IL Volo at Foxwoods ~ Concert Review

IL Volo brought their Notte Magica Tour 2017 to Foxwoods Resort Casino at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Reservation in Connecticut on March 11, 2017. Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble sang in the “bel canto” style raising spirits and hearts under an icy full March moon. Maestro Joseph Modica conducted a 45-piece orchestra in a two-hour musical Italian extravaganza! The sumptuous cardinal red curtains rose to a full house of admirers in the Grand Theater. The audience looked at them at first with attention and then affection in a terrific performance.

The show opened with the overture to Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” setting the tone for a classical, operatic performance in homage to The Three Tenors. IL Volo received the blessings from the original tenors to continue their goal of bringing beautiful music to everyday people. The magical night was infectious. A patron in the next seat from Saratoga NY had never seen or heard the trio. She came with a friend to get out of town for the weekend. The enchantment of IL Volo swept her up on her feet for every ovation from the crowd.

The play list for this performance is on the CD “IL Volo with Placido Domingo, A Tribute to the Three Tenors”, published September 2016 by Sony Classical Records. The concert with Placido Domingo was recorded live in Florence. Unfortunately, a CD can never capture the charisma of the artists. In person, the trio have a relaxed and confident presentation. Even their walk is light and casually elegant. The song and the music flow together flawlessly. Maestro Modica notably held back the orchestra to allow the singer to give it all to the moment. The ensemble music of IL Volo has the power to heal old hurts, raise joyful energy and excite the libido. These guys are young, handsome men, gorgeously decked out in the finest Italian suits.

A highlight of the show is “Grande Amore”. They won the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival in 2015 with this song. IL Volo bring their energy up and sing with great pride. This is their song, they love it and the intensity is breathtaking. Other crowd favorites are the Italian lament, “Caruso”, the sweet Spanish song, “Cielito Lindo” and, the finale, from La Traviata, “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici.

A tip of the hat to Ginoble for his solo of Rossini’s “La Danza”. He deftly kept pace with the rhythmic lively song based on the traditional southern Italian tarantella. Ginoble is known for his suave, smoky crooning baritone. This tempo is a challenge and this night, he was splendid.

The best way to appreciate Boschetto’s solo performances are to close the eyes and let his voice surround the body. He sings the aria, “Una Furtiva Lagrima”, from Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore”. Boschetto captures the sensual awakening of Nemorino to the wonders of affection returned. His tenor is expressive and emotional. He sings with crisp diction and round, tall vowels. Boschetto’s voice finds it’s way into the tender places inside the listener. However, he goes from serious to flamboyant easily. In a jocular voice, a patron said, “that guy, the tall guy, my nonna woulda called him diavoletto. I mean you could see the little horns coming out from under his hair. Cheeky flirt.” Boschetto has a strong presence on stage and as the show rolls on, builds more and more power into his voice.

In Chinese Astrology, this is the Year of the Rooster. Barone was born into this sign and on stage displays the confident fire of this bird. Gone are his trademark red glasses and crucifix. While exiting the venue, a patron with a lilt in his voice said, “impressive, impressive, he’s just standing there all easy and it comes out like that. It doesn’t look like he’s trying but the voice just wraps around me. I got chills. You know he works hard at that, but I don’t see the effort!” Barone is most appreciated in a live performance. He’s developed his sumptuous tenor filling it with warmth and with every note says, I-Love-to-Sing-to-You. His Twitter profile conveys an acknowledgement of his gifts and what comes with that. “Music is made of all the passions of the world, the good singer chooses one of those and lives it again like nobody else.” Barone’s voice can touch the ear with the lightness of a feather and swiftly create a sensation of being lifted off the feet by the near brilliance of his tenor.

Orchestra Musicians Kevin Cruder Cello and Dana Ianculovici Violin

IL Volo are on tour in North America until early April. A full schedule is on their website, IL Volo Music. In late April, the European leg of Notte Magica begins. They have a busy year ahead with announced plans to travel to Japan and Australia in November. Barone said they have a hope soon to perform their “Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae” for Pope Francis.

