Seeing the sensational new pop-opera trio Il Volo (which translates as “The Flight”) was one of those miracles that happen when the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie, and amore fills a concert hall holding 1,000 people waiting to fall in love instantly once they hear the first note sung by male angels on earth. I was one of the thousands – held as though against my will – until…
Here is how it all unfolded. I spotted a humongous crowd milling around the lobby of Montreal’s Place des Arts. (I was still wearing my press pass, having just left The World Film Festival media room.) I stopped at the table where a lovely young woman named Sarah was fighting off the hordes trying to upgrade their seats, some insisting they were part of the PBS VIP donor group who were promised a “meet and greet” pass. I asked Sarah what all the commotion was about. “It’s Il Volo! Everyone wants to see them.”
I hadn’t heard of Il Volo, so Sarah explained that it is an Italian trio of teen tenors – now #6 on Billboard’s Top 200 Music Album Charts. Il Volo is on a North American tour. I was to discover that Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand (Il Volo will sing with Streisand in Montreal in October) and Placido Domingo sing the praises of Il Volo, as does Michele Torpedine, manager of Andrea Bocelli and Il Volo.
Sarah insisted I get into the concert, yet I was tired and had no interest in hearing opera pop-style. Besides, I told her she was turning away people and I did not wish to take away anyone’s chance of
buying a ticket. Sarah got on the phone and began talking in Italian to “Barbara”, who was in charge of these singing songsters. Sarah told me to stay at the table; then she disappeared. Within five minutes, she returned and handed me a ticket for a front-row seat. Sarah told me to wait until after the concert so I could meet the three fellows. “I’ll come and get you. I want you to meet them and Barbara too.” I felt obligated now.
When I told Sarah I might leave at intermission, she hesitated, but took the gamble and gave me that ticket, hoping I’d stay to personally meet Il Volo. “Nancy, I would love for you to meet them… and Barbara knows you’re here.”
I have never heard such a thrilling vocal concert in my life! The moment Il Volo burst onto the stage, the atmosphere became electric. As the lights beamed on each of them ascending the stairs like handsome Apollos appearing before us, everyone began yelling in ecstasy. The trio’s presence dazzled our senses. Luscious harmonies of thrilling sonority surrounded us. We were all under Il Volo’s spell as time, trouble and turmoil seemed forever banished. Il Volo’s passion, wit and delivery of stunningly romantic songs were periodically boosted with heartwarming scenes projected on the back wall. When the trio sang Smile, Charlie Chaplin film clips lit up the back of the stage.
But this was not a performance in need of bells and whistles. The three prodigies – 19-year-old Piero from Sicily (whose voice resembles a young Domingo); Gianluca (his dashing good looks and suave manner make you swoon [he’s only 17]); and from Bologna… the adorable Ignacio, also 18 – funny with tonal textures far beyond his years. None of these guys were vocally trained when they first appeared separately in 2009 on the Italian talent show Ti lascio una canzone. Nonetheless, producer Michele Toredine matched the lads up to form Il Volo, with singer /producer Tony Renis also on board.
Now worldwide stars, the tenors perform such standouts as O sole mio, Une amor così grande, E Più Ti Penso, Per Te and Maria – sung solo by Gianluca – but that night my favourite for the evening was El Reloj.
I was on a high, and so happy to be called in by Sarah to meet the guys before their groupie fray entered the small room. Gianluca pointed out his mother who looked like a teen herself. Barbara gave me
insightful information about their careers.
As I was leaving, Sarah yelled: “Come on, Nancy, you have to get your picture taken with them.” Before I knew it, my arms were around all three, and it was “Smile”. Exhilaration lasted the entire week. I had
hit the sky like a flying pizza pie!
Next time you’re dining in Little Italy, order Il Volo!