Tag Archives: Venice Film Festival

Melpignano to Verona and Beyond!

This has been an amazing week. How often over the last year have we said we missed the guys. Well they sure made up for it this week. One spectacular event after another.
So let’s start in the beautiful region of Apulia, Italy.
La Notte della Taranta”, is one of the largest Festivals in Italy and one of the most significant manifestations of popular culture in Europe. The final concert of La Notte della Taranta, has had as many as one hundred and fifty thousand spectators in the past. It takes place in Salento, in the municipality of Melpignano, at the esplanade of the former Augustinian Convent specifically for the rediscovery and the enhancement of traditional Salento music. It is not limited to traditional music. It also allows for rock, jazz and symphonic music.  This year’s host was Albano.
Listen to the voices of our guys coming alive backstage! It’s a calling! “Who sells olives.”

IL VOLO with Albano on stage

Meanwhile Albano awaits their arrival on stage. He tells us about the song. It is from the region of Apulia, the region where  he was born. He says, “It reminds me of the autumn song. It is the November song.”
November is the time of the olive harvest and a man would always pass with a cart of olives to sell to the people. Albano and Ignazio sing a phrase in the Apulian dialect (“Who has olives, I have to buy them.”) Albano said when Modugno sang in the Apulian dialect he was very proud of him. Ignazio said, “So let’s hope, with this next song we will sing, to make you even more proud of your land.”
Albano tells the guys, “You know that I am proud to have you here beside me…”
Gianluca responded,  “and we are happy ….”
Albano (continues) “…simply because I baptized these two..”
Albano is referring to Ignazio and Piero who he performed with on Ti Lascio Una Canzone.  I remember those performances and that Albano was in awe of both of them. Then Albano continues about Gianluca who he didn’t perform with at Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Albano says, “And to you, (Gianluca) you I baptize this evening.”
Gianluca responds, “One day, sooner or later, we will sing together. But it is nice, I can say, that these events make it possible to spread a musical culture like this of the Taranta, and it is right that young people are attached to the roots of these great events. We must not lose this desire to carry on traditions, we too, as young people, are proud to be here tonight.
Ignazio elaborates on this thought in one of their interviews…
“It is certainly one of the most important cultural events in Italy, and welcome, because I always say that Italy is a nation full of different cultures and traditions and certainly these events give space to make known their own traditions and culture, and therefore we are honored to be part of it, alongside Albano, an Apulian DOC, who has never forgotten his origins and there is also Madame (she is a singer) who is a young woman, like us. Hence the importance of carrying the roots, ALWAYS, in any situation, in any place.”

When the music begins our guys sing the National Anthem of the region in Griko which is a mixture of Italian and Greek. Another language to add to their list!

Notte della Taranta stage from the audience

Performers on the Notte della Taranta stage

Griko is unique to this region but there are other regions, in Italy, that speak languages other than Italian. In many Arberesh villages where the people are Italian, Albanian and Greek they have their own languages. My grandfathers’ town Vaccarizzo Albanese is an Aberesh town and they have retained the archaic features of both Gheg and Tosk dialects. Many of the words they spoke at the festival, I understood. It was a beautiful experience for me.

IL VOLO performing on the Notte della Taranta stage

The guys performance was magnificent. From the first larilò larilò lallero to the last, the whole stage was alive with their voices and a rhythm and beat that I can’t get out of mind! You could see how much the guys were enjoying it. Their interpretation of this beautiful song was awesome! Festivals are at the heart of the Italian people. They love them! This song is so full of joy and happiness.

Dancers performing on the Notte della Taranta stage

The dancers were wonderful! Through the dance, they told the story of the people, of their labors and, their joys. The hardship of life and the happiness of home and family! Their singing and the dancing was very uplifting.  And the guys’ interaction with the dancers and musicians on stage brought the whole story together. They brought the audience into the song and together they presented the history and culture of the people. This was very unique and the guys helped us to see another culture within their Italian culture. A magnificent delivery of the beautiful Anthem of the Griko people! Truly an amazing event!
Next stop Venezia! Talk about an exciting event!
Where do I begin…

IL VOLO being given their Film Italy Movie Award by Tiziana Rocca

In the afternoon the guys attended the award presentations where they were presented as winners of the 78th Film Italy Movie Awards. Upon exiting the building, they were interviewed by an unknown man…
Man: This is not Sanremo, this is the cinema exhibition!
Piero: But it seems a little like Sanremo, we meet, all familiar faces.
Gianluca: We are preparing a very ambitious recording project which is a tribute to maestro Ennio Morricone. We had the opportunity to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro in a music video, so we are here in the company of a great master of cinema, Vittorio Storaro.
Ignazio: He chose our voices for a tribute of the video of “Your Love,” which is shot in the Frasassi Caves, and therefore it is beautiful, this is not the first time we come here. It is always a beautiful atmosphere. Venice is a place that is stupendous.

