Article by Patrizia Ciava – Translation by Susan J. Ambrosini
Being able to witness the preparations of the artists getting ready for the stage is perhaps an even more interesting and engaging experience than the concert itself. Only members of the staff and a few friends and relatives are allowed in the backstage and in the dressing areas, so being there is a rare privilege. This is the time when the artist, away from the spotlight, shows his most real and vulnerable side, as he is subjected to the tension of “stage fright”, which affects even the most skilled and experienced artists.
Backstage of the Rome Palasport, there is little more than an hour before the beginning of the Il Volo concert and preparations are in full swing, but there is no hint of tension or nervousness as one might expect.
In the corridors, some orchestra players, still in jeans and T-shirts, are seated on the floor, talking quietly. Some try their instruments in a corner. In turn, they enter their reserved changing rooms to put on their stage suits.
The members of Il Volo, Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero, are closed in their dressing rooms but occasionally one of them comes out, wearing only half the stage suit, to chat with others or to take a selfie. They hug those who have just arrived and, when passing by, they always have a word, a smile or a pat on the back foreveryone.
Their friends, relatives and staff members chat and joke among themselves in the corridor without showing any sign of worry or anxiety, as if they were in a relaxedfamily reunion.
At a certain point, a couple arrives at the entrance of the barrier zone, pushing a wheelchair where a disabled boy is seated, but they are stopped by a guard who tells them “you cannot go through without a pass.” Ignazio notices them and goes towards the little family group, calling out loud his two colleagues who join him immediately to give a hug to their young fan whose face lights up with joy and emotion. It’s a completely spontaneous action, there is no manager suggesting in a whisper ” take pictures with him, it’s all publicity,” instead we are told not to take pictures or shoot videos for privacy reasons. The three artists have a friendly conversation for a few minutes with the boy and his parents then, apologizing for the short time available, they leave and return to the dressing rooms.
Memory took me back then to other backstages with the “stars” passing by without even giving a glance at those present, as if they considered themselves semi-gods, followed by a swarm of breathless and frightened assistants. Even those who seemed nice in reality showed nothing more than compliance, exhibiting boredom and annoyance to make it clear that they were famous and the others were no-one. Their angry voices resonated from their dressing rooms shouting at the poor costumers who had missed a crease or made a mistake with an accessory. I still remember my disappointment at finding out the haughtiness and arrogance of artists who had been described to the public as “friendly and down-to-earth”.
But filtering out of Piero’s dressing room you can only hear his powerful trills while he is “warming up” his voice. Then, suddenly, a Latin American rhythm resounds at full volume, the door opens and Piero comes out dancing, wearing the trousers, the dress shirt and the bow-tie of his stage suit, and swirls around grabbing orchestra members, already in their evening dresses, who laugh. His father, standing in front of the door, smiles understandingly. Ignazio and Gianluca come out and join the improvised dancing, then someone reminds them that there are only a few minutes left before the beginning of the concert and they return quickly into their respective dressing rooms. A few seconds later, Ignazio comes out again in his socks and with his shirt unbuttoned and runs to the entrance of the corridor screaming at the manager as he passes: “I have to go and get Alessandra’s cousin, they won’t let her in.” He returns shortly afterwards with the young girl and introduces her to everyone before locking himself in again.
A costumer, hurrying to bring Gianluca’s suit, knocks into someone, the jacket slips from the hanger, falls to the ground and someone involuntarily steps on it, leaving it all wrinkled; it needs to be re-ironed immediately. An episode that wouldsurely trigger the wrath of others, ends up in laughter and jokes: “I told you it would have been best to wear non-ironing clothes … better even, disposable clothes!”
Therefore Ignazio and Piero are ready first, and while waiting for Gianluca, they joke with the orchestra conductor. When there are only five minutes left to the beginning of the concert, a production staff member announces that there is a journalist who would like to interview the boys. Michele Torpedine, their manager, argues that there is very little time but they say they are available. Ignazio and Piero invite him into the dressing room and Gianluca joins them shortly afterwards.
