IL Volo Live from Pompeii
IL Volo have released a new DVD: “IL Volo Live from Pompeii”. The concert was recorded for PBS television on June 10th near the Roman Amphitheater at Pompeii prior to the start of a successful 24 city Italian tour. Detroit Public Television premiered the concert July 6, with the performers in studio during the fund-raiser. PBS affiliates aired the concert during the traditional August fund drive offering concert tickets, DVD’s and CD’s to donors as thank you gifts. The DVD is now available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble to the general public. It’s live and it’s IL Volo.
The DVD play list includes a classic IL Volo repertoire with three hits from the sixties, “Delilah”, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and “Unchained Melody”. Several compositions won or performed first at the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival including their signature hit from February, “Grande Amore”. There are songs from cinema “Eternally” and “Beautiful That Way”. Three songs are recorded in Spanish including “Grande Amore”, “Si Me Falta Tu Mirada” and “Recuerdame”. The aria “E lucevan le stelle”, from Tosca and a Neapolitan serenade, “Anema e Core”. A complete list is located at the end of this article.
The DVD opens with a flyover of the great Roman amphitheater. The corona of the setting sun washes over the back wall now holding up the canopy of a starlit night. The musicians tweak their instruments into tune. The Filharmonica Veneta, led by Maestro Celso Valli, fills the night with beautiful music. The audience leans in and the show begins.
The concert rolls on for a non-stop hour and twenty minutes. IL Volo’s voices blend rich, vibrant tenors and a smooth warm baritone. Despite their young faces, these guys are pro’s at blending their strengths and bringing out the best in every song. There’s a softness in tone now. Their range has broadened to include the subtle as well as the power. Their harmonies are complex, each singer finds his key, the note ensemble, and takes the lyric to its fullest potential. The singing style is either a throwback or trend setter for bel canto, songs beautifully sung. Not many pop singers have the gravitas for a 33 piece orchestra with a rhythm section. The guys are entertaining, sophisticated and playful in their fitted Armani suits.
IL Volo are at their finest with “Caruso” by Lucio Dalla. An Italian lament to the late Enrico Caruso born in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. A bittersweet story of love and loss. A man whose heart has given up but still he goes on living for a little longer.
The ride rolls into a fabulous arrangement of the Neapolitan gem “Volare” by Domenico Modugno. Drummer Paolo Valli gives the guys a rumba beat to play with and gets the audience up dancing too. The highest C is hit with a little extra oomph. It’s a romp, it’s a bomp, It’s fantastic!
“Si Mi Falta Tu Mirada” by Marco Marinangeli and Claudia Brant. A Spanish tale of being lost in love and a tangle of emotions. IL Volo form a sweet bound with the audience and get them up swaying in the night. It looks like diamonds flashing in the dark. The shimmering wave is from smartphones but could be specters of old awoken by the energy.
The concert has a misstep or two, not in musical quality but in too much editing. The show opens with a brief announcement by a voice telling us IL Volo coming to America for the first time from their Italian home. So who are these guys? Two songs in and we still don’t know. The performers pause to acknowledge the viewing audience but don’t introduce each other. They don’t even take a pause to say goodbye at the end of the show. The credits role and we still don’t know. It was quite an effort to find the names of the performers in the liner notes. They appear in small print under their solo tracks. This is the 4th collaboration with PBS TV in three years. But, could be the first for viewers. The previous specials had the singers frequently naming each other and chatting to the audience to help make that important personal connection.
If this is the first time watching, Piero Barone 22 wears the red glasses partially concealing fine dark expressive eyes. Piero speaks through his eyes and brings a more palpable quality of emotions into his repertoire. He sings a classic aria from the famous opera Tosca by Puccini. He does a terrific job extending or shortening those round Italian vowels in classic operatic technique. It’s a gutsy step forward in his career and an outstanding moment in the show.
Ignazio Boschetto 21 is the most flamboyant on stage. Although the shows are scripted, he has a spontaneous streak and often breaks into dance doing the Boschetto boogie. He is the rare tenor whose voice can soar above a full orchestra. He has perfect pitch and can ride up to a high C in his range.