IL VOLO riding in their water taxi

Later in the day, the guys appeared in their transport to Lido. What do we see here? We see three elegant young men who are on the brink of a new direction in their lives. Not leaving all that they are and all they always will be, we know they will never leave the concert stage, but taking the next step on their road to greatness!
What we’ve been watching these last few months, every time we see the video of the Frasassi Caves, is the guys embarkation on a new and wonderful experience in their lives. They are the stars of this Short Film. They are what makes this film possible. Vittorio Storaro’s genius and the presence and voice of Il Volo have made this movie an award winning production.
To help you understand this better let me tell you what Storaro had to say about this…
The idea actually comes from what we have been through all this last year, the disgrace that has happened to us from the pandemic, which has closed all the arts a little.
But then there was an idea which came from Pirandello, who said: One, Nobody, One Hundred Thousand (the title of a Pirandello novel), and in this case becomes a Once Upon a Time, as the project of Il Volo and the music of Ennio Morricone, start from Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by a great director, Sergio Leone, with the music of Morricone, the subject of Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, so there is a whole series of characters that carry some new message.
A message that also becomes a hope, not only in the present, but also in the future, because if before, once upon a time there was Nobody, where art enters, in this case Music and Singing, which is represented by Il Volo, the song with the music of Ennio Morricone “Your Love,” brings a new energy, energy that practically becomes: Once upon a time there was no one, and now Il Volo ~ over and over!
So we will see that Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio multiply.
When they descend from that blessed rope where the first boys went down here in the caves many years ago (50 years ago), it is a little like entering a seed into mother earth and thus forming a new generation, which is the generation of the future.
Il Volo, in this case becomes a symbol, as, not only does it enter the womb of the earth, it first regenerates the energy of life, but it can do it in all the squares, in all the theaters, in all the places of the world, and that, certainly is what music is, nevertheless it carries a great message of love.
Storaro was so right that carrying their music around the world will revive the music industry through this project. Through it the music will be alive again.
So that also sums up where our guys are headed! A part of their new direction. Presenting this movie throughout the world. It is our guys bringing a message to the world. A message of hope and love for all people and all nations!

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos Photo of IL VOLO posing with the Storaro family

So let’s rejoin the guys on the red carpet.
Along with the Storaro family we find Storaro’s newly adopted family Il Volo.
These guys certainly lit up the red carpet. Elegant in their Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos there was no lack of interest in their presence.
How did the guys feel in this moment? Perhaps the words of Ignazio in a Rappler interview sums it up. “It was amazing working with Maestro Vittorio Storaro, remembering all the most beautiful moments that he spent with the Maestro Morricone….It is our dream. The three of us will be on the red carpet with Vittorio Storaro.”
Of course Ignazio was referring to, Vittorio Storaro, their director, the veteran director who won three Oscars, including one for Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, which he and the director shot in the Philippines.
The new short, dedicated by Storaro to the master composer, Morricone, who passed away in 2020. A clip of the movie was premiered at the fourth edition of Filming Italy Best Movie Award on the occasion of the 78th Venice Film Festival.  And as you know Storaro won a Best Italian Film award and so did our guys for their starring role and their song “Your Love.”
Next the cocktail party…
Did you notice where all the women flocked to? Our guys! Who could resist these gorgeous guys. They grace the room with their presence. When they enter a room it lights up.
Italy what have you to say about your guys now. You have got to be so proud of them. Look at how they shine in the world! But there was never a problem in recognition. We in America have always been proud of them and called them our own. I hope this project will allow them to spend more time in the US! Maybe at the Academy Awards. Although we will only see the film for the first time on September 25th at the premier at the Frasassi Caves we already know how important this project is and how beautiful this film is.
Let them lose on the red carpet again! Our red carpet in America!!!
From this project we can see so many more projects like this on the horizon.

