baton from Aunt Antonella, Antonella Clerici, (Ti Lascio Una Canzone).
GIANLUCA = We greet you with great affection.
VESPA = With great affection.
But you, when did you get together?
IGNAZIO = We met on that TV show, (Ti Lascio Una Canzone), we didn’t know each other before ….
VESPA = Where did you go to sing separately ….
IGNAZIO = We met for the auditions in Rome, in via dei Gracchi.
VESPA = Via dei Gracchi, but each one had gone on his own.
IGNAZIO = Yes, yes! Then in Sanremo, which was where the broadcast took place, we met and in the fourth episode we sang together for the first time (25/04/2009).
PIERO = …. O Sole Mio.
IGNAZIO = … yes, O Sole Mio.
PIERO = Excuse me.
IGNAZIO = But calculate that Gianluca, we couldn’t see him.
VESPA = Was Gianluca terrible?
IGNAZIO = Do you know when you create small groups at school of the normal ones, the quiet ones and the cool ones? 😁
He was part of the cool, but it showed (applause and laughter), then in the end he came in our way, understood!
VESPA = He has converted.
IGNAZIO = And so it all started from there.
VESPA(to Gianluca) But why are they talking about you like that?
IGNAZIO = Because we love him after all, at the bottom, at the bottom …..😘
GIANLUCA = ….. but at the very bottom 😁.
But that was our strength right from the start, did you understand? (to be united). Not only artistically, it was the first time that children sang O Sole Mio.
But then I like to see these videos and remember those moments, because Bel Canto allows you to perform in unique places, but above all to support yourself in projects like Morricone, like in Placido Domingo, like the Maestro Vittorio Storaro who accompanied us on this adventure. We have the honor, at our age, to join these names in cinema and music.
VESPA = Then I will ask you to sing a piece of O Sole Mio, sitting here, so a cappella …
IGNAZIO = If Barone says yes, that’s fine !! 😁
VESPA = Is he the boss?
IGNAZIO = Yes yes, (he jokes) see how he is placed with his arms folded …..
PIERO = I’m listening!
I link to what you were saying, seeing these old videos is really exciting, but on a daily basis it is difficult to find the stimulus and clearly find ideas on what to do. We sang in front of the Pope ….. and now what do we do? And I must tell you that it is a team effort, especially with our manager Torpedine, Mr. Torpedine, he is the mind of this group, and now a little while ago we were looking at the images of last Christmas, we sang three songs in St. Peter’s Square , this year we did it from the Frasassi Caves, a magical place.
VESPA = You will go to Bethlehem.
PIERO = And next year, we are working, by now we are at a good point … (he looks at Torpedine to have approval of the news he is saying)
IGNAZIO = We are checking in.
PIERO = We will sing in front of the grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem and all this, we must say, also thanks to the support of the Undersecretary for Culture, for whom in November, we will sing in the world meeting of ministers of culture.
VESPA = Beautiful, very beautiful.
PIERO = Yes, I have to tell you that they are very beautiful things.
IGNAZIO = Can I say something? I want to reach out more to young people, to those who, like us, try to send their message. Nowadays it is very easy to arrive, with social networks, with the internet, it is very easy.
VESPA = The problem is to stay.
IGNAZIO = The problem is to stay, and in any case we always tell everything we have done, because we are very proud and grateful ….
PIERO = Do you have an itchy mustache?
IGNAZIO = No, it helps me to think. 😁
PIERO = Ah, ok !!
IGNAZIO = …… and we are very grateful for everything that has happened to us, but in recent years it has not been all roses and flowers, there are moments …..
VESPA = When was the most difficult moment?
IGNAZIO = There are moments in an artist’s career where difficulties come, in our case it was in 2014, when L’Universal did not …..
PIERO = Clearly there has been a change between one record company and another, and therefore there have been three or four months of “darkness”, but I remember that our manager was very good at hiding this from us, we didn’t live in that period of anxiety, he was:  ”Yes, yes, don’t worry, everything is fine, tomorrow I have a meeting”. Instead there was nothing.
IGNAZIO = This is to make it clear that yes, today it is very easy to get there, but maintaining oneself, building oneself, sacrifices, is all very important …
VESPA = When you were little I used to tell you:
“Guys down to earth”.
IGNAZIO = Absolutely ….
VESPA = Never mount your head, NEVER, when you think you are something more, already what you are is already a lot, always fly low low ….. (Vespa is referring to not being full of oneself)
IGNAZIO = I wanted to say it here.
VESPA = I don’t remember, what happened in Sanremo in 2015!
IGNAZIO = What happened?
VESPA = Bho! Let’s see for a moment! (the video of Grande Amore in Sanremo starts). (At some point the video loses audio due to a problem raised by the composer).
VESPA(He turns to Ignazio).
Now you do it again (the final note and Ignazio does it)
(Ring the bell, enter Vittorio Storaro on the show.)
VESPA = We have to greet a great person: Vittorio Storaro.
Vittorio, it’s a great pleasure to have you here, thank you.
Three Oscars, please take a seat. You can take off the mask.
