IL Volo, the Italian pop-opera trio, performed Wednesday evening, February 10 at the Wang Theatre in Boston. Piero Barone (23), Ignazio Boschetto (22), and Gianluca Ginoble (21) sang in front of a 30 piece orchestra including rhythm section. A pulsing light show syncopated with the music creating a dazzling sensory experience. The show opened with a Grande Amore overture, the song that won them the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival 2015. The almost primitive drum tattoo raised emotions and set the tone for two hours of great music.
The baroque theater on Tremont Street with its sumptuous red carpeting and tiered balconies is an outstanding setting for the young men decked out in sleek Italian leather jackets. The trio sang ensemble, duet, and solo performing well-known Neapolitan classics, Broadway favorites, operatic arias, and hits from the ’60s. Their last appearance in Boston was 2013. Success at home has kept them in Italy on an extensive tour in 2015. This was the fourth stop on the North American tour.
The first number was the Italian favorite, Volare. The performance was curiously flat-footed and despite the upbeat percussion, the energy was still coming up for the guys. Barone was noticeably still in his poise. He has his mother’s lively, flashing intelligent eyes. I met her while on vacation in Naro. He has the same willowy shape and quick, bright way of moving. The eyes turn down at the corner giving a contemplative expression. The trademark red glasses further obscure a connection. Having attended a concert each year since 2012, it was not the behavior remembered. It was studied, almost mindful movement. Barone has a progressively more complex operatic tenor voice now. When he finished his first aria, Puccini’s E lucevan le stelle, he opened his arms and soaked in the appreciation from the audience. We were wowed by his ringing, clear passionate voice. Is this the mature man, returned from Italy moving away from his once playful stage demeanor? The study of opera is a serious business and he seems bound one day for another stage. Several times during the performance, Ginoble draped an arm around his shoulders, laid a gentle hand and gave physical support. Could be jet lag setting in. His musical contribution was flawless. He shifts effortlessly from majestic to sotto voice. The technical foundation gives him form. Now, he needs to swell his song with emotion and tell the story through inflection, gesture, and tone. He is to be Serafino.
Boschetto provided comic relief with his spot on imitation of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone. The guys lampooned as Boschetto snorted, puffed, and spoke in that muffled, strangled voice. He even mimicked a pot belly as he shambled off stage. He is Scaramouche, a little skirmisher, one minute the trickster, and the next the wacky Maestro conducting the orchestra. His playful demeanor drops in song. He is a rare lyric tenor whose voice can soar around the theater. The first solo was, Tonight, Tonight, from West Side Story. He stopped the show with his second solo, Memory.
Ginoble was bright-eyed all night. At 8:05 p.m. Atlantic time, it was already February 11 in Italy and his 21st birthday. The audience joined in the festivity to wish buon compleanno. Cheerfully, he said, “Now I am legal.” Astonishing to consider he began performing at 16. Ginoble has a gorgeous baritone. He can sing dreamy crooners, Anema e Core (Heart and Soul) and a Spanish classic, En Aranjeuz con tu amor. He is Soave. Musically it means sweet and gentle. He is a skillful artist at home on the stage. A highlight of the night was a duet with Barone. The classic, My Way, in pitch perfect. The tenor and baritone harmonize with subtle vibrational tones tickling down to the toes. How soothing, how rich and rare. Cares fall away, nothing matters, it’s time to listen to music and be apart of it. Two beautiful people in sync.
The trio included their once trademark concert closer, O Solo Mio, with Barone taking a walk out into the audience. He stopped about two rows away and asked the patron if he could step up on the chair. He joined us and gave us a serenade. The Wang Theatre seats 3,500 and is known for superb acoustics. There was a roar from the balcony crowd that bounced around the walls creating a wave of cheer that wrapped us all in bliss. The final number was their own Grande Amore sung with great energy. What a night! Great fun, great theater, and a great show.
IL Volo are on tour in North America. There are plans for a European tour as well. Check out their website and make plans to attend a show. IL Volo Music.com
Comments and opinions are always welcome. However, this article is not to be reproduced or translated into another language without permission from the writer.