IL VOLO with their Film Italy Movie Award

We are so proud of the award they won at the 78th Venice Film Festival, but that was only the beginning!
Next stop Verona…
Do you ever feel when they’re in Verona, they are home? I certainly do. To me they own the Verona Arena. Every performance there is phenomenal!
They returned to the Seat Music Awards to sing their beautiful song, “Your Love” and to pick up their second award for the week!
While writing this I remembered a year ago when they were at the SMA. It was to restart the music industry.
I’m going to go back to the story I wrote about the event last year. “Turn on the Lights”
I know we will never forget the night before the performance when the guys went to the Arena to check out the lights. It was beautiful and funny at the same time. Let’s pop in to listen to the guys conversation:

Ignazio to Piero: What are you doing?
Piero: What are you looking at?
Ignazio: The light that is there.
Gianluca: It’s Beautiful.
Ignazio: The gorgeous light. Gorgeous! Gorgeous!
Of course, Piero pulled out his phone and started to video.
But what was it about the lights that got Ignazio’s attention? Well they were as Ignazio said, “La Luce Stupenda! “The lights were gorgeous,” but I think he was thinking about the last lights that he saw on stage. When they turned off the lights at their last performance in the US and went home to a country in pain from a pandemic!
When the guys arrived on stage, they had a message for the world and all people in the industry:

Ignazio: 2020 will be remembered as the year where the world would be constrained to be turned off.
Gianluca: For the music employees the verb “turn off’ means the end of the show, when the curtains close and it is the waiting moment for the next show, but this time the waiting lasted more than expected, the silence was unavoidable.
Piero: Now, the world is getting ready to start again! Now the moment has arrived to raise the curtain! Now, we will turn on the music!”
This beautiful statement was followed by the performance of the evening. Their choice of “Nessun Dorma” sent an even stronger message. It’s says we may have to perform under these new world conditions, but we don’t have to change who we are or why we’re here. In this ancient Arena we look to the past while following the path to the future.
From their first note the whole arena lit up. Their voices were clean and crisp. Their presence was illuminating. Their notes rose above the Arena into the night sky to let the world know music is back! The final note of their song sent the final statement. All three voices rose in unison and their voices sent forth a note that took our breaths away! It said We Have Returned! ”Turn on the Lights.”
Isn’t it ironic that one year later they win an award for the short film Frasassi Caves for which they are represented as regenerating the energy of life? Music is their energy!
They so deserve this award.
So let’s get back to this weeks’ performance at the Arena.
Prior to the guys performance, the stage was set up with multi color lights but when the guys arrived on stage, I think they were even surprised. The stage was lit as it was for last years performance. Very simple, very plain but what was going on in the audience was a totally different story. All phones were lit up. It was magic.
They stepped on stage in their beautiful but informal all black attire. Elegant in its simplicity!
As they come face to face with the audience, I could see the emotion in their faces.
Look at how these people love them and how they love their fans!
And then it begins. …
This song is slowly becoming a signature song! A song that reminds us of sadness but brings us to a new and exciting time in the lives of our guys! It’s as if Vito left them a final gift, a new and exciting adventure in their lives.  It is the song that will lead the way in their new tour around the world. Always before them will be this song and the movie which has already and continues to make its mark in history!

Left to right: Gianluca, with Ignazio gesturing toward heaven Piero on stage after they sang Your Love