STORARO = Now it can be done, respecting the distances, the rules and the possibility of being careful, not only with the vaccine, but also with the distances and the embrace of well-vaccinated friends.
IGNAZIO = But that’s why I’m away from Gianluca, for nothing else. 😁 (he jokes)
GIANLUCA = He (Ignazio) is angry with me, he is angry with me master …
STORARO = He (Gianluca) has a great energy, it is the energy that we have that usually brings the affections too. But be careful not to lose it, with the distance.
IGNAZIO = In what sense?
GIANLUCA = You have to be careful.
IGNAZIO = No, no, I am like a magnet for him, we attract the two of us.
VESPA = Vittorio Storaro won three Oscars (photography award), 1980 for Frencis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, 1982 for Beatty’s Reds and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor in 1988.
Beyond these awards, even we reporters who have approached the cameras a few times, looking at the light of Vittorio Storaro, already looking at it, we have learned something.
We learned what is beautiful and what is ugly, and what is beautiful, you did it. And this was truly a great lesson.
STORARO = All this comes from the great studies of Hippocrates who studied the elements of life, the natural elements that arrived on our body, on our organism.
We see light, not only with the eyes, but with the whole body, we are a sensitive plate. Light is visible energy and therefore it reaches us with a certain frequency, and the more it touches us, the more it excites us.
VESPA = So ….. what do you have to do with Vittorio Storaro? What have you done together?
PIERO = The moment before I met Storaro, I wasn’t sure whether to give him the you, the her, or the you or theirs, I wanted to give theirs (he means that he was in awe of respect for Storaro), but we have one thing in common, we were born on the same day, different year, the 24th of June ….
STORARO = We are Cancer (zodiac sign).
PIERO = Maestro Storaro, before being a great artist is a great person, he transmitted so much, so much wisdom, and so much art to us and we have to thank him because, you know, sharing his experience, his art, his being, with three boys of 27 or 28 years, it is not obvious, it does not happen every day.
VESPA = You have put together Morricone’s music, the images of Storaro, Oscar winner …
IGNAZIO = Yes, because we have been trying to collaborate with Maestro Storaro for years and we never managed to find a just cause, deep and sincere, with great significance and this year, that is last year, that moment has come, it has come  that idea.
VESPA = So let’s see this clip, Il Volo in the Caves …..
STORARO = Can I explain first a moment? Is useful.
VESPA = You’re welcome.
STORARO = It is true what Ignazio says, I had two Don Abbondio (he means two people who wanted to do this project … Don Abbondio is the character of the Promessi Sposi, a novel by Manzoni). Michele Torpedine called me, wrote to me every now and then to invite me to their concerts, he said, at least you know each other, it would be nice to make a video together.
While they were in Verona, I was in New York with Woody Allen, they went to New York, and I was always with Woody Allen in Spain or so on.
Then there was Maurizio Tosoroni who is the person in charge of the Frasassi Caves who asked me and Francesca (daughter of Storaro) who you know well, if we could conceive with modern technologies, and with a different creativity, that beautiful lighting they have the Frasassi Caves, which in this period of Covid were totally dark, totally closed and told me: “Why don’t we think about a project?”
The two Don Abbondio got together, they called me and I began to rehearse with lights, which we created together with Francesca related to the arts, because there was a phrase that struck me from our minister of culture, Dario Franceschini, that it is right to follow all the scientific warnings, medicines, vaccines, distances, masks, but if we add the energy, the creativity of the arts, maybe we can help so that everything can come back to life in a certain way.
VESPA = Of course, music and art give us hope, they help us to find the light.
STORARO = Do you understand? Also because we conceived the lights with Francesca, also linked to the muses, that is to the arts, and then I thought: “What can I do, with the trio Il Volo, inside the Frasassi Caves” and reminding me that they had told me that it was the fiftieth anniversary of the year in which three young speleologists descending from a hole with a rope, had discovered this incredible archaeological site among the best in the world, with the three of them (Il Volo) we reconstruct, not in a realistic way, but in a symbolic way, because they cannot go down with the suit and then sing, but in a tuxedo, and therefore in a symbolic way we have reconstructed the descent of the three , one at a time, first Gianluca, then Piero, then Ignazio, and little by little one descends, the light begins to rise …
VESPA = How wonderful! Let’s see it.
STORARO = Wait, I say one last thing. Only when Gianluca begins to sing, then Piero and then Ignazio, are together, they are like a seed that fertilizes mother earth and regenerates, and the trio becomes another trio, two trios, ten trios, one hundred trios, one thousand trios, none , one hundred thousand by Pirandello (Italian author). This was the creative energy of Il Volo.
VESPA = Well, let’s see it now. (The full video made in the Frasassi Caves begins.)

