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!
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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

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IL Volo Grande Amore International Version ~ Review

This oneThe newest CD from IL Volo, Grande Amore International Version is out. The Italian trio of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble have had an ambitious 2015. A win at Sanremo Music Festival in February. A third place technical finish, but a popular vote first place at Eurovision in May. They just put a wrap on a successful Italian Summer tour beginning in Rome and ending in Verona. A PBS TV Special, “IL Volo Live at Pompeii” is being aired in American markets. A concert schedule has been announced with tickets selling well for a 2016 tour in North America. They have made numerous appearances on Italian Television, and will be on the road promoting this new CD. It’s only October! Their artistic efforts are winning new fans at home. They have paid their dues and are in demand now.

This CD was purchased as part of a donation made to Detroit Public Television. The DVD of “IL Volo Live from Pompeii”, and bonus EP, “Sanremo Exclusive Edition” were included. The pledge of support was made in July during the airing of the concert on PBS. However, the gifts in kind did not arrive until September 15, 2015. Member Services sent out routine messages that the products would be shipped when available. The delay may have been caused by the release date of this CD as September 25. This little jewel was still in production when the order was placed. All items shipped at once.

The cover art features Gianluca loosening up his tie while Piero and Ignazio tussle on the sofa. A playful, provocative portrait with the trio decked out in Armani. IL Volo keep to their traditional format of presenting new songs, traditional Italian favorites, a show stopper or two, music for cinema, songs in English and a Spanish ballad. All the songs are presented ensemble in the genre, popular, Latin, and classical music, sung bel canto.

The English songs include two hits from the sixties. “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, originally an Italian composition by Pino Donnaggio and Vito Pallavicini. Dusty Springfield had a big hit with it in 1966. The Rolling Stone Magazine listed this as 49 on The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. “Delilah” by Barry Mason and Les Reed was a hit for Tom Jones in 1968. It reached 15 on the Billboard Top 100. IL Volo give terrific high energy performances, rocking them right off the CD.

The show stopper may be the cover of the well-known Neapolitan song “Volare” or “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu” by Domenico Modugno. This was performed at Sanremo in 1958. It was Song of the Year and won Modugno a Grammy for Record of the Year. The musical arrangement is dazzling with skillfully played percussion and strings. It’s hard not to want to move to the energetic rhythms. What a wow! What fun!

A shout out to Paolo Valli, Ceseare Chiodo and Mattia Tedesco. They appear on 11 songs bringing an outstanding musical arrangement to each. The percussion and strings are the backbone of this CD. The meter shifts, movements, and bridges are smooth. The singers are well supported. A key strength on this CD is the harmonious blend of timing between singer and instruments. Nothing is rushed. The singers match emotion with emotion.

Grande AmoreoooOf all the compositions presented, three stood out as exceptional: “Per Te Ci Saro”, “Caruso”, “Beautiful That Way”. The songs are fun, passionate, and sweet. The weave of the voices with the music are IL Volo at their best here. Per Te Ci Saro(I’ll Be There for You) is an adaptation of the song “Heroes” by Sommerdahl, Fitzgerald and Horn originally sung by Japanese singer Ayaka Hirahara. IL Volo have a knack for finding popular songs and changing the arrangement to their forte. It’s smoothly done and stands out for complete musicality. Bravi a tutti.

IL Volo are dedicated to winning new fans with their sound. They have a habit for finding life in dusty old tunes. A song is never old, it just needs a little love to bring out the best in it. Piero, Ignazio, and Gianluca bring texture, feeling and energy to all their songs. They sing from the heart and are dedicated to bringing what they have to the world. Now they have a signature song in “Grande Amore”. The theme of this CD is we are here, we are now and we are on the way up.

Look for the new CD on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Check out IL Volo Music for concert dates in 2016.

As written by Frances Ann Wychorski

Play List
1. Grande Amore
2. La Vita
3. Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
4. Quando L’Amore Diventa Poesia
5. Per Te Ci Saro
6. Aspettero
7. L’Amore Si Muove
8. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
9. Eternally
10. Si Me Falta Tu Mirada
11. Delilah
12. L’immensità (2015 Version)
13. Caruso
14. The Best Day of My Life
15. Beautiful That Way (La Vita È Bella)
16. Piove (2015 Version)

IL Volo Grande Amore International Version
Sony Music Latin
@2015 Sony Music Entertainment Italy
Release date September 25, 2015