Ever since they mentioned to me over three years ago (almost in passing) that they were going to start work on a “big” project about the famous Three Tenors, I have been very eager to see this concert on this tour. The boys of Il Volo started their singing life learning quality singing techniques with voice lessons. This included learning some arias from operas which is sort of a basic foundation of repertoire. They learned this very well. Then they took this technique and applied it to a wide variety of different styles of music – mostly Italian romantic songs, American love songs and some Broadway – all under the loose title “pop” music or as they called it: “operatic pop.”
Now with this project, they are returning to their cultural roots with some solid opera arias – some real gems! That takes work and lot of work with their vocal coach. The end result was a wonderful concert called Notte Magica given in the city square in the center of Florence last summer. I have already reviewed that program on this site and I must say that I was so proud of the guys.
That was on TV and now I get to see that program LIVE on stage in a brand new theater here in Las Vegas. Hooray ! Finally !
The program order was basically the same as Florence however a couple of songs were dropped from that program and a couple of songs were added that were not originally on that program. First of all a song that I did not pay enough attention to when it first came out but now it affected me very strongly: Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiaewritten for the boys of Il Volo by Giorgio Pintusand Romano Musumarra. I tell you, that it is one thing to hear a song on a stereo system in the car and it is drastically different to have the boys singing it “live” just 8 feet away from me (I was in the front row). What an incredible song. The boys said that they hope to one day sing this song for Pope Francis. I hope so. They deserve that honor and also, the Pope deserves to be blessed by their singing. The other song added to the program was “Grande Amore”, their signature song from the San Remo Festival in 2015. Great to have it back again.
Il Voloin concert at the Park Theater – Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – 8:00pm to 10:34pm
Overture – La Forza del Destino Sinfonia by Giuseppi Verdi Orch.
Nessun Dorma – from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini
Granada – Agustin Lara
Mattinata – romance by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Una Furtiva Lagrima – from L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti – Ignazio
La Danza – Gioachino Rossini – Gianluca
E Lucevan le Stelle – from Tosca by Puccini – Piero
Torna a Surriento – Giambattista de Curtis
Intermezzo – Manon Lescaut by Puccini – orch.
Core ‘Ngrato – Cardillo
O paese d’o sole – Annibala Bovia – Piero and Ignazio
Maria – from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein – Gianluca and Ignazio
My Way – Paul Anka – Gianluca and Piero
Tonight – from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein – Ignazio
Intermezzo – Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni – orch.
Cielito Lindo – Quirino Mendoza y Cortez
En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor – Josquin Rodrigo – Gianluca
No Puede Ser – Pablo Sorozabal – Piero
Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae– by Giorgio Pintus & Romano Musumarra
O Sole Mio – Eduardo de Capua and Giovanni Capurro
Libiamo – from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Nessun Dorma – with extra ending
The concert was presented in a new theater called the Park Theater which is part of the Monte Carlo Hotel-Casino complex on the strip in Las Vegas. It opened in December and everything is the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and a huge stage with great sound system. A tech man told me at the end of the concert that they were filled with 4132 people (the upper balcony was not open).
This high quality music requires an ensemble of good size. Two years ago they used 26 musicians. Last year they used 38 and this year (hold your hat) they had 55 in the orchestra. Or to put it the way Piero said it: “55 plus one” because one of the cello players was pregnant !!! Cool . That is a huge orchestra. Sitting as close as I was I noticed many players who are also in the Las Vegas Philharmonic. That is the kind of quality that our boys deserve. Minor point: it was the first time they have used harp in their programs. Very, very nice. This really was an excellent quality ensemble.
THE BOYS’ SINGING
The program order is listed below. The first thing that I always note for each live concert is that I am hearing the well-trained, well-seasoned singing of three gentlemen of 35 to 40 years of age. That kind of control. That kind of musical security. That kind of resonance and tone quality. EXCEPT FOR ONE THING they are only 22 & 23 ! ! !
I know that I make this kind of comment each time and it is true each time. Incredible quality singing from “ kids” (Ignazio will pop me in the nose for that one – Ha ). When you think that the human voice is the last organ of the body to mature – usually around 35 years of age – these guys are incredible ! My choice for outstanding work:
For the whole group – Ave Maria– a great piece of music sung to perfection and it sent chills up and down my back.
Piero – No Puede Ser– he knows this song inside out but tonight it was fresh with new vitality and excitement. He always delivers.