At this point it is quite normal to wonder whether the journalists who have often painted them as conceited and arrogant were trying to exercise a perverse power in shaping public opinion by presenting them in the opposite way as they really are. These three boys are in fact the antithesis of prima-donna behaviour, they are astonishing for their humility and simplicity.It’s as if they have been able to separate their artistic dimension from their personal one, preserving the solid principles and values given to them by their families, who still show an extraordinary example of loving, present, attentive, and never invasive parenting;a rare quality. This is even more remarkable thinking that these three boys, with similar characteristics, coming from different regions, have met by chance in the same place, at the same moment, creating a phenomenon that enchants the whole world. It really brings us to wonder about the power of fate.
Then time comes to move all together towards the entrance of the stage and the backstage corridor empties. The orchestra takes the stage first and plays the introductory song. Gianluca withdraws to a corner with his mother, who adjusts his bow tie, then takes a walk with his brother. Ignazio tells a joke to Pif, a popular journalist who came to interview them. Piero’s father gives a last clean to his son’s glasses, whispers something and hugs him. The orchestra is silent, the audience applauds and Michele announces, “It’s time to go up stage!” We follow the three artists who enter the crowded Palasport hall, welcomed by the roar of a frenzied crowd, and for a moment we all know what it must be like to be worshiped as idolsby thousands of people.
Grazie Patrizia and Suzan for this wonderful article. You have given us a rare and incredible look at what goes on BACKSTAGE!
All credit to article and photos to Patrizia Ciava.
the interview IL VOLO Porta a Porta 2014 translated by Madeline Bugeja. From 23.20 to26.20
Part 4 is the feature about IL VOLO.
Nadia starts off the feature by saying, that it is 2009, and Ignazio Boschetto, Piero Barone and Gianluca Ginoble, perform for the first time as individual singers, on the talent show Ti Lascio Una Canzone hosted by Antonella Clerici, which then saw them perform as a trio, and that was the start of this fairytale, Italy falls in love with the three young tenors (TRE TENORINI) the three teen phenomenon, but beware if you still call them that (TENORINI) They are now IL VOLO, they have gone beyond our shores, and they have reached an incredible success over the ocean, thanks to Mr QUANDO QUANDO, Tony Renis they landed in America, and they become the first Italian singers in history to sign a contract with a major Americanrecord company.
They also were the first Italians to perform in the mega concert WE ARE THEWORLD for Haiti, along with all the great American stars, and personally invited by Quincy Jones, singing side by side with artist like Celine Dion, and others. IL VOLO bewitched and convinced even those hard to convince, they arrived at SanRemo, as super quests, and in the United States they are given standing ovations, they are hosted on all the great American shows, the likes of Good Morning America. Their 2011 tour turned out to be a huge success, and they worked on their second album, which has duets with Placido Domingo, and Eros Ramazotti. For the three, it is a dream come true, divided by music and international events, from the Christmas tree lightning in America to as far as Oslo, for the Noble evening there, and even here, at Porta a Porta, they managed to have success, where they had the second largest amount of viewers, next only to a popular politician in Italy, Bepe Grillo.
2014 opened up for them, by them being awarded the Billboard award in Miami, and by them performing at the Arena Di Verona, while their summer tour touched sixteen cities in America, they also confirmed an Italian tour, and it looks that the three will not stop here and that is for sure, because in the drawer they have, a tour in the east, and we will see a virtual duet with Elvis, on the stars 80th birthday, that will see IL VOLO, as the only Italian performers in the event, and as for vacations, well it seems they do not spend too much thinking of them.
END OF PART 4
Part 5 of the interview IL VOLO Porta a Porta 2014 from26.21 to 31.05
We hear the door bell, and we see Michelle behind the door, Bruno welcomed him, saying that he was their manager, and also a record producer, and here Bruno asked the boys, “ If I am your uncle, then what is he? A great uncle, Piero said. Michelle here said that he has been dreaming for twenty years, to enter from the door he had just entered from, Michelle said, that now he felt fulfilled and very happy this evening.
