Tag Archives: PBS

June 5, 2021 – Verona – Tribute to Ennio Morricone!

Hello folks!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on this from our US and Canadian fans.  This is what I know….

  1. Detroit PBS will NOT be live streaming their concert.  There will be a “special pledge event” that is scheduled for 11:00pm EST in Detroit on June 5, and again on Sunday.  I am sure this will be their hurried cut take of the concert.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe anyone else in the country will be able to view it.

  2. I’ve been told by a few folks that have called their local  PBS stations regarding this concert that you will need to call your local PBS station and request that they buy this special event program from Detroit PBS.

  3. Others have also said that their station has told them there may be a pledge event some time in December, where you may be able to see it in your area.

  4. Personally, I’m hoping it will again appear on Amazon at some point.  Their last Matera concert was available with both CD/DVD for around $25 or so on Amazon until recently and I directed a few folks to its purchase, earlier this year.

*****Here is the Rai1 link:*****

  1.  Rai 1 – La diretta in streaming video su RaiPlay

  2. I also just found this nice little article that confirms that we should be able to watch it on the first link I have above:  Il Volo canta inno di Mameli, Rai 1, 2 giugno 2021, tv, diretta- Soundsblog  — “You will be able to follow both events on TV and streaming on the Raiplay.it”

  3. I’ve read the scheduled time is about 9:15p Italy time, so whatever that translates for everyone…. Italy is 6 hours ahead of Detroit time…. so we plan on tuning in no later than about 3p…..

 

So, folks – this is it – what we’ve been waiting for, for a long time!  I’m planning a little party with some of the Il Volo girls here on Saturday to watch the concert. 🙂 

Congratulations to those that will be able to be there in person – Daniela, Deborah, and many others!   I’m sure they will convey the spirit of all of the Ilvololovers and Flight Crew Fans, from all over the globe!  I told them to wave – we will be watching!  🙂

 

Jana

PRESS CONFERENCE IN VERONA by Daniela

It’s all a succession of news and I will try to make order.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero wearing masks

Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were in Verona, together with the mayor of Verona, they held the press conference for the presentation of the June 5th event in the Arena. I will summarize what was said by the mayor of Verona and the director of RAI1, the network that will broadcast the event.

MAYOR = “Welcome to Il Volo in our city. It is an important day because we are presenting this concert which has a number of important meanings.
The request by the Veneto Region on the possibility of giving concerts at the Verona Arena for 6,000 people was accepted.
The Arena is not only the symbol of Verona but of music, in an open theater, on an international level.
It is the date of a restart, a reopening and great music that can be enjoyed live. On June 5, you have the honor of restarting the music with the presence of thousands of people.
For the city of Verona it is an honor to host you and be the city where everything can start again.”

Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca with the mayor of Verona

RAI 1 DIRECTOR = For the flagship network of the Public Service, it is an honor to go to this special evening which means a lot for the artistic world and for the country.
As soon as Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca came together with their agent to offer me this evening, I accepted it immediately.
Rai Uno wants to remember Morricone, who has done so much for our music and culture, and the thing that seemed interesting to me is that it was reinterpreted by three young people who represent.
The idea that they were born in a talent show and have climbed, achieving such great success all over the world, makes us proud. It is the world of hope, justice and public service that Rai represents.
It is nice to think that three artists like Il Volo want to pay homage to Morricone. I think they have a lot to tell, even beyond singing.
I asked them to perform on their repertoire songs as well (“‘O Sole Mio”, “Grande Amore”, etc.), to the Italian people to review how their virtuosity has changed. They are now adults, really for Rai Uno it is an honor and we will be alongside, with great joy, for this first normal event. We will give a taste of the arrival of Il Volo on Rai Uno, on 2 June, with the National Anthem, after Tg1. I believe that the identity of this trio is consistent with the identity that the flagship network must have.”

Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca with the mayor of Verona sitting around a round table

RAI 1 VICE DIRECTOR = “I just want to reiterate and underline the welcome to Il Volo on Rai Uno. Il Volo is strongly Rai Uno, it has the artistic and value characteristics of the channel’s entertainment.
From the Festival to today, it has punctuated and punctuated the Rai Uno schedule.
It is no coincidence that they have always had a leading role. An extraordinary adventure that started some time ago that gives us the opportunity to enjoy new stages like this one to pay tribute to Ennio Morricone with great singers from Il Volo.
Such an important story for Italian music and cinema, Ennio Morricone has won 10 David di Donatello and two Oscars.”

Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca with the mayor of Verona sitting around a round table

ARENA ARTISTIC DIRECTOR = “I’m excited I got to know Ennio Morricone very well. Being able to open the season of live and television events with this event has always been my hope. I thank Gianluca, Piero, Ignazio for their commitment and desire to return to the Arena.
We will give, to the three of them, a numbered statue representing a divinity with the Arena of Verona on his head.
I hope it is a good omen for the resumption of events at the Arena which, I hope, will never stop.”

