Il Volo’s Piero Barone Wants To Transform The Way You Think About Classical Music

When three teenagers set out 10 years ago to transform the way people think about classical music, Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble never could have imagined the success they would soon have when they formed Il Volo.

The Italian trio, who met on an Italian TV show in 2009 and were the first Italian artists to sign with an American label, share a special love of Italian music combining their operatic voices with pop music. Once their self-titled debut album went platinum and made it to the Billboard Top Ten, they soon caught the eye of artists like Barbra Streisand and Plácido Domingo, who have both sung duets with them.

This fall, they released “10 Years,” a collection of their best songs from “O Sole Mio” to “My Way.” Right now, they are in the midst of their North American tour that will visit everywhere from Radio City Music Hall in New York City to The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. We caught up recently with Piero Barone to chat about their decade of success and the message he would like fans to take away from their music.

Photo Credit: Julian Hargreaves

Congratulations on celebrating 10 years together as a band. How does it feel?

This is very special for us. We couldn’t imagine 10 years ago that we would ever be celebrating 10 years.

When you created Il Volo, was it always your intent to transform the way people thought about classical music?

I think the problem with classical music is just the younger generation. They don’t listen to the music. If you see our show, it’s full of teenagers. We are the first classical singers to propose this music to the younger generation. Many are fans, who were our age when we started, so we have grown together the past 10 years.

You have successfully recruited every age group from teenagers to senior citizens to be a fan. What do you think is the secret to your cross-generational success?

Acutally, what we have always been doing is bringing incanto all over the world, but the songs that we sing have only been sung by people over the past 50 years. We are just the first ones to propose this music to the younger generation.

When were you first introduced to classical music?

I was seven years old with my grandfather and I started listening to Italian classical music. I took piano lessons after and learned how to play the piano. I didn’t plan my future, but when I was 14, someone proposed me to go on an Italian TV show. I’m 26 years old now and celebrating 10 years of a career I started when I was just 16. People love our performance. We are very serious about what we do.

Photo Credit: LuigiLista

We have seen you describe Il Volo’s music as pop opera. Can you elaborate on that?

Yes, pop opera is the right way to describe our music because the music is pop being sung with operatic voices.

What do you think has been the secret to your success as an artist?

The music we sing and because we are great workers. We are focused every day. Our goal and message is that we will always be doing what we do, but want everyone to learn more about incanto music.

Il Volo translated means “The Flight.” What is the meaning behind that?

It’s easy to pronounce and it’s a metaphor that the music makes us fly. When we perform, we want people to fly for one night. I think the most beautiful thing is our relationship; it’s a brotherhood and our relationship with the audience. People are so nice. Even though we have done more than 2,000 concerts, every night it feels like the first time.

You’re coming to Boston on your North American tour. Any favorite spots you like to visit when you are in town?

I love Boston, especially Little Italy (the North End). Last time we were there, I went to a small barber shop and it was a beautiful evening.

What message would you like fans to take away from your music?

This music can give you an emotion no other can do. When you go on the other side of the globe and say “Volare,” someone will say, “oh oh” after. I think Italy is the power of what we do. It’s not because we have three beautiful voices because a lot of people have beautiful voices. The result is in the power of the music we sing.