Hope everyone had a safe and blessed Easter! There were many blessings sent forth from Kelly’s post! 🙂
There were several Instagram messages and FaceBook posts from the guys about their upcoming appearance on the fourth episode of “Amici di Maria de Filippi,”which aired on Canale 5 in Italy, on Saturday, April 15, 2017. (Thank you to Lisa Joy for posting it very quickly for all to see!) This is another talent show in Italy. This time, the guys were singing “My Way” for two competing male dancers. It was a trio this time for this song and I thought the addition of Ignazio was incredible. I loved the little jazzy softness he gave to the song and I always love when he goes for the high notes at the end. They looked and sounded beautiful as always.
Although I did not dig too deep, I don’t know who won the dance competition? My one friend said the guy in the white shirt should have won. Maybe Daniela or Dani can fill us in? 🙂
For your listening and watching pleasure, here it is:
Thank you to Grazia Sabatini for some still shots from the program of Ignazio and Piero.
A nice 4 picture arrangement of Piero!
This has to be my favorite expression from Ignazio in this song!
Although I did not see the same for Gianluca, I thought I’d add this one he sent us to wish us all a Buona Pasqua! I didn’t think anyone would mind…. 🙂 On his Instagram, he said Erny took the picture – good job Erny!
Take care everyone and be patient! Their next concert is just a week or so away!
It was a last-minute decision, but I decided I could not bear the thought of not seeing the guys one last time before they left the United States for who knows how long. Had heard various reports from they were taking a year off, to they were “evaluating options,” and most recently from Gianluca – “see you in a few months!” from his Instagram story! Well, I wasn’t taking any chances! Lorna and I saw them at the beginning of this tour in Florence and we saw them at the end of it in the US!
I quickly analyzed their remaining concerts and figured out the best option and it ended up being the Atlanta show. We could still get meet/greet upgrades and there were still some decent seats left and the timing was good all-around for me taking a few more days off work and flight costs, etc.
I called Lorna and asked if she wanted to go to Atlanta? She was all in! We quickly bought the tickets, bought the upgrades (ouch!), then booked the flights and hotel. We stayed at the Artmore, practically right across the street from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra where they were playing. We flew out Saturday evening and arrived about 8:30p to the hotel. There was a wedding going on in the courtyard, so we could not go out there. From what a few persons told us, it was the same place the guys stayed last year. Yeah, doubt we’d get that lucky again! The location was perfect and right across the street and down a bit from the train and transportation center – MARTA.
Sunday, April 2, brought a beautiful, sunny, gorgeous day, with a high of 81. We had decided we wanted to go to the World of Coke, so we asked at the front desk how to get there. Oh, she said, just go across the street to the train station and you catch the train into town, etc. Was pretty cheap, just $2.50 one way. Wow, seemed like a grand idea to us. So, we headed out after breakfast and away we went, crossing the street. We went to the right and the only thing we saw was this driveway going up that said “buses only and that pedestrians will be arrested!” What? Uh oh, don’t want to take any chances there, so we went in the other direction. Must be the other way? Ok, we walked, and got almost to the corner and realized, this was too far, so turned around again. Saw this other driveway/street and decided that must be the way. So, we hiked up this hill, brought back some fond memories of being in Italy. We finally make it to the top and realized it was the arts center and that the symphony must be behind there. We went up some more steps (more shades of Italy!) and lo and behold, there it was! Ok, perfect. We can walk here – but wow, up that hill and if it’s raining? Well, we’ll decide on that later. Came back down and walked in a few more circles until we finally came to the place where we decided it must be the terminal area. It was pretty deserted, almost freaky. We found an elevator and took it down. We got out, and again, not a lot of people around. Of course, it was a Sunday. However, we did run into this nice worker who explained how things worked to these lost tourists from Dearborn! We ended up buying a 3-day pass and found out you could take this same train to the airport. What a deal! Uber cost us $45 from the airport – but we did get to ride in a Jaguar!