At the end of the song, Vanessa Incontrada and Carlo Conti spoke with the guys about the Tribute to Ennio Morricone at the Verona Arena.
Gianluca greets everyone, “Good evening!”
Carlo: “Il Volo, to start these SEAT Music Awards in the best way.”
Vanessa: “And what an atmosphere they created for you (the audience), with all the mobile phones on, great emotion I saw in your faces.”
Gianluca: “We are happy to see you again.”
Vanessa: “Us too.”
Carlo: Us too, us too.
Gianluca: Finally in the Arena.
Vanessa: Finally, but it has now become your home.
Carlo: In short, I mean, you did an extraordinary event on RAI1 just dedicated as a tribute to Maestro Morricone.
Piero: We had the honor of paying homage to Maestro Morricone here at the Arena of Verona, for us, the audience, for an artist, for a singer, it is oxygen. It was an evening full of guests, but for us, the biggest guest was the audience. After a year and a half, to see them again, sing for them!
Vanessa: We understand these words well, but will you take this event to the world? I guess so.
Ignazio: Yes, we start in March 2022, we finally start with the world tour and we finish in September – October, from America, we end up in Japan and then New Zealand, so beautiful.
Vanessa: You have many things to do, let’s say.
Ignazio: Yes, but it is wonderful, after almost two years, to start singing again. I remember that a year ago, in this same program, we said …. let’s hope it starts again, the music can’t stop and meet again after a year and see that the music has never stopped, it’s beautiful!
Vanessa: Seeing them (the audience), as you said, involved with you, is nice.
Carlo: A beautiful concert, a beautiful television event, but there is a tribute album to Ennio Morricone, when will this album be released?
Gianluca: Let’s say that it is a very ambitious project, that with great responsibility, right on tiptoe and a lot of humility, we decided to undertake this path which is a musical project that is a tribute to all the most beautiful soundtracks of the maestro Morricone.
Piero: And tonight we announce the date.
Gianluca: Yes, because this record will be released on November 5th, from Cinema Paradiso, to Once Upon a Time in the West, to the Good, the Ugly, the Bad.
Vanessa: His greatest songs, let’s say.
Gianluca: And we can’t wait to start the tour.
Carlo: Well a great album and therefore it will be released on November 5th.
Then Carlo presented the guys with their DIVA award…
IL VOLO with their DIVA award
Carlo: I seriously read the inscription: Arena di Verona Award for Il Volo, for the tribute project to Ennio Morricone, represented with great success right here at the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, and for the over 10 years of career, which led them to be known and appreciated representatives of Italian music in the world.
And so we come to the end of the events of the last week. But….
We’ve gone from Melpignano to Verona but what about Beyond. I said the end of the events, not the end of the story. So we follow the guys no matter where they go from Melpignano to Verona and Beyond but, where beyond?
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about their future….
“Our dream is to see The Ecstasy of Gold performed at the Academy Awards.”
That works for me! Onward to the Academy Awards! Hope to see you there!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Let the Concerts Begin

In the beginning the guys were called “awesome opera singers!” That’s how they described them. No, not in Italy! Here in America!
I love looking back at the beginning of their career and watching how they grew! One of the nice things about living in New York is you get all the interviews and promos firsthand!
In the late summer of 2011, the guys were getting ready for their first North American Tour. This involved a lot of preparation and a lot of appearances on TV talk shows to pave the way! I remember watching them on “Good Morning America” and thinking this is going to be an amazing journey for them. They have so much going for them but above all they had their youth which was an asset! Their voices were enticing and, they were adorable! Every teenage girl was going to fall in love with them. So would their mothers, and above all the grandmothers! It was the beginning of a journey that was going to take them to every corner of the earth. They would steal the hearts of all who came into contact with them. And, given their age, we could count on their music being around for a long time. That was the thing about their music, it came from the past and fit right into the present and would go well into the future. Everyone would come to love it! Yes, there were others who sang the same songs but, they were not Il Volo! Only Il Volo could pierce our hearts with their beautiful voices and leave us memories that would grow with age and expand with every new song!

During the last days of summer in September of 2011, the guys were taping the “Today” show. They were teenagers and they were belting out their favorite song “O Sole Mio” in front of projections of stained-glass windows. Their appearance capped a few months that brought them from “American Idol” to the morning talk shows to the final episode of “Entourage.” The idea was carefully designed to expose them to both mothers and daughters, before their first North American tour, which included theaters like the Beacon Theater in Manhattan.

In the NBC studio at Rockefeller Center, a sleepy-eyed Gianluca, 16, crooned the opening verse, and Piero, 18, and Ignazio, who was turning 17 the following Tuesday, released ringing high notes. Hoda Kotb, “Today’s” co-host, put her hand on her heart and smiled wistfully behind the cameras.
“We are Il Volo,” Ignazio said at the end with a heavy accent and a dimpled grin. “It means ‘flight.’ Thank you for flying with us!
After the taping Hoda said, “Believe me, everyone’s going to come running. They’re going to beat down the door.” How right she was!
The theory, Arias for teenagers, the crossover dream was being masterminded by some of the most savvy executives in the music business: Jimmy Iovine, who helped turn Eminem and Lady Gaga into superstars; Ron Fair, who nurtured the careers of Christina Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas; and Steve Leber, a management legend who worked with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and AC/DC and has come out of pop retirement to try to make Il Volo explode. And explode they did!
The group was introducing the same Italian pop standards and power ballads that performers like Bocelli used to rocket to superstardom. The difference, of course, is age: theirs, and that of their potential audience.