Ignazio – Una Furtiva Lagrima– this is a very subtle and demanding song – very easy to screw it up and over sing. He was splendid.
Gianluca – tie between La Danzaand Aranjuezbut for this show the edge went to Aranjuez because Gianluca had a first class violinist for the counter part (this song is kind of a duet) and Gianluca was in ABSOLUTE CONTROL. That is art of incredible beauty.
The “hidden secret” that I don’t think many people in the audience knew or paid attention to was what some singers sometimes call “Vegas Throat.” I spoke with Ignazio after the concert and he was having quite a time with the dry climate condition that makes it more challenging to sing well. He could not seem to drink enough water. Just as the boys walked on stage at the beginning I could see that this was starting to happen to all three of them. It makes you feel that you are not sure that you can hold out tones for long periods of time for fear it will crack or sound like static. They had water on the stage and the theater was pumping humidity onto the stage for them but it still was a challenge. They had come from Minneapolis (humidity center) to L.A. which is desert and then drove across the Mohave desert to Vegas (an even drier city). It doesn’t happen that often but once in a while. I have heard Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble have problems in a concert with this.
Now here is my point: each of these young men showed incredible will power for the entire two and half hours of that concert. They kept solid, well-supported tone going under firm control. They never allowed the tone to crack or break once. They each presented us with wonderful, pure and very musical singing throughout. So the “secret” is that they were challenged with potential problems BUT the audience never heard anything but quality, professional singing. I had a hint of it in the concert but when I talked with them later last night after the concert, then they let me know what a challenge it was. BRAVO! BRAVO! Very few singers can do that.
End result? This was one of the best concerts I have ever attended played by a superb 55- piece symphony orchestra and featuring the three best male singers in the business today.
A SOCIAL NOTE
After the concert we hung out watching the Meet and Greet line go by and when that came to an end Jeannette and I finally had a chance to take some time and visit with Gianluca, Ignazio, Piero and with Barbara. They were in a happy mood and relieved that the concert went as well as it did. We talked a little about the next Il Volo Fan Faire which will happen when the next American tour happens. However, we do not have a date yet because they will be occupied with a major new recording project next year so
The American tour will be delayed … They do not plan on touring in 2018 unless they make an announcement later changing their plans…To Be Determined
Remember they still have a lot of touring to do yet in other areas around the world after they finish this American tour.
We found they are getting to know us better and better each year so conversation gets going a lot easier than it used to years ago. Now they pick up where we left off last March. They ask us questions. It gives us a warm feeling (after all they meet thousands of people on each tour). Relations with Barbara are starting to feel like that of an old friend. (maybe I should say “friend we have known for a long time” rather than “OLD” ). Each of them was eager with hugs, kisses and wonderful conversation. If it were not for being about 1:00am we could have gone on much longer. Indeed, security was closing up that part of the building so we had to leave.
One final note: we figured since there was no full-sized Fan Faire this year we would just do dinner and invite a few people to join us just before the concert. Well, that went different than expected. We started out thinking about a dozen, but we ended up with nearly 50 people in that little Italian restaurant right next to the doors of the theater.
It was a big family gathering. What a family – the extended Il Volo family.
Thank you, Myron! Great review!
Stay tuned for more reviews from our Flight Crew. Coming soon!
Dani, Emilia(and sometimes Daniela) will be working with Kelly to bring us a weekly “Off Stage” feature. You already saw the first one!
Jana and Leelee will be helping to edit, draft and post various articles. The two of them will also bring us“Il Volo Professional”, which are the guys professional singing engagements, interviews, etc. (You saw their 1st one yesterday) Daniela and Emiliawill assist them in this endeavor. Just in time for concert season too!
Danielawill continue to update us in comments and submit articles for posting.
Sandi Eyman and Angelicawill cover our Outlook email.
Ann Scavo, Jane (maryjane), Mary Bohling, Gina, Kitty and Myronwill continue doing what they do.
Kelly, besides her new column, “Off Stage”, will continue her administrative duties along with birthday videos, handling technical issues, paying the bills and keeping up with our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and etc.
Marie,will continue administrative duties which include writing, editing, drafting, scheduling, posting your stories, updating header photo’s, and etc.
Thank you so much volunteers!
We are renewed, refreshed and stronger than ever. What fun we are all going to have promoting and sharing the love of those marvelous Il Volo guys.