Left to right: Ignazio, Piero (speaking) and Gianluca at the press conference

Gianluca: “We are honored to be able to represent this rebirth. For us it is a great journey, a wonderful adventure, immersed in the notes of Morricone, one year after his death. Lately we believe we have had a personal growth that also involves an artistic maturity that we try to show to all of you. We were born as child prodigies, after 12 years of career we are satisfied with the work we are doing. We are really happy to be able to do it.”
PIERO: “Finally we can sing, after a year and a half we couldn’t take it anymore. Our work, I always say, is a dream job. We are incurable dreamers. Every wish is finally coming true. On June 5 we will give a message of hope, there is a great desire to get on that stage and see so many people working with us: from the technicians to the orchestra, to the many collaborators.”
IGNAZIO: “The Arena is one of the icons of our Italy, one of the few symbols like the Colosseum or Venice that are regularly remembered. The one on June 5 will be our only concert in 2021 . At every event we organize we make ourselves crazy: I think of the concert in homage to the three tenors with Placido Domingo with us on stage or when we sang a few meters from the Pope.”

Ignazio, Piero (speaking) and Gianluca sitting a the round table at the press conference

Piero Ignazio and Gianluca then gave these answers to the press:
The aim is to make Ennio Morricone’s music and culture known even to the youngest.
“We like the surprise effect. It will be an evening dedicated to Ennio Morricone but there will also be songs from our repertoire that are part of the career. If you remember well: The Mission, Once Upon a Time in the West, New Cinema Paradiso … We hope to be up to it.
 The evening will also be broadcast by PBS, the American network.
“For a better result of the audio we decided to record the CD  in the studio, not live. We have the pleasure of collaborating with the Sinfonietta, Ennio Morricone’s orchestra. It is a studio album. We decided to anticipate this concert even though the album will be released later.
Our tour will start in March 18, 2022 from New York.”

(Il Volo with the mayor)
“We changed the location from Rome to Verona, because the Arena is the largest open-air amphitheater. In Rome, it would have been more difficult to manage this situation. In St. Peter’s Square we sang for Christmas, with Christmas songs. In San Pietro there were no conditions to ensure safety.”
“During the pandemic, we tried not to passively experience this bad time. We have always tried to be productive. It was a difficult time for everyone. We canceled the world tour but we are very optimistic, determined and ambitious by nature. The strength to believe in one’s dreams and goals. We got to go back to the recording studio and dedicate ourselves to ourselves and our music. Everyone should try to mature and study from all points of view.”

“Perhaps this is the best project of our career,” says Gianluca Ginoble, at the end of the press conference.
Tickets will be on sale from Friday 14 May at 4 pm on the TicketOne circuit. Those who have a ticket for the 2022 tour will have the opportunity to buy the ticket at a special price.

What can I say, a beautiful conference and many beautiful and deserved words for our beloved trio Il Volo.
You read that right, the tour will start on March 18 in NY, surely it will be in Radio City Music Hall.
The greeting of our boys:
PIERO = Hello to all the friends of Arenalive.it.
GIAN = We give you the great news, the appointment in Verona on June 5th, both here in presence and on TV. It will be a great event, a contribution to Morricone.
IGNAZIO = They have already said everything, I greet you, and we are waiting for you.
REPORTER = Is this event more of a burden or more of an honor?
IGNAZIO = In reality it is a bit of everything, for responsibility it is an honor and pride.
PRIDE because Morricone’s music is a heritage of Italy, it is part of our culture and it is an honor for us to spread his music through our voices, and to bring his melodies all over the world.
HONOR because we do it in a very particular historical moment, where, until recently, it was uncertain to sing again in front of an audience and now, thanks also to the work of the mayor of Verona and many other people, we are able to sing in the Arena with the presence of 6000 people, so it is a great hope that soon they will be back on tour.
REPORTER = You said something extraordinary in a press conference, which is the most important occasion of your career.
GIAN = Yes, because for us it shows a certain artistic maturity, we are always looking to surpass ourselves. In our career, born as child prodigies, it is clear that to acquire a certain credibility, it takes time, with patience you reach everything and we work hard for this.
REPORTER = What kind of signal will come out of this show in the Arena?
PIERO = More than anything else we have always had the strength not to be disheartened.
It will be a concert of hope, there has always been talk of “we will make it” and when we will return to normal and therefore we must start and all the ideas are materializing. Finally we will be on stage, finally we sing.
REPORTER= There is expectation on the part of the public, but also on your part for this concert.
GIAN = For us who do it, we are very happy, I also imagine people who really want to go back to see a live concert, so it will be a great shared happiness.