“In the beginning all of us thought that because of their kind of music, the audience would be from 35 and up,” said producer Tony Renis. “But now we realize that they can conquer the kids. The younger generation all over the world. The kids are used to rap but they never had the chance to listen to this kind of music. But now Il Volo is spreading a new kind of feeling. They are conquering every age.”
The group caught Mr. Renis’s eye in the spring of 2009, when the three boys were competing individually on “Ti Lascio una Canzone,” an Italian version of “American Idol.” A shrewd producer on the show, Roberto Cenci, suggested they combine forces, and their renditions of modern classics were hits.
“These kids were singing ‘O Sole Mio,’ and I heard such amazing, beautiful voices that I didn’t believe it,” Mr. Renis said. “I thought it was fake. They were singing with such mature voices, like men of 50 or 60 years.”

Left to right: A young Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio walking through an airport

Mr. Iovine and Mr. Fair signed the guys to Geffen Records after hearing a clip that Mr. Renis played for them. Their debut album, “Il Volo,” a mélange of songs in Italian, English and Spanish calibrated for the widest possible appeal, was assembled over the next year and released in Italy in November 2010.
The label’s connections landed the guys a spot on “American Idol.” They also did a cameo on the final episode of “Entourage,” with their song “Un Amore Così Grande.”
Meanwhile, when Anthony Rugiero heard Il Volo sing, he was struck by the group’s similarity to both opera’s The Three Tenors and the pop music world’s Jonas Brothers.
“I was amazed,” said Rugiero. “It was, like wow! They are treating these kids like the Jonas Brothers in Italy and they’re singing opera, like The Three Tenors. You look at them and it’s like, these guys have it all. It’s too good to be true.”
Rugiero, who heard the group sing in Italy, knew Il Volo could help his charitable endeavors. He had been looking for a way to raise funds for Boys’ Town of Italy, Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance and the Volterra-Detroit.
“I was thinking, how can I get a group together that’s big enough that it would reach all age levels? I thought about singing groups and was trying to think of who I could get, when I see these young kids in Italy,” Rugiero recalled. “They take classical music and put a little something into it. These kids are wonderful.”
Rugiero, who also is a board member of the Detroit Opera House, was determined to bring the group to Detroit as a fundraiser for three organizations and began working on a plan to produce the concert himself. After Live Nation bought the group’s North American concert tour, Rugiero suggested a benefit dinner that would be held in conjunction with the show on Sunday, October 16. Concert promoters liked the idea.
This video is the best example of how they were able to steal the hearts of the American people. The video shows them on a simple stage with limit musicians and their voices shine!

“I purchased the first 20 rows, center section, all premium seats,” Rugiero said, describing seats at the Fox Theatre. “We hope to have a great evening.”
Fiat was the sponsor of the event, along with several Italian-American business leaders including Tom Celani and Anthony Soave.
The Volterra-Detroit Foundation supports The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Comune di Volterra, which had formed a partnership to provide a new educational opportunity in the City of Volterra, Italy, for students in metro Detroit. Through the partnership, U.S. students can study in Italy for no additional fee, after paying their regular college tuition.
“I love programs that bridge the gap between Italy and the U.S.,” Rugiero said.
Rugiero didn’t get to produce the concert but he was able to use it as a fundraiser for three worthy organizations.
Back in New York, the “Today Show” was not their only talk-show appearance. They were on “The Tonight Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and CBS’s “Early Show” in May, when their album was released in the United States. And they were preparing for a PBS special.
In the meantime, their album made its debut on the Billboard 100 chart at No. 10. The Italian and American management teams butted heads about where, when and how to spend the boys’ time. Should they stay in America a full year and play smallish clubs? Make one-off appearances all over the world? Play theaters seating 1,000 or 3,000?
“No one had a real game plan,” said Mr. Leber, who persuaded the families to bring him and his son, Jordan, on to help manage the group as it rolled out. “They need to tour, tour, tour, tour. The kids and the parents were nervous about going on the road. But the most important thing was to go on the road.”