Jeannette and I had to wait for final word on this from Il Volo. But after talks with Barbara Vitali and other people in Il Volo management, it has been decided that the schedule this year will not allow time for an Il Volo Fan faire – that is one where the boys can attend for the amount of time that they suggested last spring. This tour has caused some frustrations in the planning and that is why it is so late being announced.
Last year’s tour was announced in spring of 2015 and tickets went on sale August of 2015 for a tour in February and March of 2016. This year the announcement goes out today and Monday and Wednesday at the end of November for a tour during the month of March (basically the same time as the last one). That means 3 months of prep for us vrs 7 months last time.
Barbara and we are going to plan further ahead when Il Volo has the next USA tour where the Fan Faire will fit into their schedule easier. So don’t be too sad because in the long run I think this will turn out better with more lead time.
A word about the tour concert in Las Vegas: This year the Vegas concert is being held at the MonteCarlo Hotel Casino where MGM has built a new state-of-the-art concert hall called the Park Theatre. I have seen the place in its finishing stages as it opens in late December. It seats 5200 people and has a huge stage. The Monte Carlo is right on the strip across from the MGM Grand. This place is beautiful and it will be a the largest concert hall in the city (not counting sports arenas).
The Il Volo concert is on Saturday, March 25 (same date at last year only on a Friday) of 2017 at 8:00pm.
TO ANYONE COMING TO VEGAS FOR THE MARCH 25 IL VOLO CONCERT:
Even though there is no Fan Faire per se this year Jeannette and I are planning to do dinner at the Italian restaurant right across the casino from the theater entrance. It is called: “d.Vino” We are aiming for 5:00pm and we invite anyone else that is coming to Vegas for the Il Volo concert to come and join us for dinner and then we walk across the casino to the new Park Theatre for the Il Volo concert.
Everyone is on their own. We will take a tally and make the group reservation for the restaurant. However, everyone that is coming must take care of their own concert tickets, dinner cost and hotel, etc. A chance for us Il Volo fans to get together in a “junior fan faire”. Please email Jeannette or me if you would like to have dinner at “ d.Vino” with us on Saturday, March 25 2017 at 5:00pm.
As I write this article, I have heard the CD and seen about half of the video scenes but have not seen the whole concert in one video. That is yet to come. My comments are focused on the concert from the standpoint of music and performance quality. Since it is more of a formal concert than the guys normally do there really is no comment to be made on staging and lighting, etc. The program is presented in a classic formal format.
When I was in high school and undergrad college taking voice lessons I was introduced to some of these songs and, in fact, ended up singing some of them in recitals. This literature is part of an advanced, good quality vocal training program. The boys of Il Volo each went through that kind of training early on and continue it even today. However, when you sing programs of more pop music as they normally do, and the pure bel canto approach gives way a bit to vocal techniques that fit the pop music.
That was the case for most of the past 5 years but now they come full circle to a concert to honor the “Three Tenors” program from over 20 years ago. This kind of music is very demanding from the standpoint of vocal power and energy as well as range. It is hard work! It also represents a return to the foundation from which the boys started.
The songs: (done in CD album order – not program order)
First of all it is great to have a more substantial orchestra working with the guys. It is also great to have as conductor, one of their mentors: Placido Domingo. Domingo has for 40 years been one of the greatest opera stars in the world. He is very helpful not only conducting but also, of course, as another vocal coach. (side bar: many people know Domingo as a star singer in opera but he also has for the past decade or more been conducting many operas. So he is very experienced.) He shares the task with Marcello Rota. Also, Domingo joins the guys to sing the song: “Non Ti Scordar di Me”.
Nessun Dorma– one of the most famous and beautiful love songs ever- written by Puccini for the opera “Turandot”. All three of the guys take this on and it is no surprise that Piero and Ignazio handle the high notes but Gianluca joins them on the end that is a wonderful surprise. On my first and second hearing of this recording I went “ WOW ! “
Granada and Mattinata are songs that the guys have done many times on tour going back to their first programs in the USA. Beautifully done, as usual. It is interesting to hear the more original arrangements of each vrs. the tour version they usually do. Very nice. (not good or bad – just different and still wonderful)
One song I learned in college and sang on a recital was “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from the opera “L’Elisir D’Amore” (Elixir of Love) by Gaetano Donizetti. This song belongs to Ignazio with his incredible ability to take very high notes to a very soft tone with total control. I can’t tell strongly enough that is very, very hard to do ! He sings this song so beautifully !