Ignazio here explained that with two of them coming from Sicilian families, they are used to having lots of aunts and uncles, as well as cousins. Bruno here said, that now was the time for someone to pay a debit, and he said “Ignazio” And Ignazio said “ Yes, well he” referring to Michelle here, Ignazio said that Michelle was an ex drummer, other than being a manager, Michelle here said, he knew he would bring that up, Ignazio continued to say that Michelle did songs with Gino Paoli, a famous Italian singer, and also with Orietta Berti, also a much loved singer in Italy, Piero, here said, that Michelle was the first on tour with Paoli, and with the Italian female singer Ornella Vanoni, and he played the drums, when Orietta Berti sang this song, so it is your turn again to hit the drums, Piero said to Michelle, we see a surprised Michelle stand up, saying but those were other times, and told the boys that they would pay for this, (LOL, terrible times ahead for our naughty boys) Ignazio said, that he would get ready, and Bruno told Michelle that it was just like riding a bicycle, one may not ride it often, but one never forget how to ride it, Bruno told him, to keep cool, and try. And Ignazio asked Michelle if he was ready, and we hear Ignazio singing this Beautiful Italian song, Quando l amore diventa poesia! When love become poem.
Translation of the lyrics of this song, by Madeline Bugeja.
WHEN LOVE BECOMES A POEM I SING, AND MY LOVE FOR YOU THIS EVENING BECOMES A POEM MY VOICE WILL BE A NOSTALGIC TEAR I WILL NEVER ASK YOU, WHY YOU WENT AWAY FROM ME FOR ME, ALL THAT YOU DO IS RIGHT I LOVE YOU, AND I WANT TO SHOUT IT BUT THIS EVENING I CANNOT EVEN BRING MYSELF TO SPEAK BECAUSE I WOULD BREAK DOWN AND CRY I SING AND THE SADNESS THAT IS IN ME THIS EVENING BECOMES A MELODY I STILL CRY FOR YOU EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOW MADNESS TO DO SO I WOULD NOT ASK YOU WHY YOU ARE NO LONGER MINE FOR ME EVERYTHING YOU DO IS RIGHT BUT THE VOICE OF THE SOUL SPEAKS softly YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU, AND I WANT TO SHOUT IT BUT THIS EVENING I CANNOT EVEN SPEAK BECAUSE I WOULD BREAK DOWN AND CRY I LOVE YOU OH! OH!
End of part 5
Part 6 of the interview IL VOLO at Porta a Porta 2014, From 31.05 to 38.50.
After we heard Ignazio sing, Bruno said , IGNAZIO BOSCHETTO AND MICHELLE TORPEDINE ON THE DRUMS! Michelle seems to have enjoyed playing, from the smile on his face, but he still made a gesture with his finger, that he would deal with Ignazio later, Bruno went over to Michelle and hugged him, congratulating him, while saying that in his opinion Michelle enjoyed that. We see Michelle hugging Ignazio.
Bruno asked Michelle what type of character were the boys? Which of them is more capricious, and has it all gone to their head that not one, but ? Michelle said that you can never know when they are going to come up with a prank also, it can happen anywhere, but they are BRAVISSIMI (very talented) Bruno here told them to always be humble, like Pavarotti always was, and Michelle said that not one in particular is capricious, but all three, because they have ideas, Michelle said, artistically speaking, they know what they want, what results to obtain, they are still young, but they all have very mature minds.
Bruno asked Michelle about future projects, and Michelle said that they had several, because they had just changed the recording company, and Michelle said that they now have a new family, and we thing that they are more close to our project, that we have now, he said that they are counting on doing a world tour, of fifty three countries, it is big project, and now they will be off to Russia, Bruno said, fifty three projects, fifty three countries, but how does that feel? Bruno asked the boys, Ignazio answered and said, that it was not easy, and Bruno told Ignazio that he has to learn Chinese, and Ignazio said “I am Ignazio” in Chinese, Ignazio said that they picked a few words, here and there, when they were promoting in Asia, but a bit of Chinese I know already, said Ignazio proudly.