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

So, on the road they were. Each of the boys was accompanied by one parent, a substantial sacrifice, since all three left their jobs to join their sons, and none are wealthy: Piero’s father is an auto-body mechanic, Gianluca’s a truck driver, and Ignazio’s mother owned a pizzeria that her 25-year-old daughter was running in her absence. None of the three spoke English.
The group had already been to Singapore, New Zealand, Sydney, Miami, jumping on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival. With the upcoming North American Tour, it was necessary to get a new wardrobe. The guys were taken to Dolce & Gabbana on Madison Avenue to shop for a tour wardrobe. When they arrived at the store, Barbara Vitali told the sales associate, “We have to balance the repertory they are performing with the teenagers that they are.”
The scene in D & G was confusing! A series of slim blazers failed to fit Ignazio, who has lost more than 30 pounds but remains wide in the shoulders. Ignazio sang “All Nylon” to the tune of “All Night Long.” Gianluca emerged from the dressing room in tight black velvet pants and a shiny black blazer. Piero ended up with boots spattered Pollock style.
“They’re very, very different from one another,” Mr. Fair said. “Gianluca’s like a young Tony Curtis or a Mario Lanza, almost a Presley character, handsome and dark and Italian with fabulous hair. Ignazio is a crowd pleaser and a people person, adorable and funny. Piero is more studious, very serious.”
Three hours and well into five figures’ worth of clothing later, the group headed to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, site of the tour’s first performance of the guys first full concert ever. They allotted two days for preparation.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio sitting on a sofa during an interview

The following morning’s rehearsal began well. The boys sounded fresh as they warmed up; the echo of one of Ignazio’s high notes stayed in the ice-cold air of the theater for five full seconds. But Gianluca missed an entrance — he had, as usual, been on his cellphone with his girlfriend — and things quickly dissolved into backstage shouting.
The next day was the opening show, and the boys had still not run a single song all the way through. Mr. Leber arrived, doling out hugs. “This is not music,” he said. “This is a happening. This is an event.”
And it was. It got off to a rough start. The lighting careened from darkness to glare. The sound mix, including the vocal track augmenting some of the group’s harmonies, was murky; the video projections — a mixture of slow-motion Italian film clips and animations — were distracting. The boys seemed unsure of exactly where to stand and how to move.
Then they opened their mouths. The first song was “Il Mondo,” a sweeping heart tugger. Like many of the numbers in Il Volo’s playbook, it started quietly, with a verse from Gianluca. It built and built, until Ignazio, oozing delight at being onstage, let loose a startlingly full and mature high note.
A girl literally screamed with delight!
Gianluca glanced at Piero with relief in his eyes. The audience gave standing ovation after standing ovation.
Next stop, Toronto. In contrast to the Borgata show — which, like much of the tour, was organized by the American concert-promotion monolith Live Nation — the Toronto appearance was the work of a local promoter, Mimmo Pellegrino. It was at Roy Thomson Hall, where the Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays and, which is about three times the size of the Borgata theater.
The Borgata show had, as Mr. Leber had predicted, the feel of an event – sold out, electric. In Toronto about a quarter of the seats remained empty. Some odd scenic elements had been added, like three enormous white masks that were revealed at the end to be swivel chairs. The audience response was warm, but it was hard for even the loudest of the recorded string arrangements to fill the big space.
The audience at both shows was mostly older, but there were the seeds of what could become a classic boy-band phenomenon: that girl screaming in the audience at the Borgata, high-pitched shrieks of “We love you!” in Toronto, a high school senior who asked Piero to be her date for homecoming. (He said yes.) And maybe, just maybe, they will inspire young people to try “real” opera. The thought was, if Il Volo can persuade teenagers to notice and care about vocal production in a classical — or at least classic — style, who knows?