Written by Frances Ann Wychorski, March 13, 2017

Update: March 16, 2017

Viewers may read this article in Italian by clicking on this link. Many thanks to the IL Volo Italian Fan Club for providing the translation. Vi ringrazio molto!

Una Notte Magica ~IL Volo: Music without Walls

13450974_898547276940953_246444626540900406_nUNA NOTTE MAGICA – Tributo ai Tre Tenori, the latest CD from IL Volo is now available in retail outlets. The CD was recorded live on July 1, 2016 in Piazza Santa Croce Florence with Maestro Placido Domingo as guest conductor. Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble follow in the melodic footsteps of the original popera trio of Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. Twenty-six years ago, The Three Tenors premiered their popular concert in America via Public Broadcast Service Television (PBS). In 2016, IL Volo pay homage to those who inspired them to become the international music stars they are today with A Magical Night: A Tribute to The Three Tenors.

The first time I saw IL Volo perform on PBS TV was in June 2012. They reminded me of The Three Tenors, as the repertoire was similar. The playlists for both feature operatic arias, Neapolitan songs and Broadway favorites. They are a young Italian version with two tenors and baritone singing in the Italian bel canto tradition. ILVolo cross genres as well as generations presenting a mixed musical experience of classical pop.

In a promotional interview with Cecelia Sharpe, WRCJ 90 9FM Detroit Public Radio August 24, 2016, Barone said, “the reason why we did this [Una Notte Magica] is because they have been our idols, we’ve grown up listening to them, so we decided to do this tribute to our idols, but, in a very humble way, because we don’t want to imitate them, because we cannot.” IL Volo are not opera singers they do not have the gravitas. Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti were at the height of their careers when they joined forces. An opera singer is at once an actor, singer and ensemble player. An opera is grand theater set to music typically in three acts. It is performed live with an orchestra and without microphones. The players rely on the acoustics of the theater and vocal projection to reach out to the audience. Barone said, “at our age, we don’t want to be professional opera singers, we just did this to remember that night.”

IL Volo’s strengths are charismatic live performers with the ability to establish rapport with an audience. Each of them has a passion for music along with integrity on stage. Their heritage gives them that sense of art, balance and beauty characteristic of their homeland. Italians are sensual people, emotionally mature and at ease in their own skin. IL Volo’s audience is complex with an appeal to a wide age range and across cultures. Their resume is impressive having toured as special guest artists with Barbra Streisand in 2012. Popular Italian artist and musician Eros Ramazzotti appeared on their sophomore CD, We Are Love, with his song “Cosi.” Domingo joined IL Volo on this CD with “Il Canto”. In 2014, they won Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year at the Latin Billboard Music Awards. A win at the prestigious Sanremo Festival in 2015 with “Grande Amore” written by Francesco Boccia brought fame in their homeland. A third place finish on Eurovision in May 2015 further gave exposure to a younger European audience increasing their popularity. The article, IL Volo Wins Sanremo 2015 by Francesca Bezzone provides insight into the drama that is this Italian music festival. They toured across the Americas and Europe from January until July of 2016. In the PBS Radio interview, Barone mentions a concert to be held at the Pavarotti Foundation in September. In November, IL Volo will be in Brazil appearing with the Supreme Songbird Mariah Carey for three concert dates.

The playlist on this new CD offers previously recorded material highlighted in bold text. Several tracks have only been performed in concert noted in italics.

Turandot: Nessun Dorma
Granada
Mattinata (from “West Side Story”)
L’elisir d’amore: Una furtiva lagrima
La danza
Tosca: E lucevan le stelle
Torna a surriento
Core ‘ngrato
‘O paese d’o sole
Maria (from “West Side Story”)
My Way
Tonight
‘O surdato ‘nnammurato
Mamma
Cielito lindo
En aranjuez con tu amor
La tabernera del puerto: No puede ser
Non ti scordar di me
O sole mio
La Traviata – Libiamo ne`lieti calici
Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae
Adeste Fideles

The only song not recorded on an IL Volo album was Barone’s rendition of “Where Do I Begin.” He is a one-man band in this independent and innovative video. His plaid days seem far behind now that he performs routinely in Armani before a 30 piece orchestra.