Empty table where the press conference was held

This, on the other hand, is the promo video for the concert on June 5th.
GIAN = A beautiful adventure begins, a beautiful journey.
PRESENTER = Il Volo celebrates the great master ENNIO MORRICONE
PIERO = Silence because they are recording.
PRESENTER = In an event evening, on the notes of his unforgettable music.
IGNAZIO = I must say that they are all different and all beautiful.
(the song the boys mention is taken from the Cinema Paradiso soundtrack)
PIERO = We are close to the finish line.
PRESENTER = Il Volo, a tribute to Ennio Morricone, coming soon on RAI 1.

Left to right:

I have no more words, but only many positive thoughts.
When I hear our boys talking, I always denote a great composure and maturity, certainly not so common to many other artists.
They are “great” and they want to prove it with their wonderful commitments, which they inevitably carry out with great honor.

Now I have only one fixed thought ….. to be able to get tickets for June 5th !!!

Daniela
More photos from the conference

Left to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio in masks taking a selfie

LeftLeft to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio in masks being interviewed

UPDATE AT 5 PM (Italian time):

I just bought 2 tickets for June 5th !!!!!!!

😄👏🏻️🎉

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

PBS…Only the Beginning!

Let me tell you about the day I fell in Love. Not with one guy but with three. I turned on my TV and there they were three handsome teenagers stepping on the stage at the Detroit Opera House. I had seen them before on American Idol and Good Morning America but, on this day, I would lose my heart to them.

Every note they sang went straight to my heart! Just amazing! Ever song they sang was wonderful but when they sang El Reloj something happened to me! I knew no other group would ever take their place in my life or my heart. They totally reached me with that song! For me I wanted the CLOCK to stop at that moment in time!
Why this song? They sing so many beautiful songs. What was it that captured me that night? It wasn’t so much about the song as it was about the voices. It was how natural the delivery was. Teenagers with such maturity! Such strength in their voices. Voices that flowed through the air! It was the simplicity of this song and how they delivered it that captured me.
Their voices form a symphony. Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio’s voice makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes that lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero’s voice fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe.
If you want to present a voice, in this case three voices, this is the way you do it. They were together such a short period of time and yet they were perfect!  And it went beyond the voices. It was their personalities, their presentation, their interaction with the audience. They were young but they had it all.  They won the people with their voices but, they totally captured them with their charm and personality.
A few months ago, I wrote a story “On the Road to PBS” about how the guys got to where they were. So, I’m going to revisit some of that story so you can see how they came to the PBS stage.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing on stage

Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011 at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people and stole their hearts. They have done six concerts with PBS over the past 10 years. And now for their 10th Anniversary, PBS will televise the Tribute to Ennio Morricone in America! Great news for America especially since we not only love our guys but also love the music of Morricone. A marriage made in heaven.
When they began, they introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Their aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them. But where did it all begin for them. Let’s listen to what the guys had to say about how they were discovered.
Piero will take us back to his grandfather, Pietro Ognibene’s, back yard where he is swinging on a swing that hung from a mulberry tree. His grandfather was sitting on the veranda, as he usually did, at this time of day. His grandfather has been blind for many years and so he always had a tape recorder with him which he used to record music and poetry. Piero’s grandfather is also a singer. On this day he was recording a little Sicilian song which Piero said his grandfather wrote. So, let’s listen to what Piero had to say…
“I was swinging on the swing, I was about four or five years old, I was really, very small. I listened to him a little and at a certain point, when he stopped singing, I started: E lu suli, talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta pedra luci ci duna. What can I tell you? It just came out like that.”
His grandfather turned off the recorder and called his wife. Rina came out on the terrace and he asked her, “Unni è Piero?” (Where is Piero?)
She replied, “In Altalena” (He is on the swing)
Pietro asked, “Ma cu cantava? Iddu?” (But who was singing? He?)
She replied, “Eh, si.” (yes)
He told Rina to call him.
So, Piero got up and went to his grandfather. Pietro lifted him up and put him on the table next to the recorder and told him to “sing the song again.” Piero sang the song exactly as his grandfather sang it. And so it begins….

Left to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio singing on stage

Ignazio’s discovery would come about because of Nina’s pianola.
Ignazio remembers, “When I was three or four years old – I played with the piano my parents had given my sister, Nina. My mother says I was one years old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger.”
Nina’s famous pianola gave Ignazio an passion for music.
Ignazio continues, “I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation.”
But as Ignazio explains, this agitation passed and the most important event in his life began to take shape…
“With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna È Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the base and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna È Mobile.”
It seems at three years old Ignazio was already composing wonderful music!

LefPiero with his arms across the shoulders of Ignazio on his right and Gianluca on his left

Gianluca tells us that his life was different from Ignazio but, in many ways like Piero’s.
“My life as a child seems so far away. I remember very little of my childhood! I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally. Dad and mom realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years.
My parents tell me when I was three years old, I sang ’O Sole Mio in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.”
Each boy has now been set on the road to PBS so where did they go from here?