How wonderful!! Really what a treat !!
Beautiful beautiful beautiful.
STORARO= Nothing is random.
I have made 7 films with Ennio Morricone, and 10 films with Bernardo Bertolucci, and coincidentally this song comes from the film that the subject was written by Bernardo Bertolucci. I remember when I came here to say goodbye to Bernardo with you, and I told you about the possibility that I made him a promise, to restore and preserve all 10 films we made together, and I’m doing it now in the Cinecittà laboratory, with very modern technologies and with the possibility that these icons can last indefinitely.
VESPA = How wonderful!
Bravo, bravo Vittorio, also for this.
GIANLUCA=  I wanted to say that for us, our greatest goal is also to bring the beauties of our country. The Frasassi Caves, deserve to be, as they are already known all over the world, but even more so.
This was the perfect soundtrack, it was a wonderful experience in a magical place and living it with Maestro Storaro was even more so. It was truly an honor to be able to work together.
VESPA = Speaking of magical places, well, Santa Croce, in Florence (Notte Magica), but who would have thought it, direct by Placido Domingo.
PIERO = That was a great evening.
VESPA = Florence 2016 (The Magic Night video starts)

You didn’t have time to meet our friend Luciano Pavarotti.
IGNAZIO = Unfortunately not.
VESPA = In my opinion he would have put his hand on your shoulder, he was a person of absolute generosity who was really looking for, he was looking for new talents.
PIERO = This evening, the evening in Florence in Santa Croce, Tribute to the three Tenors, we had, in some way, the support from the three, because the maestro Placido Domingo directed the orchestra, but the Pavarotti foundation supported this idea because Nicoletta Mantovani (Pavarotti’s wife) gave the okay and said these very words: “The master would have liked this project”.
VESPA = Yes, absolutely yes.
VESPA = So, 2019, so these are the last things before Covid, at the Bolshoi Theater …
PIERO = To the Moscow Bolshoi
VESPA = La Traviata.
PIERO = Beautiful.
IGNAZIO = I was terribly ill, I had a fever that evening.
VESPA = Did you sing with a fever?
IGNAZIO = Yes, but I’m strong!
VESPA = Go, go. (The video of La Traviata starts)