13533158_909883502473997_750619870964570526_nThis live concert with 6,000 people in attendance, is supported by the Massimo Theater Orchestra of Palermo. Boschetto spoke of the emotional impact of the concert 26 years ago and the challenge of learning this new musical style while in the midst of an European concert tour. People who had been at the original Three Tenors Concert in 1990, were also in the crowd on this night in July 2016. Opera was born in the city of Florence adding to the special occasion. Boschetto’s performance was a wonderful surprise throughout the entire CD. Of the three, he is the most natural actor and able to bring an emotional note to his song. It takes time to develop the ability to express this. An aria out of context is a challenge. An opera singer is fully involved in the story when the song comes. The momentum builds towards it. Arias are emotionally charged with either anger, desire, betrayal, grief, confusion or love. Still, he brings passion to Donizetti’s “Una furtiva lagrima” (A Secret Tear) from L’Elisir di Amore (Love Potion). A personal favorite from The Three Tenors is Pavarotti’s Rondine al Nido. It is not part of IL Volo’s playlist this night. I think Boschetto might consider taking this one on. It’s graceful, plaintive and rich with Neapolitan poetic language. He’s got the patience and timing this song needs to build its sweetness. Click on this link to hear Pavarotti’s performance.

“Libiamo ne’Leiti Calici” from Verdi’s La Traviata, (The Fallen Woman) is a delightful moment on the CD.  The full chorus and symphony provide a musical experience closest to the sensation felt at a live opera. It’s wonderful to be present when all performers are playing their part. The waltz tempo and oompah in this drinking song are fun. Click on this link to review the recording made by Luciano Diegoli. I believe it is from the concert Barone refers to earlier. It is published on Sep 7, 2016 in Modena’s large square in homage to Luciano Pavarotti. Unfortunately, the soprano on this live recording is not on the CD.

14233084_958355077626839_6677795932621087665_nOpera is Barone’s forte. His voice continues to mature adding resonance and crispness to each note. In the We Are Love CD, he delivered a gasp during “L’Ultima Volta”. Domingo has that ability in his voice, the plaintive lament trembles right under the surface. I wonder if Barone found his inspiration to take this path seriously during the recording sessions. How often does a young man of 19 get to work with a bonafide opera star. Barone soaked in a bit and continues to expand his vocal skills. He needs to further develop the emotional quality of his voice. He does create an aura around himself when he begins his song. The liner notes in the CD speak of transcendence, “When asked to describe the emotion I felt onstage in Florence, this is what I reply: I only remember the deep breath I took before being bathed in light.” This young man is just beginning to tap into his great heart. A native of Naro Sicily, he brings forth all the mystery and baroque splendor in the narrow winding streets of his home town. And, like his city, he has a hill to climb before reaching his Castello di Chiaramonte.

A DVD of this concert was premiered on Detroit Public Television August 24, 2016. Fans can purchase the DVD from the webpage scheduled for release sometime in October. This is their 5th PBS special.

The Legacy of the Three Tenors

The premier concert of The Three Tenors was recorded in Rome on July 7, 1990. For an in-depth story of that phenomena click on this link and read the NPR Music article by Anastasia Tsioulcas How The Three Tenors Sang The Hits And Changed The Game.

Barone makes an interesting comment on wishing to have met Pavarotti, “He was the perfect man at the perfect time to work with young people.” His statement resurrected a memory of Pavarotti performing at the Worcester, Massachusetts Centrum in 1985. A friend tells the story of having a ticket in the balcony section behind the stage. During the concert, the front section patrons were polite and clapped in a mild manner. Meanwhile, the crowd in the balcony cheered the power of his magnificent voice. Pavarotti turned away from the posh set and sang up to the hoi polli. A classic Pavarotti move. Nobody was better at reading an audience than the Maestro. He worked, toured and brought opera music out of the small theaters into large accepting crowds. Name another opera star that could fill Central Park in New York City. How many opera stars become a household name? What a great legacy is in the Pavarotti Foundation as it continues to support the next generation of artists.

