Al Bano and Romina Power: Italian happiness

  • Al Bano and Romina Power met on the set of a teenage musical. She was 16 and he was 24. Their relationship was controversial
  • Born in Los Angeles, Romina Power was the daughter of Hollywood actors. Al Bano was born into a peasant family in Apulli – one of the poorest areas of Italy
  • “26 years of paradise and 5 years of hell,” Al Bano summed up his marriage to Power. The event that destroyed the happy relationship involved the couple’s eldest daughter
  • Despite the tragedy and the painful separation, they have not disappeared from the scene. They still appear in a duet
  • More similar texts can be found on the Onet homepage

The text was first published in 2019, when information emerged that Al Bano and Romina Power were preparing another joint project.

But it was a love story: cinematic, with mandatory obstacles along the way and a happy ending. They met on the set of the teenage musical “Nel Sole”. Romina Power, who was only 16 years old, was a promising actress, and Albano Carissi, a 24-year-old in love with opera, already had his first singing successes. The feeling has blossomed just like between the characters they played. However, their relationship was controversial and the age difference was the least of the problem. Albano and Romina came from different worlds and according to many committed a misalliance.

Born in Los Angeles, Romina Power was the daughter of Hollywood actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian. She grew up surrounded by splendor and luxury. After her father’s death, she lived with her mother and sister in Europe (mainly in Italy and Spain), and went to school in England. She quickly followed in her parents’ footsteps and began appearing in front of the camera on Italian film sets. Albano Carissi was born into a farming family in Apulli, one of the poorest areas of Italy. His first contact and the source of his fascination with music are his father’s folk songs. At the age of 16, he went up north to earn some extra money and help his family. In Milan, where he ended up, he sometimes slept at the train station and took various jobs – working as a laborer and then as a waiter. After getting a little taste of life in a big city, he started going to castings. This natural talent was quickly discovered by the icon of Italian popular music – Adriano Celentano, who slightly changed the name of the boy from the south (Al Bano) and opened the door to his career. Despite engagements in musicals and a recorded single, Al Bano stuck to his job and continued to serve pizza and pasta.

Romina Power and Al Bano (1980)Romina Power and Al Bano (1980) – Helmut Reiss/United Archives/Getty Images

After the young performers met, Al Bano suddenly gained popularity – his single “Nel sole” climbed to the top of the Italian charts. Yet he was still almost a pauper to the wealthy family. Fortunately, love won and after three years of knowing Albano and Romina they got married. Soon after, the young spouses also joined the artistic relationship. Initially, Albano, who had already released two albums and had minor successes at the Sanremo festival, wrote songs for his wife. In the mid-1970s, when the couple’s two children were growing up, Al Bano (as that was his artistic pseudonym) and Romina Power took the stage together.

Albano and Romina had it all – they were young, in love and happy, with a romantic story in the background, beautiful children, lots of money and talent. So they were perfect for new European idols. They immediately made a career in Italy, so their compatriots sent them to the Eurovision Song Contest, where they took a decent seventh place. Their European breakthrough came in the early 1980s when the pair released the single “Sharazan”. The spouses sang about happiness and dreams that found fulfillment in a romantic relationship, and Europe went wild. Another single – “Felicita” or simply “Happiness”, came second in Sanremo (Italian Opole) and sold more than six million copies worldwide.

Al Bano and Romina Power’s songs were more suited to concert halls and amphitheaters than discos, but they are considered precursors to italo disco for a reason. The key to the duo’s success was the incredible melodicity and hitness of their songs. Everyone could and wanted to hum them, and the language barrier was no problem. A married couple recorded Spanish and French versions of their albums and before the Eurovision Song Contest they also had songs in English, but it was their Italian songs that went down in the world pop music history.