We got off the train (lots of escalators!) made it to street level and were lost. Again, Google Maps to the rescue! We rounded a few corners and up and down some more hills. Who knew Atlanta was so hilly? We finally made it! The World of Coke was a lot of fun and I’d recommend it to anyone who visited the area. “Included” in your ticket was a free little 8.5 ounce bottle of Coke, Coke Zero, or Sprite, upon entry, while you waited for your tour and little info movie to start. We got through with that and the movie and you were on your own. We walked through this little exhibit on the history of how Coke got started, then made our way to get your picture taken with the polar bear. Then we went through the “secret vault” area. There was also this 4D movie with moving chairs, which was a little hard on your back. Saw the place where you got your pictures. They started at $30! No way! Kept on walking… then, the best place ever! The tasting room! They had these little kiosk like areas set up all over this huge room, with each continent/area of the world represented and each of the various “Coke” brand beverages there for you to try. It was pretty cool and you could taste all you wanted! After about 15 – 20 minutes, I’d had enough to drink! The last on the agenda there was the store. It was one of the most incredible souvenir stores I’d ever seen. It was huge and they had just about everything imaginable in there that you could think of that had to do with Coke. From mugs, glasses, and magnets, to phone cases, badge holders, lip smackers and even OPI nail polish, called Coke Red! And can’t forget all of the clothes and t-shirts. We got a little lost on the way back, but finally made it back to the train station and back to the hotel.
We got back about 4p and were exhausted. I checked my phone and we had walked just over 6 miles. No wonder we were tired! We ordered in and also got a bottle of wine to take back to our room. Bummer the hotel had no type of real restaurant or room service. It was a gorgeous night and we took the last of our wine outside to enjoy the courtyard by the firepit.
We knew storms were headed our way and I was keeping track of them. We woke to rain the next morning, but it was supposed to clear soon. We met briefly with Judy, Joanie, and the girls from Il Volo Miami, Gaby and Becky. We chatted a bit, anticipating the concert that night and relaying our stories from past concerts. Judy had gone to see them at Radio City. She did see them “almost” first and last in the US! Later, Nancy came to our room to get the extra ticket that Ticketmaster made me buy and after she had left, we went in search of another shuttle that was free to take us into town. That was a bit confusing. We asked at the desk if there was an easier way to get to the train station. We told the girl at the front desk we had walked around and up that big hill. She got a really good chuckle out of that one! She says no….. you go to your right and the entrance is right between those two benches… lol!So, we went her way and it was a whole lot easier. But just think of the workout our gluts got the day before!
While on the bus, I got this instant message from Judy saying there was a tornado warning and they were moving to the ground floor and where was Nancy? I said, “I don’t know, we’re on a bus!” Sure enough, it had started raining again. I checked my phone and indeed there was a tornado warning for the next 15 minutes or so. Luckily, nothing materialized. The few persons that were on this bus got off and then it stopped. Lorna said, isn’t this where we started? Yes, it was? Well, lost tourists again – we went in a circle, but they never announced Peachtree Center or anything? Ok, we gave up and took the train again. After a few more little mishaps, we finally ended up at Lenox Station. Somehow, I had an easier time in Italy getting around than I did in Atlanta? Of course, when we finally got out, it was raining pretty good and we had neither a coat or an umbrella!
We walked the short distance to the mall and I looked like an almost drowned rat. So much for my hair that night – would have to start all over. We proceeded to find Lorna a new outfit to wear and had an early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. With all the walking we did, I still managed to gain 5 pounds somewhere! It couldn’t have possibly been the Nutella-topped, hazelnut chocolate crunch cheesecake I had for dessert, was it? It was so good. Not sure which was better, Gianluca singing, or the cheesecake. Ok, we all really know the answer, but that’s how good it was!
We kept going south, when we wanted to go north, or was that just the opposite? Per my calculations, we ended up in our room about 30 minutes ahead of my schedule and had a full two hours to get ready for the concert. We were ready early, so decided to just start walking. We went the easy way around this time and it was a whole lot easier, although we still had to go up the stairs to get to the symphony hall. With the luck of Il Volo, the storms had passed and it had turned into a beautiful evening with even the sun peeking out. We got to the lobby area shortly before 6:30p. We looked in and there were quite a few people. This was a large building with 3 separate theatres. We walked in and Lorna noticed a large group of people in the corner. We walked over and it was the VIP table. A little different than the previous venues. We signed in and got our stuff. Shortly after, they opened the doors. There was a big sign that said no “flash” photography. Ok, we could turn the flashes off? We were good. Unfortunately, the ushers did not agree with our reasoning and were telling people they could not take pictures again. They were really watching, too. Several times we saw the meany ushers go up to people and tell them no pictures – me included! I did sneak a few here and there when they left their post. Luckily those in the middle, they could not get to, so they got to take pictures!