Domingo equally worked at crossing boundaries of musical genres, not wanting to be confined by his great tenor voice to only opera. The first time I heard Domingo’s voice was on the duet with John Denver, “Perhaps Love”, a song written by Denver in 1981. Apparently, Domingo’s grandson brought IL Volo to his attention. He is passing the baton to the next generation of artists that want no boundary on their voices. “Many people began listening to classical music when Luciano, Jose and I performed The Three Tenors concerts. These three boys continue our idea.” Domingo fully endorses and supports IL Volo. Barone said, “our passion is the opera, we want to share with everybody our message, that this world doesn’t have walls. That’s what Pavarotti’s wife, Nicoletta Montovani, said. We did this project thanks to the support of the Pavarotti Foundation. Our message is what Pavarotti wanted to do before he died. Pavarotti and Friends worked with different artists from pop world, he broke the walls between opera music and pop music and wanted to bring opera music to everybody. So that’s what we wanted to do, to keep doing this message.”

All photo credits to Piero Barone

@FrancesAnnWychorski2016

 

Sprezzatura: IL Volo at the Oakdale Theater Wallingford CT

February 12, 2016

AllingfordUnder a frosty starry sky, IL Volo took the stage in a two-hour musical tour de force in front of a full house at the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT. The Italian trio of Piero Barone (23), Ignazio Boschetto (22), and Gianluca Ginoble (21) wowed the crowd with a selection of Neapolitan classics, Broadway favorites, operatic arias, and hits from the 60s. Their singing style has been labeled pop, operatic-pop, and classical-pop. Pop? What other pop group travels with a 30 piece orchestra, a rhythm section and a dazzling light show pulsed to the beat. IL Volo last played here in September 2013. The group has been wicked busy with a win at Sanremo Music Festival 2015 and a third place finish at Eurovision last May. Their signature hit, Grande Amore, has topped 55.5 million Vevo You Tube views. Record sales of the CD Sanremo Grande Amore are at triple Platinum.

The group has been performing, recording, and touring together since 2009. IL Volo in English means the flight and this year, they will live up to the name. An ambitious 2016 tour began with 12 concert dates in Italy, in North America now for 34, Latin America for 20, and 12 in Europe. They bring to the stage all that is celebrated in Italian art, passionate bel canto (beautiful song), fare bella figura (style and poise) and sprezzatura. The appearance of effortless artistry, keeping it cool while working your tail off.

The trio consistently raise positive energy in their songs that often end on an up note. They are fun, warm, and gorgeous. Each singer is talented enough to carry an entire show solo, however, it is the ensemble harmonics that take them from good to extraordinary. They bring such skill to their singing, matching note for note and tone for tone creating a vibrato rich, subtle and tremulous. The sensation is similar to a tuning fork, when the quiver enters the body, it resonates to the core. They do stir the soul and conjure the spirit to lift, remembering what it may have been like to be young, carefree and in love. Music can do so much. Questa notte siamo stati stregati e ci ‘e piaciuto moltissimo. Tonight, we have been bewitched. We like it a lot.

A Wang Theatre Boston concert review for February 10th is available on this blog. Where previously Barone appeared PB IIsubdued in spirit, tonight he was more playful. A fan since 2012, the first time I saw him he reminded me of Topo Gigio. He talked with his hands and signed a big hearty thanks for coming to the show. In 2013, he perfected a stage strut with stars sparking from his heels. He likes opera and the character Cherubino from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro came to mind. “Narcisetto, Adoncini d’amor” (Little Narcissus, Adonis of Love). The sexy, sassy Barone. In 2014, he became picante, a saucy Sicilian who inspired me to visit the island and the ancient baroque city of Naro. Perhaps it’s time I let him grow up some more. No longer Pierito, almost Signor Barone. A lyric from the duet sung by Barone and Boschetto, ‘O paese d’ O’Sole, makes sense now, “This is the land of the sun, this is the land of the sea, this is the land where all words sweet or bitter, are always words of love…All, all is destiny. How could I have made my fortune in a strange place?” Home is Italy, they are here for a while.

Fan Follies

Beyond the stage show, there’s the people show that can be equally entertaining. The late comers who always seem to have middle row seats, wearing big furs and taking an age to get in their chair. The yakkers a few rows away that keep going during songs. The devotees who cannot sit still and give a standing ovation even for a wink.

