When Il Volo fans around the country tune into the “We Are Love” PBS special filmed Tuesday night in front of an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at the Fillmore Miami Beach, they’ll get plenty of the teen trio’s snappy fashion, swarthy good looks and impressive vocal firepower.
But what may not be so evident once the outtakes are taken out: These guys are a lot of fun.
More than just another Il Volo concert, Tuesday’s two-hour-plus filming (for a TV special scheduled to air June 1) offered local fans a unique, unedited view of the Italian pop-opera trio in action. Cues were missed, power was lost, lines were flubbed –– such is “live” TV –– but the boys seized each do-over as an opportunity to show off an abundance of witty charm.
When the impossibly handsome Gianluca Ginoble (pictured, center) was being fussed over by stylists between songs, Ignazio Boschetto (left) asked: “Do you need a mirror?” Then, to the audience: “He has a house full of mirrors.”
As the formerly pudgy Ignazio wandered back from his own primping session, the third member of the trio, Piero Barone, intoned: “Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Depp,” causing Ignacio to do a little catwalk vamping.
But comedy is not what filled all the seats Tuesday night, and it’s not why PBS will shoot another Il Volo TV special at the Fillmore Wednesday night, this one a Christmas-themed concert called “Buon Natale.”
It’s also not what caused Jennifer Musseri, 15, to drive six hours from Jacksonville with her mom and grandmother to see both Il Volo performances.
“They are just so talented,” Jennifer said. By which she meant their undeniably powerful vocals, not their looks, right? “I’m not going to answer that,” she said with a smile, sneaking a glance at her mom.
Elizabeth Musseri was attending her fifth Il Volo concert since 2011 when she first saw a YouTube video of the trio performing their signature “O Sole Mio” on Italian TV.
“They are different from what you’d expect from young people their age,” Elizabeth Musseri said of Piero, 19, and 18-year-olds Ignazio and Gianluca. “They touch people. They touch something in your heart.”
A few rows away, Cuban-born Miami seniors Ela Barnard and Beba Dante were at their first Il Volo performance. Each was especially looking forward to hearing Piero’s pipes in person, but Barnard also couldn’t wait to see Ignacio.
“I just love him, that face. I’d love to be holding him and kissing him like a little baby,” Barnard said, pinching her fingers and making that smooshy face that grandmas make. She may have been a little disappointed, with a trimmer Ignacio no longer resembling the cherubic boy shown on the poster in the lobby.
Angelica Torres, founder of the Broadway Musical Theatre on Key Biscayne, was in the audience with her music director, Enid Gonzalez. Next to them were four of their female students, ages 10-12, all dolled up and giddily snacking on concession-stand treats. Torres hoped her students would respond to the kind of professionalism they were about to see.
“Their kind of talent, that level of trained voices, so young, is rare,” she said.
Bracketed by a small symphony orchestra on right side of the stage and a pop-rock ensemble on the other, Il Volo strolled on just after 8 p.m. (30 minutes after the advertised start time) with the title track of their fall release, “We Are Love,” a collection heavy on pop covers that provided much of the set list for the evening.
Highlights included the U2 anthem “Beautiful Day;” “Questo Amore,” an Italian version of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing;” a sensitive reading of the Sarah McLachlan ballad “(In the Arms of the) Angel;” the West Side Story showstopper “Maria” (after four takes, Ignacio never could wrap his accent around “Leonard Bernstein”); and Elvis Presley’s swinging come-on “Surrender,” which, midway through, the trio returned to its original Italian roots as “Torna a Surriento.”
Perhaps most instructive was Il Volo’s attempt at One Direction’s excruciating “Little Things,” which never sounded so slight as it did with Il Volo throttled-down to its lowest gear. The effect was like driving a Ferrari through a school zone.
The song that brought Il Volo to prominence on 2012 dates opening for Barbra Streisand, “O Sole Mio,” closed the show with the boys working the crowd (Gianluca pulled a middle-schooler up on stage; Piero sang his wall-shaking solo from someone’s lap in the front row), earning the last of several standing ovations.
But that wasn’t the end of the evening: An announcement was made that the trio would have to reshoot three or four of the songs, and the audience was invited to stick around. While crews set up for the reshoot, Piero, Ignacio and Gianluca went to the edge of the stage and talked casually with fans. And for not the first time in the evening, a middle-aged woman squealed, “They’re so adorable.”
IF YOU GO
Il Volo is scheduled to perform for a filming of its Christmas TV special at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Fans are asked to wear seasonal attire, and your ugliest Christmas sweater may win you a spot onstage with Il Volo. Tickets: $47.50, $67.50 and $77.30 via Ticketmaster outlets, LiveNation.com, the box offfice (FillmoreMB.com) and 800-745-3000.