Left to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio with a beautiful backdrop inside a music hall

Over the years, each boy approached his musical education in a different way.
After his discovery in the garden, Piero embarked on a classical music education.  He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
In Marsala, Ignazio sang with his first singing teacher Lilliana Andreanò. He continued his singing lessons moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. He also participated in competitions around Sicily. Even after moving on to other teachers, Ignazio continued his relationship with Lilliana Andreanò. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do.
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. He joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know they came in first, second and third on Ti Lascio una Canzone. But their biggest win was becoming Il Volo.
After American Idol, they did many shows but the one show that really set them “in flight” in America, was the PBS special “Il Volo Takes Flight.”

Click photo below to view the LAaRT interview.Left to right: A web link showing Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio on PBS

Their concert was shown on PBS stations across the US and Canada.
After they performed on PBS, things really started moving. They were now bringing their bel canto around the world. One of the most memorable moments of their lives was touring with Barbara Streisand.

After seeing the guys on the PBS special, Barbra Streisand invited them to join the “Back to Brooklyn” tour. They were an integral part of the tour. They performed with Barbara Streisand in 12 of her shows in the United States and Canada.
Their first ever live album titled “Il Volo Takes Flight” was released in 2012.
The hit “Il Volo” rose to first and second place in the Billboard Classical Crossover charts.
In 2013, ”Más Que Amor” was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina and, this catapulted the guys into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm.

In February 2014, they receive two nominations at the 2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards, as “Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group” and “Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.” At the awards show they were awarded as ”Best Group of the Year in the Latin Pop Album” category and they also won the “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market! What a win!
But for the guys, the close of 2014 was the highlight of it all!

The Christmas Concert at the Italian Senate on December 21, 2014 gave them new hope for their presence in Italy.  Ignazio wrote in their book: “We want to talk about the thrill of singing in front of the highest offices of state! What twenty year old boy has something like that happen to him? It happened to us, and it seems to me a beautiful result, an honor. You cannot imagine the emotional feeling to be called ‘guests of honor’ inside the Senate. We were accompanied by the, fantastic, Filarmonia Orchestra Veneta conducted by Diego Basso. Half the beauty of the song is in the orchestra.
The most exciting moments? Every one! But the hymn of Mameli was the heart-pounding one, the first song, singing in that place, with everyone singing along with us, including Giorgio Napolitano(President) and Pietro Grasso (President of the Senate). It is one thing that I cannot explain.
And then, of course, the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of the Republic and of feeling that he knows Marsala, he has been there.”
What a way to close out 2014 but, what would happen in 2015 would set them on a new path, one which they hoped for from day one.
Next week we follow the guys as they make a big decision which will determine their future! This is a journey that will lead them back home. We follow the guys along a very bumpy path with many twists and turns that lead Through the Fields of My Mind….
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com

 

Last week I received and email from Sharon Bear in Detroit. Sharon wrote:
I had received a clip of Il Volo from a 90+ year old man in Marco Island. A dear friend. That promotional clip was maddening in that I could not play it enough – dancing with my Rottweiler who was deaf but learned to feel the music, his front paws bouncing up and down as I held them up and danced.  He enjoyed my playing the song.  Same song. Oh about 1000 times more or less.
It became part of my being. (The song. The guys’ voices. The air is different when you listen).  I wondered where they were going to perform. Then it hit me – hey!  Detroit is a major music market!  Duh!  “Maybe” they’ll perform here!!!  Clicked a few links and voila!!!  They were coming to the Fox Theater for a concert in a couple weeks. “Donation” to PBS was $40 for a ticket. I ordered my ticket as quickly as I could dial the phone.
At that concert it finished. The Capture of me. I’d try to explain it but why try. You know what I’m talking about so no need to “Preach to the choir”.
Then at the end of that concert they announced that in 10 days the guys are coming back to film a DVD at the Opera House. You can buy a seat in the audience for $40.  They would pass out seats in the order the calls came in for tickets. Oooookkaayyyy.  How should I time my call?  Not too early to be staring straight up at the lights and not too late and be sitting in the rafters. I called an hour or two after it opened. Not everyone is going to know these guys so, seats won’t be sold out too early I figured. I was right.  And it was a God-thing as we say.  My seat was right on the end of the third row, front and center. It was the families first row. Music producers, labels, financiers’, directors second row. Then me!  Third row!!  Yessss.
I woozy with the thrill of these voices. Their boyishness yet adult focus and performance.  I’ll remember this forever I realized.  Then came The Song – the song everyone knows, ‘O Sole Mio. People applauded, yelled when they recognized it. In mid-song Piero and Ignazio entered the audience from side doors singing their solos.  Women young and old reached to touch them as they passed in the aisles singing.
Piero walked directly toward my row, casually stopped beside me, reached down and took my hand. Huh???  What?  Is this real?  I’m having a serenade of this song by Piero???  Yes. It is true. And, sadly, to say all the muscle memory in my arms and hands reverted back to those 1003 times I had taken my Rottweiler’s paws and bounced up and down with him to the beat of the song. Yes. Like a muscular stuck in a rut moment, I started to bounce Piero’s hand up and down as he sang.  But I did “get a grip” and cherished the happening. Sometimes looking back at the video, I want to yell at myself – “that’s not the dog!  It’s not dancing with the dog!  It’s the ‘real Piero’ singing it!  Ok. Whew. You quickly realized it was real and enjoyed it.”  Too funny.  How we can react when amazed and shocked.  The brief goofiness didn’t count. The stirring reality of being part of this Birth of these guys coming into the world as a force of goodness, music and unity which will change lives and enrich in ways beyond music    That evening was a thrilling episode in life I always will hold close – and now I’ll remember it’s Piero’s hands and how the world felt being serenaded that incredible memory.
What makes this letter so absolutely wonderful is I found the video to go with it! Enjoy!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Through The Fields of My Mind….