Gianluca Ginoble 20 has a silky light baritone that finds new depth with each song. His nickname is GG for generally gorgeous. He is the philosopher of the trio and most prolific on social media. In this stage performance, he is now going out comfortably into the crowd and greeting the audience with ease. All three have grown as performers and people, always classy with their own special pizzazz on stage.
The stage lighting allows for some glimpses of the ruin. Piero sings his aria up on a tiered step. The camera pans out to the audience showing the crumbling back wall but that’s it. Pompeii is one of the finest Roman ruins in Italy at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s an entire Roman city well-preserved and a must stop on the once popular Grand Tour of Europe for 200 years. It’s still a must stop when in Naples for any traveler. The previous IL Volo DVD’s made with PBS offered a documentary on the making of the program. As enjoyable as the music is, it’s the chance to see these guys off-stage that can be the most memorable moments. All at once, we see they are three young Italian guys kicking around a soccer ball, flirting with girls, or chatting up the crew. They’re a lot of fun! So puzzled by the lack of video of the site itself, I contacted Detroit PBS Business Development Officer, Jamie Westrick and asked was there a separate film of the making of the concert in the works? Ms. Westrick has been part of the executive production team for all four releases. She said, “unfortunately, I’m unable to share many details”, but she didn’t say no.
Honestly, some of the best moments of these PBS concerts are during the pledge breaks when the guys are in studio romping around talking to donors, chatting up the hosts and commenting on their lives as performers. They are sweet, sexy and deliciously Italian. Footage of these events are priceless and part of the experience. The understanding comes that they are young men coming into the prime of their lives. Their talent is unique and they make the most of their musical gifts. These exchanges help the viewer come alive again with the joy of music as IL Volo are able to express in body and spirit. It’s contagious in the most delightful well, the chance to fall in love with music again at any age.
All three of the guys have been named Ambassadors of their respective hometowns. Never have any of them failed to express their love of family, home, and their city of birth. In fact, it was the first DVD that inspired a personal journey to Sicily this year. The curiosity to see, taste, and experience this enchanted island was fostered by Piero and his consistent views from home. He loves Naro and showed it for what it is, a gorgeous Baroque treasure of tiny squares, churches and steep narrow streets winding around up to the castle. When in Marsala, of course I stopped at the Boschetto Family pizzeria. How delightful it was to meet Ignazio’s sister Nina and realize that despite the fame of the brother, the family is well grounded and takes pride in owning their own business. Gianluca loves Montepagano and a visit to Abruzzo is high on the list of next stops in Italy. Of course I want to go.
The first DVD, “IL Volo Takes Flight,” was a winner because of the banter and mixing it up with the audience during the program. “IL Volo Live from Pompeii” has managed to edit out all that fun. There are a few glimpses here and there of the guys cheering on and interacting with the audience. But the trim was cut too close. Detroit PBS, pick up those bits off the cutting room floor and splice them back into the video. Give us the play, and charm that make this such a great trio.
Overall, it’s a chance to see IL Volo in concert from the comfort of home. If a show is out of reach, than the DVD is an option. The charisma and fun that is IL Volo is best appreciated in person. There is an extensive concert tour in Italy, USA and Europe for 2016. Tickets are on sale now and moving fast. Check out their website, IL Volo Music, for dates in 2016. Try and go, you’ll have the time of your life!
Play List from the Detroit PBS DVD
1. Grande amore
2. Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)
3. Beautiful That Way (La Vita È Bella)
4. E Lucevan le Stelle
7. Quando L’Amore Diventa Poesia
8. The Best Day of My Life
9. Anema e Core
10. Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
12. Unchained Melody
16. La Vita
17. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
18. Si Me Falta Tu Mirada
20. Grande Amore (Spanish Version)
Photo Credits to IL Volo
@2015 Sony Music Entertainment US Latin
Written by Frances Ann Wychorski