“By January they could sell 1.5 million records around the world,” predicted Mr. Fair, who arrived at the theater in Toronto just as the boys were exiting the stage. “Everyone will know who Il Volo is. It’s going to be a gigantic live act. Tickets are going to sell like crazy. And then a song will come along, like a Coldplay-type song, a pop record that’s introspective and beautiful, and everyone on the more pop end of things will know them.”
But before everyone knew them there was a degree of fame and it was pleasant and inviting. There was some discussion after the Borgata show about whether the boys should exit through a back door. They decided instead to greet the public, and as they walked into the lobby, what can only be called a polite mob ensued, just the right size and just the right amount of enthusiasm. The boys thanked everyone graciously as they signed autographs and posed for photos.
Earlier in the day Ignazio was doing a sound check onstage with the band. Steve Leber watched from the seats. As if on cue, Ignazio hit one of his shining high notes. Mr. Leber smiled. “Our game plan is working,” he said.
And it certainly worked well. The crowds grew and, the enthusiasm grew and, it has never stopped working since then. The 2011 North American Tour was just the beginning of their success in America. A success that ten years later continues not just in North American but around the world.
And over the last year the call from our guys and the world was Let the Concerts Begin.
2022 should prove to be the best year yet! Welcome Back guys! You have really given us great pleasure with your Tribute to Ennio Morricone and we look forward to its arrival in North America and around the world!

Left to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio singing on the Verona Arenastage

Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Excerpts from an article in the New York Times by Zachary Woolfe on Sept. 29, 2011
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com

 

Today I would like to share a letter with you from a lady named Marilyn Andrews in Seattle.
In 2020, at the height of the covid pandemic, my husband passed away from a long illness. I had been caring for him for several years prior to his passing. I loved him so deeply, but yet, after many months, I had been unable to grieve for him. Let me describe my husband, and you may be able to make an association with someone else:
Professional singer; glorious baritone voice; a repertoire of thousands of songs; offered a chance at fame on national TV (but turned it down over concerns for impact on the family); opened a show for Tony Bennett; musically inspired by Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Mario Lanza, the Three Tenors, etc.; private in nature but a consummate perfectionist in public performance; intelligent, serious, articulate, a philosopher of the mind; handsome, part time model with a stunning smile; fit and athletic runner and weight lifter; self taught in many things, including guitar and piano; a lover of beautiful clothes (Armani in particular); a lover of all things Italian – culture, art, history, wine. Above all, lover of family.  The list could go on….
In the fall of 2020, I happened to hear a televised concert of Il Volo on TV. I loved the music and began to follow the group online and joined the fan club – my first and only one ever. As I read more about Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca individually, I was startled by the many things Gianluca and, my husband had in common. “How odd”, I thought. The more I learned, the more things I found they had in common, the stranger it became, and so the more I followed.
Sometime in the winter of 2020, I viewed and heard Gianluca’s performance of “Mi Mancherai” in Rome on YouTube. At that time, I knew virtually no Italian words, and so had no idea of the song’s meaning. But upon hearing it, something inside me just broke. It was such a jolt that I actually felt it physically. The timbre of the song, the sadness and the passion with which it was delivered instantly touched my soul at such a deep level that I cannot even describe it. I wept, and wept and wept, and realized that I was finally, finally grieving for my lost husband. Two days later, I searched online for an English translation of the song. And the tears came all over again, as I learned that the song is about losing someone so very close to you that you are overwhelmed with the “missing” and the sense of loss. It was quite literally a musical expression of grief – my grief. Without realizing it, I had been led, seemingly step by step, to the music of Il Volo, then to the character of Gianluca, then to his song, then to the expression of my grief. How could this even be possible – that a complete stranger helped me begin to overcome my deepest loss? I have no idea. But I somehow need to thank Il Volo and specifically Gianluca for the gift that he gave me, even without his knowledge of it.
Over time, I am healing. And I have begun the process of reinventing myself. Hesse says that “the true profession of man is finding his way to himself.” That is what I am doing. With my previous background in international business, I am learning Italian, working remotely here in Seattle for an Italian company in Vicenza, and planning a different life for myself. I may not stay in the U.S.; it is possible I may choose – Italy? Spain? Portugal?  All of these changes involve a great deal of new thinking, new learning, and a lot of courage, but as I heal, I am becoming a true lioness!
Today the music of Il Volo brings me no tears, only incomparable joy. I have never had the opportunity or pleasure of seeing and hearing Il Volo in concert, but I hope to do so in the future, in Italy or somewhere in the world. It is highly unlikely that I will ever meet Gianluca in person. But if I did, I would shake his hand, thank him, and let him know that he has helped me more than he will ever know. “All things are possible.”

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.