The Whirlwind!

How do you begin to tell a story, more like a fairy tale, about three teenage boys who conquered the music industry?
They came from Italy from very different regions, very different families, very different backgrounds but, they had one thing in common, the ability to capture audiences with their amazingly, beautiful, voices.
Thinking back over the years, I realize they have put so much energy into such a short period of time. Twelve years of a lifetime but, in reality, they did it in five years! How is it possible that these three men could do, in such a short period of time, what most men cannot do in a lifetime? The secret is in the voices!
Going back to the beginning, I remember what Gianluca said, “I thought there were three hundred thousand boys singing like me, and instead that night I discovered that there are only two: Ignazio and Piero.” Of course, Gianluca was referring to the night they sang together for the first time on Ti Lascio Una Canzone.  So, let’s begin there!
When they came together as contestants on Ti Lasacio una Canzone, they never dreamt that they would walk off the stage as stars! Individually, they sang with some very famous Italian singers, Al Bano, Massimo Ranieri, Fausto Leali, Adamo, Piero Mazzoccheti and, they were singing their songs and these men were in absolute awe of these teenagers.

From the first note that came out of their mouths, everyone recognized how unique their voices were. Roberto Cenci the artistic director and director of Ti Lascio una Canzone recognized the importance of these three voices. He recognized that the voices were different but alike in their uniqueness. Cenci understood if you put the voices together, they will blend beautifully and, they will be very appealing.  How right he was! An experiment that turned into stardom.

Left to right: A young Piero, Ignazio, Gianluca and Michele Torpedine

And how did Michele Torpedine put it? “The three casually put together to sing a song of the program possess an incredible vocality for their age.” Watching them on TV Michele is thinking these guys are good and again repeats it to himself, they’re good! He thinks, “What if I try to put them together seriously?” Michele and everyone else felt they were incredible!
But it needed much more than just a feeling and it went beyond incredible. It needed something to come to life. It needed a new idea. It needed to be different because they were different. So how do you make it different? Bel Canto!
Bel canto is Italian for “beautiful singing.” From the mid-18th century through the early 19th century, Italian opera developed what is now known as a bel canto style. Composers began to write long, sustained vocal lines intended to show off the beauty of the voice.
Well, that works! They certainly have beautiful voices!
If you start with the premise that bel canto can make the difference, then you need to find the best way to present it! First, have them sing all the Italian classics. If you look at the music industry at the time you have to say “it won’t work” but, it did. Why? It worked because their voices were unique, the presenters were teenagers, and the world was waiting for something different. The difference was they needed to go back to what was and present in a different light. A unique  idea. A little risky for sure but, a lot of very talented people in the industry felt it could work. And it did!
Bel canto for sure! But those voices that embody bel canto needed to go beyond and so where do you go? In their concerts they sing beautiful arias because they have beautiful operatic voices but, they will tell you, they do not sing opera. So, they reinvented the idea of opera. Just as bel canto reinvented opera, so did they reinvent it with their Operatic Pop. Always light, free flowing, ethereal!  They took away the rigidness and left the beauty of the words which they present in their special ways with their special voices!
A few days after I finished this article, Michele Torpedine appeared on the Marzia Roncacci show. During the interview Marzia surprised everyone with an appearance by Piero. She asked one very important question, that is the question I just presented. So, I would like you to hear it in Piero’s own words.
Marzia: Listen, Piero, and also Michele, how do you explain this great success of yours, of three young people, because you are now very well established, even abroad, it is not so easy, there are only a few who are known and, they can be counted on your fingertips.
Piero: Our success is the echo! It is the resonance of the music we sing. As Pavarotti did in the past, bel canto is the winning weapon. Bel canto is the most popular Italian music in the world, and it is nice to hear in any theater or arena in the world, even in Japan, when the public hear these melodies, written right here in Italy, they go into ecstasy. Our voices also contribute, it is clear, and to hear young people with these voices …. but it is clear that if we didn’t sing this kind of music, it would be much more difficult.
Piero is very modest! Their voices are very important. They brought bel canto back to life in a unique way! Bravo!
So, let’s move on! Where do you begin?

