October 22, 2011

Il Volo adjusting to 'scary' success

Kids today - what do they know about opera?

Thanks to Il Volo, the answer could possibly be "quite a bit" someday.

The Italian ensemble, a trio of teenage tenors, is one of the most surprising and fast-rising crossover acts of the year. In May, its debut album "Il Volo," (Italian for "The Flight") came out stateside, landing at No. 10 on the Billboard charts.

That month, the operatic pop group performed on the season finale of "American Idol," and this summer it made a cameo on the series finale of "Entourage." On its first North American tour, the trio already is playing venues as large as the Milwaukee Theatre just a month after its first full concert.

"It was a little bit scary," Il Volo's Piero Barone, 18, said of kicking off the tour. "But when we have a beautiful audience, everything is easy. But we have to study, study, study, always study."

The baby-faced boy band with the manly voices is collecting older fans, the sort of loyal PBS viewers who generally appreciate the Italian arts. (Il Volo will have a PBS special in March).

But in a surprising change for the genre, a young female following - the kind you'd expect for Justin Bieber and the JoBros - is expressing interest in the romantic heartthrobs with the velvety voices, even though Il Volo's single is a 100-year-old-plus opera staple, "O Sole Mio." (It is, admittedly, a knockout performance.)

When Tap Milwaukee took to Twitter to solicit questions for Barone, some of the smitten inquiries included, "Where do you get your stylish glasses?" and "Are you dating anyone?" from fan Madison Field. (The answers, Madison, are Italian eyewear company Luxottica and, "I don't have a girlfriend, but remember: Always single, never alone.")

"We thought our music was only for the people over 40 years old, . . . but our goal was to bring our music to the young generation, because they don't know this kind of music," Barone said. "If you know this kind of music, you fall in love with it."

Barone himself fell in love with it at age 3 when his blind grandfather, Pietro Ognibene, would play classic Italian albums for him.

In 2009 Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, 17, and Gianluca Ginoble, 16, auditioned for the Italian talent show "Ti Lascio Una Canzone." A producer suggested they join forces, and as a result, they formed Il Volo, won the show and, soon after, a record deal with Universal Music Group.

It's a meteoric rise for Barone, who just a few years ago was an anonymous teen in Sicily, the son of an auto mechanic, who loved singing but, like the others in Il Volo, had no formal training.

"I miss my family, I miss my sister, my brother," Barone said. "But I know what I am doing. I am building my future. It is what I always dreamed."

Source: http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/musicandnightlife/il-volo-adjusting-to-scary-success-132318373.html


  1. I love Il Volo!!!!! It's so frustrating though becuase people dont take me seriously when I say they are amazing!!! They think it's a joke because it's actually legitimate GOOD music unlike some crap out there!

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