|Il Volo will attend a benefit dinner Sunday Oct. 16 at the Detroit Opera House after performing at the Fox Theatre.|
The first time Anthony Rugiero heard Il Volo sing, he was struck by the group's similarity to both opera's The Three Tenors and the pop music world's Jonas Brothers.
“I was amazed,” said Rugiero, who owns a home abroad. “It was, like wow! They are treating these kids like the Jonas Brothers in Italy and they're singing opera, like The Three Tenors. You look at them and it's like, these guys have it all. It's too good to be true.”
The trio, Piero Barone, 17, Gianluca Ginoble, 16, and Ignazio Boschetto, 16, won a televised talent competition with their rendition of O Sole Mio in May 2009. Since then, the three young tenors — who put a pop spin on classical music, opera and standards — have watched their careers take flight. They released an album last year in Italy, signed a recording contract with Geffen Records in the United States, sang on American Idol in May and are on a tour that will bring them to the Fox Theatre in Detroit next month.
Rugiero, who heard the group sing in Italy, knew Il Volo could help his charitable endeavors soar, too. The president and CEO of Antonio's Corp — which includes his family's restaurants, Antonio's Cucina Italiana in Canton, Dearborn Heights and Farmington Hills, and Roman Village Cucina Italiana in Dearborn — Rugiero had been looking for a way to raise funds for Boys' Town of Italy, Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance and the Volterra-Detroit.
“I was thinking, how can I get a group together that's big enough that it would reach all age levels? I thought about singing groups and was trying to think of who I could get, when I see these young kids in Italy,” Rugiero recalled. “They take classical music and put a little something into it. These kids are wonderful.”
Producing a concert
Rugiero, who also is a board member of the Detroit Opera House, was determined to bring the group to Detroit as a fundraiser for the three organizations and began working on a plan to produce the concert himself. After Live Nation bought the group's North American concert tour, Rugiero suggested a benefit dinner that would be held in conjunction with the show on Sunday, Oct. 16. Concert promoters liked the idea.
The benefit will start with a cafe and biscotti reception at The Detroit Opera House. Shuttle buses will take ticket-holders to the Fox Theatre for Il Volo's concert at 4 p.m. They'll return via shuttle to the Detroit Opera House for the dinner, which Il Volo will attend.
“I purchased the first 20 rows, center section, all premium seats,” Rugiero said, describing seats at the Fox Theatre. “We hope to have a great evening.”
Fiat is a sponsor of the event, along with several Italian-American business leaders including Tom Celani and Anthony Soave.
The Volterra-Detroit Foundation supports The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Comune di Volterra, which have formed a partnership to provide a new educational opportunity in the City of Volterra, Italy, for students in metro Detroit. Through the partnership, U.S. students can study in Italy for no additional fee, after paying their regular college tuition.
“I love programs that bridge the gap between Italy and the U.S.,” Rugiero said.
Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance (ILICA) is a worldwide organization that opens doors for many students around the world to learn more about Italy, its language and its culture through programs and activities that support the value of Italian heritage. The organization is a leader in promoting and facilitating the study of Italian language in American schools.
Boys' Town of Italy has funded the development of more than 60 child care centers for communities throughout the globe, and has been the primary sponsor of the Boys' Towns and Girls' Town in Rome and United States.