America!

Left to right: A young Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing

Their first stop was Miami. It was like stepping into a dream for them. Everything in America was different from Italy. The streets, the houses, the cars, everything was different. But above all, they really could not comprehend all that was happening to them. After Miami they went to Los Angeles.

Left to right: Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero in front of a We Are The World sign

In Los Angeles, they were invited to participant in the charity event “We Are the World 25 for Haiti”.
They took Los Angeles by storm. This is truly the beginning of IL VOLO!

By now, they were in a whirlwind!

Piero recalls, “We were fifteen and sixteen when we found ourselves in this American dream. We had signed a contract with a record company that includes famous artists like Beyonce and many others. We were invited by the record company to a party. We turned and saw, Quincy Jones; we turn around and we saw Rihanna; we turned and shook hands with Lady Gaga. We talked with them, some singers who were idols for us and for our peers.”
In fact, the guys only began to understand that something was changing when their first record came out. The boys had met all the big names and performed with them in We Are the World, but reality had not yet set in. Let’s hear what Ignazio had to say about this….
“It was already in May 2010 and the Il Volo album was about to come out all over the world. Maybe I was too small and naive, but I did not feel the anxiety of the job like today. The first major television show we appeared in, in America, was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show.”

And what a performance that was. They sang “ ‘O Sole Mio” and in that moment, they captured the hearts of thirty million people. Not to mention Ignazio giving five to Steven Tyler. But that’s another story!
During the last three episodes of American Idol’s tenth season, they performed and promoted their first album, Il Volo. The international edition of the album was released on April 12, 2011.
In its first week, the album reached the tenth spot of Billboard 200 and topped the Classical Albums chart. The album also entered the top ten in other countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and it peaked at number one on the Austria Albums Chart. It would later be certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.
Back in Italy, in their hometowns, the people were ecstatic. These three teenagers had achieved what only a few Italian artists had achieved, success in America!
By now, every program in America wanted them. The phone was ringing off the hook! They appeared on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Early ShowThere was no stopping them. The people of America had spoken and what they were calling for was, Il Volo. And slowly, the rest of the world also recognized their achievements.
The chatter began about these three teenagers with voices like “angels!” But what’s most important is what happened to the boys! These boys who came to America thinking, “who will know us there,” were now becoming a household name. And how did that happen, a little thing called PBS…

IL VOLO album cover for IL VOLO Takes Flight

Next week we follow the guys to Detroit where they stepped on the stage at the Detroit Opera House and sealed their fate!
We continue to follow their footsteps Through the Fields of My Mind….
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
NOTE: I would like to thank Daniela for the wonderful translation of the interview with Michele and Piero. If you haven’t read it yet, go to www.ilvoloflightcrw.com to read it!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