26 years of paradise and 5 years of hell – that’s how Albano summed up his marriage to Power. The event that destroyed the happy relationship involved Albano and Romina’s eldest daughter, Ylenia Carissi. As a teenager, Ylenia had a few episodes on camera, but in the future she wanted to be a writer – she studied literature at King’s College in London. Like many college students, the 23-year-old was backpacking on vacation. She liked the idea of ​​a world tour so much that she took a break from college and sold her stuff to fund an amazing trip. After a few months in South and Central America, it reached New Orleans, USA in December 1993. It was last seen in the French Quarter shortly after the New Year of 1994, then it was lost.

Ylenia Carrisi, Romina Power and Albano Carrisi in the early 1990s.Ylenia Carrisi, Romina Power and Albano Carrisi early 90s – Helmut Reiss/United Archives/Getty Images

The services, private investigators and the media were involved in the search, which, thanks to Ylenia’s famous family, paid more attention to the case than to “standard” disappearances. The American media enjoyed describing the tragedy of “Cher and Sonny Bono of Italy”, and over the years new hypotheses emerged about Ylenia’s fate – she was seen all over the world and she is said to have joined a religious order in Arizona. Albano Carissi believes in the version that Ylenia jumped into the Mississippi under the influence of drugs and drowned. Although the body has never been found, her father filed an application in 2013 to declare her dead. Romina Power never accepted this possibility and still believes that her oldest daughter is still alive.

In an open letter published in 1999 in the Italian magazine “Oggi”, Carissi explained that immediately after the disappearance of his daughter, he felt that their family had come to an end and that the woman who had been his wife for 26 years was drastically had changed – Romina he loved just ceased to exist. It was during this difficult period that the duo first came to Poland and gave a recital at the Sopot festival in 1997. They last performed together a few months later, at the World Meeting of Families in Rio de Janeiro, where they premiered the song “Al mondo siamo noi” for Pope John Paul II. Apparently, at the time, they were still trying to save their marriage and they ended up painfully splitting up.

Neither spouse has ever given up on their personal artistic ambitions. Al Bano returned to releasing solo albums during his marriage and according to many critics, the album “Concerto Classico” is the best of his career. Romina Power returned to the camera, and after the divorce from Carrissi, she became a TV presenter and personality, including judging in the Italian “Dancing with the Stars”. Power also had aspirations for writing and painting, but its implementation in Italy was difficult – on the Apennine peninsula, the singer was mainly seen through the prism of a pop duo and her missing daughter.

The solution was to move to my homeland, that is, the United States. In addition to the sheer amount of opportunities, America also offers disappointments. The big European star there was only the daughter of Hollywood celebrities of yesteryear and an anonymous singer from abroad, even though the media once called her the European Cher. In 2007, Power had a small part in Abel Ferrera’s “Go Go Tales”, but that’s where it ended. After that, Romina disappeared from public life for a few years and devoted herself to caring for her dying mother. The media published superficial information about alleged financial conflicts between former spouses.

However, after 16 years apart, something unexpected happened: Al Bano and Romina Power would be back on the same stage to celebrate Carrissi’s 70th birthday. In October 2013, two anniversary concerts took place in Moscow and tickets sold out quickly. The one-off performance eventually became the duo’s permanent return. Fans and tabloids began to speculate about the causes. The romantics saw a revival, witness the fact that Al Bano is still not married to Loredana Lecisso, with whom he has two children. The interested person himself commented on the matter rather reluctantly – there was not enough time for the wedding, and the return of the cult duo was a gift to the loyal fans. The soulful and faithful artist also mentioned reconciliation. Possibly the two artists wanted to warm up in the glow of their former popularity. The reactivation was warmly welcomed in Europe.

What’s next? In 2015, they performed in the amphitheater of Verona, playing their greatest hits with other Italian pop stars. Then their album “The Very Best – Live aus Verona” was released in Germany. a new song, two previously released solo songs and concert versions. In November 2017, Al Bano announced his retirement from which he later retired. In 2018, the duo’s latest collection of songs was released, “Magic Reunion Live”, with Al Bano and Romina Power presenting versions of their greatest hits.

In 2020 they were again at the Sanremo festival. They do not disappear from the stage – the Italians could see them in the popular talent show “Amici di Maria De Filippi”.

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