Il Volo Italian music
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Il Volo, the Italian opera phenomenon

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Last Updated on April 11, 2021 by Helga Dosa

The 2015 edition of the Festival di Sanremo was a crucial moment for Il Volo. Finally, the young trio triumphed. They didn’t just win the musical competition of the Festival of Sanremo, but they won over the hearts of Italians too!

Everyone forgot the critics and the controversies of the 2015 Festival of Sanremo. Like Conchita Wurst as a guest, Gianna Nannini’s wrong notes during her exhibition, and the iffy phone voting-system. For some reason, Il Volo continued to be the center of the critiques, despite their charm and beautiful voices.


Il Volo members – Il Volo singers

How it all begun?

In recent years, reality shows invaded Italy almost as much as they did in the US. It was one of these talent competitions, Ti Lascio una Canzone,  that initiated the journey of the trio. In fact, they participated in the competition separately but were asked to become a trio. And they are together ever since!

Il Volo Italian music
A young trio via Style Corriere

The three young Italian singers, two tenors (Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto), and one baritone (Gianluca Ginoble) were not only talented but were able to link classic style with a modern touch in their music. This allowed them to appeal to a wide range of age groups and become famous worldwide. With their youthful vitality, the trio appealed to both old generations and the young ones. They performed classic songs while being approachable and talented.

The trio, made by Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble (two from Sicily, the third from Abruzzo) gained popularity in Italy as soon as they appeared on tv. However, they became more famous in other countries as they are in Italy.

Still, their freshness and energy wouldn’t have been enough! The trio of Il Volo owes its success to the singer, composer, and producer Tony Renis, the mogul of Italian music. For example, he was the author of the famous Italian song: “Quando…Quando.”

Il Volo reaching the United States

Renis had connections in the American entertainment world. Rumor has it that he was the one who noticed the three kids on the show Ti Lascio una Canzone. There he came up with the idea of combining them into a trio.

Why is this important in Il Volo’s history? To understand what happened after the victory at the Festival of Sanremo’s 2015 we must dig deeper!

After the trio found success in Italy, the singers decided to take over the US. First, they appeared on American Idol. Then, they performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. That’s when the big break happened. Il Volo became a success in the United States. In fact, they became bigger in America than they were in Italy! The trio represented the idea of Italian quality music abroad, a bit like Andrea Bocelli had been doing since the mid-90s.

Il Volo O Sole Mio

Il Volo singing O Sole Mio (when they were at the age of 14,15, and 16

Il Volo’s success in the US was huge! They conquered quickly the top 10 also in South America and many parts of Europe. Tours and tv apparitions came flocking until December 2014. When their participation in the 65th Festival di Sanremo was officialized. For these young men already well used to success, the Festival was to chance once again to glitter their career!

Perchè Sanremo è Sanremo!

The Festival was born in 1950, but it’s still relevant today. The rules have changed and so have the melodies, but Sanremo is Sanremo indeed. An appointment Italians never miss. For the music as well as the gossip.

As the industry has changed, in recent years many performers have come from talent shows. They are not household names anymore. However, the show keeps on being extremely successful in spite of it all.  The 2015 edition has been the most followed of the past years, with an overall average share of 48%.

During the second performance of ll Volo, the trio gained a standing ovation. Everyone seemed to know it: they were going to wine. Despite the fierce competition, from names such as Nek, Raf, and the Dear Jack – them being a product of Amici by Maria de Filippi,

The critics of Il Volo

Not everyone was happy with the winning of Il Volo at Sanremo 2015. Twitter was quick to pick on controversies. As the show was still ongoing when tweeters started to post their televote for Nek, these last votes were not accepted. Due to this, Nek gained 35% of the votes, while Il Volo gained 39%.

Italians and voters complained about this issue, which Sanremo attributed to a system glitch. Conspiracy or truth? We’ll never know…

More criticism came for the ringraziamenti (acknowledgments) after the victory. Il Volo was clearly emotional, but the trio didn’t mention someone. They received a lot of criticism for their grazie Italia (thank you, Italy!) uttered first by Piero, then echoed by the other two. The singers forgot the mention their mentor, Toni Renis. And this was another trigger of criticism for the young trio…

Italians didn’t listen to the critics much because they loved the “bel canto” of the trio. To music critics, Il Volo was old new, at least from a creative point of view. But, to the wide audience, they were an instant hit.

After Sanremo 2015 – Il Volo Grande Amore

The winner song: Il Volo – Grande Amore

Right after the Festival of Sanremo 2015, Il Volo won the third place at Eurovision with their most famous song, the Grande Amore. The story then continued…

Looking at the career of this trio, it seems like they never stopped! After their victory at Sanremo, they released the album L’Amore si muove. And the collection of hits The Platinum Collection. They went on tours and they stayed on tours until 2020.

Il Volo- L’amore si muove

During those five years, the trio released two more albums and they even found time for a movie titled Un amore così grande. Since Sanremo, Il Volo keeps winning over the hearts of many all around the world. They had every year grand tours in the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia.

The on-screen debut of Il Volo

The director of the 2018 movie was Cristian De Mattheis. As he said in an interview with the magazine TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, the plot charmed it from the beginning.

“A love story, the Opera, Verona. The city of Romeo and Juliet, of the Arena. A boy and girl, so classic yet so difficult to show on film. I accepted the challenge.” 

The two actors who played the couple were Giuseppe Maggio and Francesca Loy. But Il Volo made its appearance too. Although the director wasn’t immediately convinced. De Mattheis had never been to their concerts and he had never listened to the trio’s albums. He was skeptical, obviously. But it’s that same skepticism that made them work together in harmony. The fans of Il Volo loved it! It was a romantic movie, with their three idols. 


The 10-year anniversary of Il Volo

One year after the movie, Il Volo celebrated 10 years of their career. In 2019, the trio blew the candles with a concert in the gorgeous Matera. They sang, cried, and remembered. They homaged their fans and their music. It was a triumph for this young and successful trio!

“Reaching the US was our dream, but Italy gave us the biggest emotions. Ever since that one time, at Sanremo,” said Il Volo on stage.

The Matera celeration

Some remarkable Il Volo Songs from the past years

In the past years, Il Volo continued producing some amazing songs, such as the Musica che resta (2019) which was seen on Youtube by more than 25 million people.

Il Volo – Musica che resta

However one of the most amazing albums they had the past years is definitely the Nessun Dorma. This album embraces the beauty of the Italian opera, being also a Tribut to the Three Tenors.

Who are the three tenors? We all know them! The amazing trio of Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras. They together won over the heart of the world in the 90s’ and in their memory and respect, Il Volo launched the album of Nessun Dorma with Placibo Domingo himself. He also joined the trio of Il Volo on their tour in Italy.

Il Volo and Placido Domingo – Nessun Dorma in Florence, Italy

Stay Tuned in Life in Italy as we’ll be following the journey of the Italian singers in the future!

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