So, (he turns to Piero) we went to New York together, we went to another big theater, the Metropolitan, do you remember?
PIERO = Yes.
VESPA = I don’t know if you remember, the room was empty, you and I were sitting next to you and I said to you:
“But when you grow up, what do you want to do?”
Was it your dream, does that still remain?
PIERO = Yes, in these two years, especially in the last 6 months I have studied a lot, I’m still studying, because you know very well how much study it takes. Just yesterday I did two and a half hours of lesson on Verdi, La Traviata.
VESPA = I have been to the Bolshoi with Riccardo Muti (well-known conductor), with the Friendship Concerts, and I assure you that if there is one who slaughters singers it was him.
PIERO = Mamma mia!
VESPA = Now it is no longer used, the masters have no desire or time, but before, a great singer always had his teacher who always kept him in the studio. You have to study a lot, every day.
IGNAZIO = I too, yesterday I did a two and a half hour session of the “tagliata (typical meat), I was very focused! (laughs) 😁😁😁
Sorry for the joke!
VESPA = He is always disheveled, undisciplined, the one who arrives late. Where is Gianluca!
GIANLUCA = This is what the two of them make you believe!
But it is nice that we are a group, but we continue to cultivate our passions, we respect and esteem each other, which is not obvious, as you know often groups are in competition …
VESPA = I know, you all never fight.!!
GIANLUCA = This is our great merit, because now 13 years together this is the beautiful thing.
Nice that Piero has his goals, for example, as I told you before, I am starting to approach the world of acting, trying to understand if one day, who knows, I would like to be an actor, but this enriches anyway, studying acting on stage , for a singer, it also helps you to express, to interpret songs better.
VESPA = So. (he turns to Piero) You say, we sang for the Pope, that’s enough, but no.
2019 Pope Francis, Panama (video of Panama starts)
In the video:
PIERO = His Holiness.
P + I + G = What a pleasure to see you again.
PIERO = This is our gift to you.
POPE = Thank you.
GIANLUCA = The dream and the desire to sing for him is coming true, we met in private audience last year and we sang for him an Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and here tonight we will sing it for him and for all the young people, we are truly honored.
POPE = Thank you.
PIERO = Can we take a picture?
POPE = Yes.
PIERO = A selfie like young people do.
(The Pope gives a souvenir to Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca)

IGNAZIO = We are grateful to you. See you later.
GIANLUCA = As you know, the power of Italian and Neapolitan music has reached overseas, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, but also Elvis Presley himself …..
IGNAZIO = The Pope has just passed, sorry, the Pope comments, ….
PIERO = But what does Elvis Presley have to do with Pope Francis, can you explain to me?
GIANLUCA = Oh well, first let’s talk about the Pope and then we want to give you a small gift.
VESPA = A small gift?
GIANLUCA = Yes, yes, a little present.
VESPA = Wait, first now I want to ask you something, we want to dedicate to Vittorio Storaro, who represented Italian art in the world, one of the most popular songs in the world, like this, here a cappella. (O Sole mio)
GIANLUCA = This is why I said, the great Elvis Presley interpreted the song in English “It’s now or never”,  do you remember that?
VESPA = Go !! (begins the a cappella song)
Well, we want to thank this magnificent group of romances, eight violinists, two cellists, thank you, thank you very much and congratulations, you are very good.
And then (to Il Volo) I greet you now …
IGNAZIO = We leave you with a great masterpiece, you know the story of Sacco and Vanzetti well. We are truly honored to be able to tell it even to an audience that does not know this story, to an audience that is not Italian and perhaps has not known the injustices that can exist in life. We are very proud to sing this song.
GIANLUCA = We would like to thank you again, we also thank the Maestro Storaro.
VESPA = Thank you.
(then he turns to Storaro) And what about you, beyond the restoration of Bertolucci’s films?
STORARO = Basically we’re still in the early stages, Woody sent me his fifth script to start, we had to do it first in New York, then we moved to France, now he’s looking to another country, Covid follows, depending on where it’s possible we’re going to do it.
VESPA = Good luck !!
PIERO = We would like to thank our audience for their love, support and support received over the years, thank you.
VESPA = And then: Sacco and Vanzetti! (start the song)
Really a nice chat between friends. You have noticed the masks and spacers, much more rigid in February than they are now.
Although it was not advertised, but was announced only by the tam-tam of the fans pages (incredible), this episode had very high ratings.
Congratulations as always, to Il Volo !!
But that of Porta a Porta was not the only appointment of Il Volo in this period, they were also in promotion Austria, on the TV show “Garden Party of the stars”.
Here they are.
Please click on the photo below to view the video.
Grande Amore
Very nice this video shot in Austria in front of the beautiful Grillenstein castle.
And then, live, during the show, they sang Ecstasy of Gold.
Please click on the photo below to view the video.
Ecstasy of Gold
Really a nice participation, let’s enjoy some pictures.
Then there was the announcement of the two Australian concert dates, finally !!
Reposted from @ilvolomusic :
Hello everyone,
We are very happy to announce that ticket sales are now open for our Australian concerts in Melbourne (October 18) and Sydney (October 24).
And finally, on May 12, I remind you that Il Volo is taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest.
For those who cannot follow them on TV, I propose you to follow them on you tube on the official ESC channel:   @eurovisionsongcontest.
Il Volo will sing GRANDE AMORE, but in a new version, which has just been heard.
The title is YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING and is in the English-Italian version and I find it beautiful !!
Here it is. 