IL VOLO ON THE ROAD TO PBS by SUSAN

Nine years ago, PBS introduced America to three teenage Italian boys, Il Volo.
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011 at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people. These three teenagers stole the hearts of the American people and they continue to do so today. They have done 6 concerts with PBS over the past 10 years. Their last concert in 2019 in Matera, Italy was to celebrate their ten years together as Il Volo.
They introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop and classical music! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Il Volo’s aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them.
On the Ninth Anniversary of Il Volo’s concerts on PBS, let’s look back at how they started on this road.
Over the last year I have shared Il Volo’s life story with you, their fans. Now it’s time to go back and see how they landed on this road. Let’s travel back in time to where it all began in Naro, Bologna and Montepagano!
Piero’s best memories as a child were his Sunday dinners with his family which included every family member from his great grandmother, Lina, all the way down to his cousins who were more like brothers and sisters. And he recalls summers in the countryside with his entire family. Piero says, “I swear they were perhaps the most beautiful days of my life, and I will never forget them.”
Let’s take a closer look at one of these stories.
Discovering Piero!
Piero’s discovery starts in the Garden of Pietro Ognibene’s (Piero’s Grandfather) house.  
As was his custom, Piero’s grandfather Pietro, would come out on the terrace every morning and find a cool place to sit. Pietro always had a recorder with him. He has been blind for many years and he uses the recorder to record music, recite poetry and compose songs. Piero says, “When I think back to the first images I have of him, he is sitting on the terrace in the country with a stereo in his hands.”
On this morning Piero is the garden on the Altalena, an old fashioned swing that is hanging from a mulberry tree, and on the terrace, Pietro is preparing to record a song. It’s just a little song. The song is only two lines and it is pure Sicilian. Pietro begins to sing. E lu suli talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta petra luci ci duna, that is and, the sun, look, look, look, to this stone gives the light.
Piero recalls, “I was swinging on the swing, I was about four or five years old, I was really, very small. I listened to him a little and at a certain point, when he stopped singing, I started: E lu suli, talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta pedra luci ci duna. What can I tell you? It just came out like that.”
His grandfather turned off the recorder and called his wife. Rina came out on the terrace and he asked her, “Unni è Piero?” (Where is Piero?)
She replied, “In Altalena” (He is on the swing)
Pietro asked, “Ma cu cantava? Iddru?” (But who was singing? He?)
She replied, “Eh, si.” (yes)
He told Rina to call him.
So, Piero got up and went to his grandfather. Pietro lifted him up and put him on the table next to the recorder and told him to “sing the song again.” Piero sang the song exactly as his grandfather sang it. He listened to Piero sing the song and then he made the decision to go to his friend Antonio’s house to record it.
Antonio a friend of Pietro had in his home what was called at that time a “recording studio”. It was not very big but, it did have a bigger stereo and a microphone. So, that afternoon they recorded Piero singing his grandfather’s song in Sicilian. But it didn’t stop there!
The meeting with Mimmo Riolo, in the Garden of the Riolo House.
The next day Pietro and Piero went to the countryside to the Riolo’s house. Piero’s grandparents had a country house and the Riolos were their neighbors. Pietro had a good relationship with Mr. Riolo, they were family friends. At the Riolo house, they all sat together under a carob tree because the air was always fresh under that tree. While the men talked, Piero ate prickly pears.
Pietro said to his old friend, “You know, Mimmo, yesterday I discovered that my grandson has a nice voice.”
Mimmo thought about it for a moment and came up with an idea. “I want Piero to listen to one of my favorite singers.”
Piero recalls, “And this is how I listened for the first time to Un Amore Così Grande by Mario del Monaco. And I learned it right away, but right away. My grandfather was very proud. And something told me the next day we would go to record Un Amore Così Grande at Antonio’s house.”
The day after they visited Mr. Riolo, they went to Anotonio’s house to record Un Amore Così Grande.
That evening the family met for dinner in the countryside, as was their custom, in the summertime.
In the Garden of Piero’s Grandparents House
This evening would be the beginning of Piero’s journey to stardom. After dinner all the kids played soccer while the adults went outside to chat and enjoy the cool of the evening on the terrace. But this evening would be a little different.
On the Terrace of Piero’s Grandparents House
When they finished dinner, Pietro called his wife. “Rina, get the recorder.” Rina brought in the recorder and placed it in front of Pietro. The recorder was already prepared with the cassette. Pietro turns to Piero’s dad and says, “Listen to this voice, Gaetano.” He pushes play and starts the recording of Un Amore Così Grande.
Gaetano is amazed, like he has just heard a good thing, and he says, “It’s beautiful, who is it Daddy?” (he calls his father-in-law Daddy.)
Pietro says, “Piero.”
Silence.
Gaetano has a questioning looking on his face “How did Piero?”
Pietro says, “So”.
On that night Piero’s life changed!
In Ignazio’s story, I found out that he is an excellent writer. He is the only one who wrote his story. Ignazio is very articulate. His words just fly off the page. Ignazio’s mother says and I agree, “Ignazio is very serious and responsible.”
Let’s see how Ignazio views this time in his life.
Il Volo with Jim Masters and Lee Newton
Discovering Ignazio
Ignazio says, “My story is not a fictional story even if it seems to be one of those dreams that you never want to wake up from.”
Ignazio learns to play Nina’s piano
Ignazio remembers, “When I was three or four years old – I played with the piano my parents had given my sister, Nina. My mother says I was one years old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger.”
Ignazio’s School in Bologna
Ignazio says, “I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation.”
Ignazio Joins the School Choir
With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna È Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the base and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna È Mobile.
In 2004 at the age of 10, Ignazio’s family moved back to Marsala and opened a Pizzeria.
While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within Ignazio. It was a passion for electronics and music.
Ignazio’s mother opens Pizzeria dei Desideri in front of their house.
In 2005 Pizzeria dei Desideri was completed and, within a few months Caterina already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when Ignazio sang, the customers heard him.
One day a gentleman said to Caterina, “You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.”
Ignazio’s Meeting with Lilliana Andreanò in Marsala
