BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Il Volo, the classically influenced teenage Italian pop stars who last fall toured North America with Barbra Streisand, wish everyone happy holidays.
Not Easter or Passover. Merry Christmas.
“Only Il Volo can sing Christmas songs in March,” says tenor Ignazio Boschetto, 18, who with fellow tenor Piero Barone, 19, and baritone Gianluca Ginoble, 18, perform two concerts (including a 2013 Christmas special) to be recorded for PBS on Tuesday and Wednesday at The Fillmore Miami Beach theater.
“We feel very Christmas-y in March,” says Richard Jay-Alexander of Miami Beach, their concert director who also guided them on the Streisand tour.
The young men say they’re excited about working again with RJA.
“We are really lucky because we have another grandpa,” jokes Barone. “We didn’t know that. A big grandpa — Richard Jay-Alexander.”
“Very funny,” deadpans Jay-Alexander, 59, during a concert rehearsal at WLRN-TV studios in Miami.
“These guys are so talented, I was dying for this opportunity to work with just them,” says the concert director, who works closely with Streisand and Broadway stars Kristin Chenoweth and Bernadette Peters. “The thing that’s going to make these shows very different, quite honestly, is that this show doesn’t exist yet. I’m building it with these young guys and we’re going to bring it to the people and their fans.”
The Il Volo teens began their show business association three years ago in Italy and already have released several albums including their current CD, We Are Love. They just finished recording a second Christmas album, to be released later this year.
Boschetto says Il Volo fans might not recognize the trio these days.
“We are so excited because on our first PBS show, we were so different. We’ve really changed. I’m different. I lost a lot of weight,” he says. “We are mature now.”
“We are mature? What do you mean mature?” says Barone, still clowning.
One subject the teens treat with reverence: Streisand.
“She’s a legend,” Barone says.
“She’s amazing. She’s a monument. She’s the biggest star in the world,” says Boschetto.
“She’s a teacher of music and life,” Ginoble says. “When I met her for the first time, I was crying. To sing with her was a dream.”
And even though Funny Girl is about to turn 71 in April, the teens wouldn’t dare call her “grandma.”
“She was so nice with us,” Boschetto says. “She was really like an aunt for us.”
IF YOU GO
Il Volo performs two concerts 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (‘We Are Love’) and Wednesday (Christmas) for PBS at The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach. Tickets range from $62.50 to $96. concerts. Visit concerts.livenation.com.