Gianluca takes on a song that we singers back in college days used to call “a tear to hell” (pardon me). La Danza by Rossini is “baritone madness” – a song that we all loved to hate. It takes a man (vrs. A boy) of power and resilience to just simply survive to the end. You know already what I am going to say: the short skinny guy we all loved as a boy now in 2016, is the MAN that ABSOLUTELY COMMANDS this song. What an incredible tornado. I dare you to sing with him on the last note and get all the way to the end without a breath. I dare you !!!
Naturally, we have to have Piero’s wonderful rendition of E Lucevan le Stelle written by Puccini for his opera “ Tosca”. The program would not be complete otherwise. He delivers superbly.
On tour the boys did an Elvis arrangement called Surrender which is a re-write of the song called Torna A Surriento by Ernesto Curtis. Lovely song done in its original ¾ time meter and phrases. (the Elvis version was in 4/4 time).
Core ‘Ngrato with all three guys and ‘O Paese D’ O Sole with Piero and Ignazio in duet. Also from their tours and very nicely done as usual.
Mariafrom “West Side Story’ by Leonard Bernstein. This wonderful song has been done by Il Volo in different guises: as a solo song; as a trio; and as a duet. On this album and the concert in Florence it is done as a duet between Gianluca and Ignazio.
They are wonderful together on this duet. Even though all three did a great job on this song when they used to do it as a trio, I do feel it works better as a duet. Very fine indeed.
However, some of us remember five years ago when a skinny short kid of 16 came out on stage and did this song as a drama-vocal rendering with just piano. We had our breath taken away because of the introspective passion that kid brought to the front.
He always looked so delicate out there by himself and it seemed as though he would pass out after the end of the song each night. How many of you remember that ? Bless you Gianluca! Great memories.
From the recent tour we have the famous songMy Way composed by Paul Anka and sang by Frank Sinatra and Elvis on tour. Here Piero and Gianluca are superb. Gee, when are they not superb?
Also from the recent tour Ignazio sings the iconic love song Tonight from West Side Story also by Bernstein. I remember his performance of this when they came to Las Vegas last year. So wonderful.
Then the trio comes back for ‘O Surdato ‘Nnammurato and the always fun, Mama.
They continue with the folk song inspired Cielito Lindo that many of us learned in elementary school. Giampiero Grani does a great orchestra of this.
More solo work follows with Gianluca’s wonderful and dramaticEn Aranjuez con tuamor from “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joanquin Rodrigo . This song always features a solo violinist as the protagonist to the baritone.
From a little mini opera called “La Tabernera del Puerto” by Pablo Sorozabal comes an aria perfect for Piero called Non Puede Ser. Of course, Piero owns this song as well. He is so fine.
Il Volo has sung Non Ti Scordar di Meby Ernesto Curtis before but this time Placido Domingo joins the boys for a gorgeous rendition. It is always great to hear their mentor join with them in a song (as they did in the wonderful song “Il Canto”).
The theme song for the boys has been O Sole Mio by Eduardo di Capua and here it gets the original treatment with orchestration by Giampiero.
This concert has a great song for the closing number. The composer usually considered the “king “ of opera composers: Giuseppi Verdi and from one of his most famous operas called “La Traviata” comes the most famous of all drinking songs: Libiamo.
You may think you don’t know this song but when you hear it, I bet you will recognize it. Great (we used to call this kind of wild and challenging music a “barn burner” ) way to end a concert.
This program is almost a perfect review of the songs that Carreras, Pavarotti and Domingo did in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in those “Three Tenors” that they took on tour. The difference is that our boys left out a few songs including some in German and French. That is a trivial thing. As a voice teacher who took time to listen to the CD of that concert and contrast with this one, I must say that Il Volo does as well and often better than the original (Pavarotti was often in poor voice in those later years). To be technical since the human voice is the last part of the body to mature and usually not until around age 32 to 35, There are about two times in the program when the original guys are a bit bigger in size of tone. But it is amazing to me that our guys at 21, 22 & 23 are the equal of the original and in some songs – better.
This is the most demanding tour program they have done and I am pleased to note that the American tour has a relief date before each concert and sometimes two dates. That is what I have asked for for years. Young instruments need the work but also need the rest in between. You try and sing 2 hours and 30 minutes of intense music like this without a break and you will feel the strain.
These guys are doing something so incredible.
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!