Andrea Bocelli

At last, a legend for the new millennium. A legend in the Homeric sense of a myth, the “word that speaks”, flowered through singing, just like Caruso, Gigli, Del Monaco, Corelli… A legend of Andrea Bocelli’s stature cannot be built through design: not even the most astute marketing would be able to come up with such a result. From then on the tone of his voice has brought tenderness to the world and his fame has increased exponentially. Because “if God could sing, He would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli”: even Celine Dion’s famous comment is a clear, unadorned testament to the artist’s mythical status as well as the perception of a gift…That voice, that simultaneously melancholic and radiant color, unrivalled in the expression of the song of a lover or a father, a matchless expression of earthly desire or heavenly love. Close to celebrate his first twenty years of career with 80 million record sales to testify to it.

The first aspect is a timbre which is as recognisable as a signature, full and powerful, with a versatility ranging from the belcanto to the furor of verismo, from the sacred repertoire to the popular ballads. The second gift is a more delicate one: life’s journey led Andrea Bocelli in adolescence to a different ability which deprived him of sight. This was truly a privation which increased the flow of an extraordinary and unique sensibility which transforms and transcends boundaries, causing him to excel in his interpretation of the lyrics, in his perception of the subtleties of musical expression.

Bocelli, the superb voice that the opera had been awaiting for years, “exploded” onto the world stage performing one song. An unusual route offering extraordinary possibilities: a real breath of fresh air in a world – that of the opera – that risks forgetting its own popular origins.

A Tuscan, like Puccini and Mascagni, Andrea Bocelli was born on 22nd September 1958 in the family farm of Lajatico, among the vineyards of the countryside of Pisa. His parents must be given credit for having encouraged young Andrea’s musical talent, allowing him to start studying the piano from the age of only six years old.

Andrea embarked on his operatic adventure, with a careful management of his voice. In Torre del Lago, in the summer of 1997, Bocelli performed parts of Madame Butterfly and Tosca, and also the “aria dei 9 do” from La fille du regiment which received a standing ovation. In 1998 came a new debut, this time playing Rodolfo - alongside Daniela Dessi - in Puccini’s La Bohème in Cagliari. That same year he met M. Zubin Mehta and this led to the beginning of a successful collaboration between them. 1999 was a very intense year. Andrea performed at the Arena in Verona for the first time where he was applauded by an audience of eighteen thousand. In October, he made his debut in the United States in Massenet’s Werther. At the same time his album Sogno was released, which included Andrea’s duet with Céline Dion of “The Prayer”, which had already won the Golden Globe Award and was subsequently nominated for an Oscar. From this point on the Bocelli legend, supported by huge record sales, was unstoppable. His concerts would find the most celebrated directors on the podium such as Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, Valeri Gergev, Zubin Mehta and Myun Whun Chung.

In January 2001, Andrea made his debut on stage in Verona in Mascagni’s Amico Fritz. On 28th October, following an invitation by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, he sang Schubert’s Ave Maria at “Ground Zero” before the world as part of the memorial to the victims of 9/11. In the summer of 2002 he performed in the role of Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly at Torre del Lago. Following further successful pop recordings and international awards in 2004 Bocelli continued to develop his operatic stage career (playing Cavaradossi in Tosca and then the lead in Werther in Bologna) as well as performing at many large concert venues.

The year 2000 marked a new milestone in Andrea Bocelli’s recording career: Puccini’s La Bohème, with Zubin Mehta conducting and Barbara Frittoli in the role of Mimì. Andrea had already played the role of Rodolfo in 1998 prompting praise from Corelli, who commented: “Andrea is an operatic tenor with a voice of rare beauty. His sense of romance and melody goes beyond the very essence of Rodolfo the bohemian”.

His more recent projects include the demanding role of Andrea Chénier by Giordano and finally the most audacious and bewitching love story of all time, Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Myung Whun Chung. For his concerts Bocelli conquered the most lauded strongholds of the classical music world such as the Wiener Staatsoper. In 2008, while his new album Incanto was a sell-out success, Andrea performed in Carmen at the Rome Opera, followed by Puccini’s Messa di Gloria in Padova, and then La Petite Messe Solennelle in the United States, directed by Placido Domingo. He appeared as Turiddu in the Cavalleria Rusticana on the prestigious stage of the Deutsche Opera in Berlin and then flew to South America where he performed to an audience of more than 110,000 in San Paolo, Brazil.