What a thrill everything is ready, see you soon !!
Daniela

BREAKING NEWS!

Unfortunately, the news recently came that Gianluca is positive for Covid, so he will not be on the Eurovision stage. His voice will be recorded, only Ignazio and Gianluca will perform !!

I am very sorry for Gianluca, unfortunately you can never let your guard down with this Covid. Ignazio and Piero will do their best to represent Il Volo !!

 

IL VOLO and CARUSO by SUSAN

History Repeats Itself!

Italy is an emotion and in the center of that emotion is a passion and that passion is Naples. Naples is like no other place in Italy or, for that matter, no other place in the world. Neapolitans are the most diversified people in all of Italy. Naples is a feeling you can never shake but, above all, Naples is Music!

In the mid 1800’s Naples began to see a new movement in music. In 1835 a new song “Te voglio bene assaje” appeared. This song is considered to be the first modern Italian song.

CARUSO 01

The first “hit” may date back to 1835 but the golden age of song, in Naples, was from 1890 – 1910 when immigration to America began. Men left with the dream of a better life but what they found was even harder than what they left. They left their homes and families, and, in some cases, they never went home again. They found themselves alone with nothing but their music. Many Neapolitan songs were written about these times. Most of these immigrants lived in New York City in lower Manhattan in an area which became known as Little Italy. Small music companies would put on one act plays. Little vignettes. The stories were always the same, they were about home and family. They were about the mother they would never see again.

In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Caruso’s debut on November 23, 1903 was in a new production of Rigoletto. Marcella Sembrich sang opposite him as Gilda. A few months later, he began his lifelong association with the Victor Talking Machine Company. He made his first American record on February 1, 1904, having signed a lucrative financial deal with Victor. Thereafter, his recording career ran in tandem with his Met career, both bolstering each other, until his death in 1921.

CARUSO 02

Caruso was the first International singer to come to America. He introduced America to Italian Music. Caruso loved to sing Neapolitan songs and they were so popular that when he performed at the MET at the end of the show he would come out and sing Neapolitan songs. Among these songs were O Sole Mio, Torna Sorrento and Santa Lucia. As a result, Neapolitan songs became a part of an opera singers’ repertoire and every opera singer after Caruso would sing opera and Neapolitan songs including Il Volo.

Neapolitan music as it was at the turn of the century, in Naples, really didn’t change much but with the arrival of US troops in World War II, Naples woke up to a new beat. The US troops introduced them to the buzz and rhythm of jazz and boogie, and the Neapolitans immediately liked it.

I would not do Neapolitan Music or Il Volo justice if I didn’t mention Pino Daniele.

CARUSO 03

Pino Daniele was an Italian singer-songwriter, and guitarist, whose influences covered a wide number of genres, including pop, blues, jazz, and Italian and Middle Eastern music.

Pino Daniele made his debut in the Italian music world in 1977. He defined his music with the term “tarumbò.” His lyrics, written and sung in intense Neapolitan, attracted praise, though critical at times, because of his strong and bitter accusations against the social injustices of the times.  Authorities say Pino Daniele brought about the rebirth of Neapolitan song.

He wrote and sang his own music and this music was known in America.

I started this piece by saying Italy is an emotion and Naples a passion. If Naples is a passion that passion was Pino Daniele. Songs like Napule è, Quando and  Quanno Chiove are just a few example of his songs.  Examples I chose because I know Il Volo fans know these songs. 