Bruno said that they were going to see some clips of the duets they had, and after the clips Bruno asked the boys what kind of character did Barbara Streisand have? What type of person was she? Was she the type who after singing, says “ SEE YOU AND THANKS” ? or was there something more? Piero answered and said, that they did twelve concerts with her, and she is a living legend, she gives out a different image, but she was just like an aunt, just like all the great stars, she is humble, very reachable, but the thing is, when she arrives the air changes, you feel it in the air, that there is something different, when she speaks, it is as if an angel opened it’s mouth Piero said, with emotion in his beautiful voice.
Bruno remarked that even a macho man like Ignazio, looks emotional, Ignazio here said, that he may look macho, but he is a softie in real life, unfortunately, concluded Ignazio, Bruno here said that Ignazio had a fragile heart, to which Ignazio replied, that not a fragile heart no. Bruno asked Ignazio, how many times did he fall in love, to which Ignazio asked WHAT! (And here please stop the video for a minute, and feast your eyes at the cute expression on his face) (OK, no problem-Marie) Bruno again pressed Ignazio, and asked him, How many times did you fall in love? I think it was Michelle, who said that it was Ignazio that fell in love the most, here Ignazio tried to avoid the question thrown at him again, by saying that the tour with Barbara, went very well, and we hear Michelle laughing, which makes me think that this man knows something we don’t, and Bruno made the question to Ignazio again, and Ignazio gave in, and answered that he fell in love only once in his life so far, Ignazio said that he does not get carried away fast, Gian said he does, and Ignazio confirmed, Piero here said, that for sure he was the one that would marry first, and Ignazio said in that in Sicily they say that one gets engaged, he said it in Sicilian, and Gian tried to pronounce that, Ignazio told him, that he would master that, when Gian will be born again a Sicilian.
Ignazio here said, that Piero was engaged, or going steady, and Piero and Michelle here told Ignazio not to say the girl’s name on TV, to which Ignazio said “ oh goodness no, that is private” Ignazio continued to say, that Piero was engaged and we returned home, Monday, on Thursday, Ignazio said, he met Piero, and Ignazio asked Piero how was everything, and Piero told him, ‘We broke up” Piero here explained, that with their life the way it is, that is the life they lead, makes everything more complicated, Piero said, because Piero said, turning to look at Michelle, Michelle here keeps us always on the move, said Piero making a face, here Ignazio said that Piero should tell Michelle to always keep them on the move, Ignazio joked business wise it makes sense Ignazio.
Piero confessed, that he was in love with a girl, and that maybe he still is, but he said that this was a period, where there were always many things to think about, and here Gianluca warned Piero, to be careful because she might be watching and listening, and Piero bravely told Gianluca that he knows that, Bruno told Piero that he can imagine this girl with tears running down her face, knowing he was talking about her, and here funny Ignazio broke the moment by saying “ Here Maria De Filippi should show up” and that made everyone burst into laughter, because Maria De Filippi is a host of a show that brings couples back together, Bruno here told Piero if he understood what he just said, that is that Piero said, that maybe he is still in love with this girl, and that Michelle keeps them too busy, for him to be in one place, Piero said it is not Michelle’s fault, Piero here said, that he thinks he is still in love with this girl, because he saw her again, and Piero said, “ I know that maybe I still love her, because when I saw her my stomach closed up” ( Piero is so sweet,) Bruno said, that Piero’s stomach will soon open again when he sings this song, that Placido sang.
Bruno told the boys that they were not born in 1990 when Placido did this, Ignazio said that he was born four years later, Bruno here said that it was a memorable evening, and during the world cup that at Caracalla, where the three tenors where performing that Placido sang this song. We see and hear Piero singing this beautiful song.
END OF PART 6
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