Ignazio recalls, “I remember it as if it were yesterday…. I was eleven. I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes, fashion was never my strong point. Arianna, the daughter of the pizzeria customer, who had heard me sing, and her mother and I waited in front of the school for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher. Lilliana Adreanò, arrived in a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car and immediately entered the school.
Ignazio says: “I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless. Lilliana begins to talk about music, what kind of songs I like to sing. It was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how. You know, Liliana I like to sing Giorgia’s songs.”
Lilliana said: “Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song.” She asked, “And which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?”
Gocce Di Memoria (Drops of Memory), Ignazio said. “I didn’t even have a doubt. I start singing and Liliana was amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too. I thought a little bit and then I said to her: sometimes I even sing Con Te Partirò by Andrea Bocelli. I started singing and, when I finished Liliana told me: ‘Ignazio, this is your musical direction’.”
Ignazio continues: “From that first lesson I began to study songs like Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, Un Amore Così Grande and all those that came to mind, and I liked it. It approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic. With Liliana I found myself, very comfortable. We understood each other immediately because she is a sociable person, simple, as are all of us in my family.”
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that Ignazio take part in a bullfight (competition) organized in Paolini.
Ignazio says: “I wasn’t completely convinced that I wanted to get on a stage. Until that moment I had only thought about singing, but I had never seriously thought that all that singing one day could bring me into the spotlight.”
Ignazio performs in his first Competition in Paolini
Ignazio says, “I was about to get on the bullfight stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with the song by Bocelli Con Te Partirò (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that I had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words. So, what did I do? I looked down all the time. So, the audience, the place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens that I forget the words even today now that I have become professional, the emotion continues to take us despite everything and.… I came in third.”
Once the ice was broken and the stage panic was over, that ended up being just the first of many competitions for Ignazio.
As to Gianluca I was surprised to find out he was such a romantic. Everything that is important to him is a passion. He invests himself in what he loves and believes in: Family, Music, Country and Soccer! Above all, Gianluca loved to sing. Music was his whole life! Gianluca said, “Singing makes me feel good.”
Discovering Gianluca
Garden of Gianluca’s house facing the beach of Roseto degli Abruzzo.
Gianluca says, “I am from the town of Montepagano, Abruzzo. To be precise, I grew up, in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.”
Gianluca continues, “My life as a child seems so far away. I remember very little of my childhood! I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally. Dad and mom realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years.
Town Square of Montepagano
My parents tell me when I was three years old I sang O Sole Mio in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.”
Gianluca continues, “This was my first audience but, of course, I don’t remember it. My grandfather wanted me to study music, he always told me: ‘Gianluca, study the piano, study an instrument.’ I’ve never done it. It would be a dream to sit down on the piano and start playing and singing.” (Since this statement, Gianluca has studied piano and now he plays quite well.)
While his grandfather made him listen to classical music, Pavarotti and music from the Fifties-Sixties, his father made him feel Fabrizio De Andrè, Francesco De Gregori, Giorgio Gaber, Antonello Venditti and, as he grew older, he became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all, Frank Sinatra.
Gianluca says, “I never, never would have thought that…. I could make music my life. I only sang because it made me feel good. Then what happened? I do not know exactly, because everything happened very quickly.”
The phone call that changed it all!
“It was 2008 when my father received a call from Licia Giunco.”
Who is Licia Giunco. She’s an incredible woman, known throughout Italy for being the creator of an annual event called Sport for Life, a great international ice-skating gala. For the gala, skating champions come from all over Europe to participate. The reason for Mrs. Giunco’s phone call was Gianluca’s performances with the choir.
“We have a great talent here in Roseto,” Mrs. Guinco told Mr. Ginoble. I would like to bring him to RAI (Italian TV Station).”
Gianluca says, “My father had never thought about it. My parents had never even imagined that I would participate in competitions, let alone send me for an audition for television.”
“Let’s try,” Mr. Ginoble replied, “It would be a great opportunity.”
Each boy has now been set on the road to PBS so where did they go from here?
Over the years, each boy approached his musical education in a different way.
After his discovery in the garden, Piero embarked on a classical music education.  He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
Ignazio continued his singing lessons moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. His relationship with Lilliana Andreanò continued. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do. But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. Gianluca joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know, the three teenage boys came together on the Ariston Stage in Ti Lascio Una Canzone for the performance of O Sole Mio and stepped off the stage and embarked on the road to stardom.
They came in first, second and third. Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero. But the biggest prize was becoming Il Volo.
They signed a contract with Universal and recorded their first album.
In 2010 when they arrived in America, they took it by storm. After their performance on American Idol, they sky rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts.
What happened next? And, so, we arrive at PBS. But let me turn the story over to the guys. They will tell you about what happened after Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
“Spotlight” Producer Paul Larson just minutes before going on stage at Place des Arts in Montreal, Quebec spoke with the guys about their career after their performance on PBS. So, I invite you to watch this amazing video and listen to what the guys have to say about their beginnings and their future!

PBS Spotlight Video – Click Here

The guys have grown in their music and now they continue to bring their bel canto around the world.
We look forward to their 10th Anniversary with PBS. Stay tuned for more stories about Il Volo and PBS as we approach their 10th year of collaboration!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and video.