(Pino Daniele live in Napoli 2013 – Quanno chiove)

They are very deep passionate songs. Many artists have sung Daniele’s songs but in order to do justice to a Pino Daniele song you have to bring passion, emotion and Neapolitan dialect to the song.  Enter Ignazio Boschetto! Ignazio’s tribute to Daniele is amazing and emotional. You can feel the depth of the song because of the presentation of the song and, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it’s as if Daniele wrote his songs for Ignazio.

(Ignazio Boschetto live in Arena  2015 –  medley of: Napule è – Quando  – Quanno Chiove)

Let’s look back a moment to see how Il Volo fit into the picture I presented here. Well we know they sing opera and we know they sing Neapolitan songs. Why? Remember what I said about Enrico Caruso. Every opera singer after Caruso would sing opera and Neapolitan songs. As a result, Neapolitan songs became a part of an opera singers’ repertoire and that includes Il Volo.  

But do we see any other similarities here?

20th Century the year is 1903 – Enrico Caruso comes to America at the turn of the century. He brings with him a new kind of music. The music changes Americas way of viewing Italian music. To Americans, Italian music was opera. But now, they have Caruso singing Neapolitan songs at the MET. A few months later, he begins his lifelong association with the Victor Talking Machine Company. He made his first American record on 1 February 1904, having signed a deal with Victor Talking Machine company. Thereafter, his recording career ran in tandem with his Met career, both bolstering each other, until his death in 1921.

(Enrico Caruso – O Sole mio)

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Fast forward 100 years to the 21st century – the year is 2009, Il Volo signs a major contract with Universal Music. They come to America where their music immediately catches on and causes a revolution in the music industry. Over the next ten years they sell out every American Concert. All their albums and concerts are a tremendous success. And their success is from singing Opera and Neapolitan songs. Thereafter, their recording career runs in tandem with their Concert career, both bolstering each other.

Did I read that right? Did Caruso and Il Volo do exactly the same thing in two different centuries? Did history repeat itself?

Like Caruso in 1904, Il Volo in 2009 revolutionized the music industry. These three teenage boys were the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract with a major American music label even before they arrived in America. They presented Operatic pop or popera to America. What is this new movement? It’s singing Opera in a more modern style. While opera is very strict and regimented, popera is more ethereal it has a lighter feeling and it moves freely. It takes away the hard edges of opera and replaces it with a more ethereal feel while still presenting the drama and the high notes of the opera. This along with the classical Neapolitan songs become a big draw.

Continuing on this amazing journey, their music evolves and, they crossover. In 2018 they released one of the most exciting Latin albums to come out in years. I would go so far as to say Amame is the most exciting Latin album that was ever produced. It’s opera, it’s rock, it’s classical, it’s pop and it never stops giving. The rhythm in songs like Noche Sin Dia is amazing. You have to move with the music. You can’t sit still. Songs like Maldito Amor is a phenomenal experience for your ear. The delivery is smooth and beautiful. It’s one of those songs that stays with you forever. This album is so Exciting! Exciting! Exciting! I sat and thought about this album the other day and how I would write about it. These three amazing guys absolutely floored me. The beat is so intense and, they are spot on. I think the guys knocked it out of the box with Noche Sin Dia. With Latin music you don’t just sing it, you feel it, and if you don’t feel it, you don’t cut it. This album cuts it! Good move!

(Il Volo – Amame) 

As if that wasn’t enough, they follow up with Musica! This is the album that proved that great can get greater. This album is representative of where these young men are now. It’s beautiful, it’s sensitive, it’s romantic. It’s about love. It’s about them being ready for love. It comes from deep within them. All the sweetness and humility of these guys is in this album. It moves your senses. What I am saying is they have evolved and, their voices have evolved. They’ve grown into their voices. Their voices are mature and have expanded in such an amazing way. There’s an intriguing balance in their voices. To experience this amazing evolution in voice and song you need go no further than Be My Love. Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before.  Ignazio makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes which lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe. Musica che resta!

The difference between Caruso and Il Volo is Caruso came to America towards the end of his career while Il Volo came at the beginning of their career. 

Lucky for us! 😉

(Il Volo pays homage to Caruso with the song CARUSO by Lucio Dalla)

(Lucio Dalla, begins the song)

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.