Oh, the concert – lol! Like all of the others, it began with the orchestra and the guys came out to sing Nessun Dorma, etc. I had heard the ushers talking earlier and heard them say they had to end at 9:45p. Ok….after Granada, Piero began by saying it was their last concert and we all said “aw…..”and then he said they were glad to be going home tomorrow. Then Gianluca chastised Piero and said, “That’s not a nice way to start your last concert,” and of course we all laughed. They went on to sing, with several of the same little banter and jokes in between. They also took another 15 minute break. Orchestra again, and we were waiting for Grande Amore. Piero told a few little quips on how badly Americans pronounce Italian words. Like “macchiato” in Starbucks. He says, it’s not “macchiato” like the “ch” in macho, but like a “k” in Boschetto. Then Ignazio comments on how we say spaghetti – I guess we are lazy here and don’t pronounce each consonant separately, if there is a double. Then Piero says, “who is Alfredo?” I never realized, because I don’t like it, but apparently, they have never seen or heard of a person, as Chicken Alfredo in Italy. (however, I did look this up and it did start in Italy with a guy named Alfredo – he cooked this special dish for his pregnant wife). Since we had been to several concerts already and had reviewed several of them, we “thought” we knew what was going on. Still waiting for Grande Amore. They did their “fake” leaving and came back and sang O Sole Mio. Gianluca had also led the audience brilliantly a few times in clapping sequences during the Libiamo song. After they sang O Sole Mio, the crowd was on its feet. Lorna and I were tired, so we just sat there, knowing it really wasn’t over yet. However, the crowd did not stop. I finally got up and realized the guys were waving goodbye and people were handing them gifts, etc. Ok, that was a sure sign it was over! But where was Grande Amore, and the last Nessun Dorma? Yes, Atlanta, you were cheated out of 3 songs! Not only those two, but also Caruso. I looked at the time – it was 9:45p on the nose! Their voices were still superb and I swear I noticed a few little different nuances here and there. Again, it was all over way too soon, this time, for sure!
We waited about the usual amount of time and then they led us down many flights of stairs. We wanted to go to the bathroom, but were afraid they would come get us and we wouldn’t know where to go. We were lucky and passed a bathroom on the way and asked if it was ok to use it. They said ok. Of course, everyone wanted to be last, so when we finally came down the stairs, you could see the icicle glares!We really didn’t do it on purpose, it just worked out that way. But, of course, everyone is so polite and said, “why no, after YOU, of course!” So, we weren’t really last, but that was ok, we were near the end, with maybe 20 people or so behind us. We never really counted.
Ignazio was in rare form.They had their music playing in the background and he was singing his part every so often. Even Gian and Piero piped in once or twice I think. Although, after a little while, Igna told them to turn it off. Crazy me, I didn’t want Alessandra to feel left out, so I was up til 2:30am the night before we left, making both her and I, a scarf with the winged logo! I ended up doing a black scarf similar to Barbara’s with the gold, then crystal, and then black little “ends.” I think it came out nice. Leonora and Alessandra were sitting in chairs against the wall. It was a large room, but nothing fancy and they had tables set up to put your stuff on in the middle. There was also a piano in the corner. Ignazio was acting crazier than normal and dancing with a few of the ladies. There was one girl who had to be over 6 feet tall and very thin. No one could be taller than Igna, so he pulled over a chair and stood on it! People were saying he was not feeling well. If that was the case, he was putting on a pretty good show!
When I got close enough, I approached Alessandra. I gave her the scarf and told her I had made one for her also because I did not want her to feel left out. I guess I spoke too quickly and she asked me to repeat it. I slowed down a bit and said I had made them for all of the mothers. Then, for me, the real surprise, I did mention Leonora, and then she said “the green one!” Wow, she does know some English! I said, “Si!”Alessandra said the “usual” “thank you so much!” and I got back in line. I don’t think she opened it. I also gave her a card, as I did for Leonora and Barbara. Hey, all their names end in an “a”?” Lol!
It was my turn and I went up to each of them and gave them a hug, saying it was hugs from Detroit, then reached down to squeeze each of their hands, telling them we were really going to miss them for a while. I recall their hands being very soft and a little cold. I accidentally stepped on Piero’s foot – oops! I did the same with Igna (no, did not step on his foot) and also told him “remember it’s 3 parts flour and 1 part cocoa” and he laughed! I really have no clue if they really remember me or not. None of them said anything after I told them we were going to miss them. Did I remember to really look into their eyes? I’m sure I did, but I don’t remember. Oh well… I’ll just have to pretend I did when I look at their picture on my wallpaper at work!