Having always been sensitive to the call for solidarity, Bocelli’s name is frequently to be found heading the list of artists appearing at concerts to support causes such as aid for the earthquake victims of the Abruzzo, alongside stars such as Angela Gheorghiu and in evocative venues such as the Colosseum in Rome. And it is to promote the image of the Eternal City that Franco Zeffirelli, the film director, asked him to play Mario Cavadarossi from Puccini’s Tosca, protagonist of his film Promo di Roma with actress Monica Bellucci. 
In September 2009 Bocelli made his triumphant debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in a triple concert where he performed sacred arias and lieder. In November he was awarded another prestigious token of recognition – the Vittorio de Sica Prize – conferred by the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.
As many of the legendary voices of the past such as Caruso and Sinatra have done before him, Andrea Bocelli also celebrates the Christmas tradition. His new album My Christmas shot to success in no time. Released on 3rd November 2009 in the USA, it went straight into the charts at number three and reached second place where it remained for six consecutive weeks. Achieving sales of more than 4 million, this makes it the 5th top selling album in the world in 2009. And these can be added to the 65 million records already sold to date.
Since March 2010 there has been a new star shining bright on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame dedicated to our Tuscan tenor, one of a very few Italians to appear in this prestigious firmament. 
While the Andrea Bocelli website has achieved over a million hits in one year.

A lover of beauty and art beyond the traditional ideological standards, Andrea Bocelli today is a world famous pop star, a refined and versatile opera singer and a passionate, committed humanist. In autumn 2010 the updated and expanded edition of his autobiographical novel “La Musica del Silenzio” (“The Music of Silence”) was met with great acclaim. At the same time Bocelli achieved yet another huge success with the release of his recording of Carmen: Duets & Arias, a collection of the most famous arias from Georges Bizet’s Carmen which shot to the top of the charts in the United States and Canada.

Andrea Bocelli faces the new decade and continues in his tireless concert and lyrical activities, constantly extending his repertoire to reach completely new territories of music, such as Baroque and Lieder works. He interpreted an extremely complex Lieder program – the international project entitled the “Notte Illuminata” in February 2011, receiving an incredible 20 minute standing ovation. This seals the debut of the artist at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. A city where he returned on September 15th of the same year for the extraordinary concert held on the “Great Lawn” in Central Park, singing with artists such as Bryn Terfel, Celine Dion and Tony Bennett, and accompanied by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert: an exceptional event which was broadcast by WNET and recorded to make a CD and DVD (“Concerto: One Night in Central Park”) distributed in over 70 different countries.
In February 2012, another debut in the lyrical world: Bocelli starred on stage at the Carlo Felice theatre in Genoa in the lead role of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette directed by Fabio Luisi. Also of this production a double CD has been made and released in November.
In 2012 also a new CD “Opera” is released. It is an anthology of the most dazzling moments in the history of opera performed in twenty years of international career, in addition to the “Complete Opera Edition”, a box – again the label Decca – which brings together in eighteen CDs, the lyrical recording of complete Operas performed by the Tuscan tenor up to now.

In October during the London ceremony for the prestigious “Classic Brit Awards 2012”he was awarded by the composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webb the award “International Artist of the Year”.
On the pop side, Andrea Bocelli has been for more than twenty years one of the most loved and followed stars at a global level. On January 29th 2013 he will release his new, highly anticipated, album “Passione” including some of the most beautiful love songs ever, featuring duets with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado.

The more I immerse myself in singing, the less I understand. I only know that God has given me a voice which allows me to express what I feel, and in this sense I believe I can describe it as a recognizable voice”... The true greatness of an artist is measured also by his humbleness, in spite of world fame and the awareness of the cultural and social function, which his name represents. We finally have a legend who is worthy of this cumbersome title. Finally we have a voice for the new millennium.

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