The artists and theaters work together to present the best possible show to a live audience. They jointly decide on what they want from the ticket holders. The Wang announced at the start of the show it prohibits videotaping during the performance. Ushers were vigilant in stopping patrons using cell phones to capture the moment. Any fans posting live video from the theater had to work hard to publish on social media. But, there they are, little bits from rule breakers. The quality is rough and rushed. The Periscope app erases postings within 24 hours, however, there is ongoing controversy in the entertainment industry on video piracy of paid events. Is it fair, is it legal to live video stream during the show?

The Oakdale Theater box office manager said they request no professional photography or videotaping of live events. This venue did not prohibit casual recording. The 5,000 seat theater had a noticeable lack of ushers which brought out the cameras in the crowd. One fan got out of the chair and approached the side of the stage during the song, Delilah. We all watched as she recorded most of the presentation. It distracted the performers and seemed a bit audacious. Other fans in the front row routinely approached the stage to make contact with the guys. IL Volo were gracious and responded with care, but it became obsessive prompting a man behind me to make a comment not for prime time.

IL Volo have published several DVD’s of live performances recorded expressly for PBS distribution. Barnes & Noble Bookstores as well as Amazon.com are principal sellers of copyrighted material. Vevo You Tube is a jointly owned music video organization providing quality, copyrighted material at no fee to viewers. IL Volo are signed with Sony Music Entertainment, one of the joint owners. Every time a video is viewed on Vevo You Tube, the artists are paid. Anything posted to Facebook, the artists are not paid.

Heart PBBuone Cose ~ Good Things

Lo spettacolo é stato brillante! The show was brilliant. Outstanding memories are the fantastic fans met in Boston who drove 10 hours from Halifax, Nova Scotia just to hear IL Volo live. The fans in pain struggling down the stairs one ginger step at a time to hear the beautiful voices. So many came out on this cold cold night to be enchanted by sweet songs. The night sky let go a few stars to come to earth this evening. It wasn’t long ago, IL Volo told us,

Moonlight draws your colors in the dawn
While the sound of silence in the wind feels
Like an empty song

As the rain begins to fall down
Like a million tears
And the heaven shining
Through the clouds, girl
I can feel you here

Don’t you ever lose me
I could never lose you
Can’t you feel?
We are love
Like the Earth and ocean
We’re the same devotion you and me
We are love

Je t’aime, mi amor, io ti amo, we are love
Adoro te, tutto al mondo, we are love

We Are Love by Edgar Cortazar and Mark Portmann 2012 Interscope/Rentor/Universal Music

For general and ticket information click on the link to ilvolomusic.com

@FrancesAnnWy2016

Comments are always appreciated. However, this article is not to be reproduced or translated into another language without permission from the writer. The highlighted words link to previous blog articles.

IL Volo at The Wang in Boston

wangIL 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.

All our respectBoschetto 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.

Naro IVThe 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

@FrancesAnnWy2016

Comments and opinions are always welcome. However, this article is not to be reproduced or translated into another language without permission from the writer.

IL Volo Live from Pompeii

IV_DVD_FINAL84_t700IL 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 CD “Grande Amore” International Version and EP “Sanremo” have a majority of these songs on their play list. Readers can find a review of both on this blog by clicking on these links.

Highlights

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.

mezzanine_939The 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.

Hiccups

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.

Il Volo "Live 2015"Anfiteatro di Pompei - Ercolano
Il Volo “Live 2015″Anfiteatro di Pompei – Ercolano

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.

unnamedThe 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
5. Delilah
6. Caruso
7. Quando L’Amore Diventa Poesia
8. The Best Day of My Life
9. Anema e Core
10. Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
11. L’immensità
12. Unchained Melody
13. Ricordami
14. Piove
15. Eternally
16. La Vita
17. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
18. Si Me Falta Tu Mirada
19. Recuerdame
20. Grande Amore (Spanish Version)

Photo Credits to IL Volo

@2015 Sony Music Entertainment US Latin

Written by Frances Ann Wychorski