However, they remembered Lorna! She started to walk up there and Igna pointed to her and said, “I remember you!” She jokingly hid behind the backdrop for a second, then she said Gian told her she was a rock star! Ok, that did it, she was in heaven again and almost forgot to get her picture a 2nd time!!
We were about to leave, when all of a sudden, we realized that Ignazio is singing and playing the piano! This one girl was having a long talk with Piero, so I guess he decided to kill some time! He performed Unchained Melody. It was so beautiful, his voice was loud and perfection!Their photographer got most of it, I think, so I hope it ends up on the Internet/Social Media somewhere! We were afraid they were going to make us leave, but they didn’t. What a special and as Nancy said, a “once in a lifetime” treat! That is for sure! There were still a lot of people in line, so I could not really see Alessandra during the song, which he of course, was singing for her. Afterward though, she seemed, not sure, almost a little annoyed. She crossed her legs and went back to her phone. They were waiting for him, so he had to go back to the m/g area and finish up.
As we were leaving, I gave a little shout out, saying ciao and buonanotte. Barbara was standing there by the wall as we left and at least SHE remembered me! She saw me and said, “thank you again for the scarf!”I was so tickled right then! I told her I was so glad she liked it. Wonder if she’ll actually wear it? Then I told her we were going to miss them for the next few years. I also told her we’d love to see them back at PBS and that I would do everything I could to make sure they said Ignazio’s name correctly! She smiled and agreed!I told her for her to tell them…. Then we said goodbye. Lorna thought I had gotten lost, as she had gone ahead of me. So maybe I did not connect with the guys, but I did with Leonora and Barbara. I know there are many out there who talk to the mothers and Barbara and Alessandra, but I never did before, so it was pretty cool for me.
With regret, our notte magica was coming to an end. We went out into the beautiful, magical night, under the stars, and walked to our hotel. As I think about this now, this is how we ended the first one! However, thankfully, there were no dive-bombing pigeons!
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!
This post is entitled “In Case You Missed it” but I don’t think we missed all that much!! We have been so fortunate to have Elaines two reviews of the concerts in Modesto and Saratoga. We had the benefit of Connie’s experience in Saratoga. Myron has provided us with his amazing insight and review of the concert at the Greek in LA. We have seen one of a kind photos and videos of the first two concerts provided by Elaine. Thanks Elaine, those were a sight for sore eyes and sooo appreciated!!!
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca seem to be enjoying their return to the USA. They did experience jet lag the first few days and seemed sooo tired. They quickly perked up, judging by the raves about the concerts. The one thing you can expect from “Our Guys” is that they give their all and love to sing and be around their adoring fans. I would say the only complaint addressed by the concert goers in general is the way the Meet and Greets are handled. As noted in Myron’s review; he was told by Barbara that Il Volo management does not handle these, but contracts them out. Hopefully in the future we can see some improvement there.
The San Diego concert was a hit of course, and Il Volo is off to Buffalo for their concert tomorrow night!!
As we speak, Marie, her 2 sisters and Leelee are heading for Washington DC for a few days of sight seeing and meeting up with Michele ( you’ll know them, they’re the ones that will be singing “We Are Love” in front of the White House). That happy little group will all attend the concert Friday night at Vienna, Virginia! Have fun all, we’ll be anxious to hear of your experiences.
In Case You Missed It here are a few tweets and photo from “The Guys” in San Diego.
GG says “Almost ready for next show-San Diego tonight”
This is Piero in San Diego yesterday
Lets not forget Piero’s Birthday coming up on the 24th!! It’s a BIG one for him, he’ll be 21!! Can you believe our Piero is 21?? All the “Guys” are growing up so fast!! Seems like yesterday….. Hope you all were able to submit your Birthday greetings to Kelly for the “Happy Birthday” video.
Ignazio before the show in San Diego.
Check your local listings for the Il Volo appearance on Sabado Gigante on June 14th. I have seen my local listings and it seems that channel is showing The World Cup games at that time. You will need to check the listings for your area.
Love and luck in Buffalo, Il Volo!!
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!