Born in Lajatico, Italy in 1958 Andrea was something of a prodigy who became adept at playing many instruments and mimicking the great aria singers of the era long before he left school. Having won numerous competitions he might have been devastated by an accident that cost him his sight but undeterred continued his studies in the law and earned extra money by singing in piano bars. In 1992 Italian rock star Zucchero hooked the young Andrea up with Pavarotti to record a demo version of “Miserere” and then took the rising star on tour with him. He was signed to Sugar Music in Milan on the strength of that demo and a version of “Nessus Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot.
Festival appearances and crossover classical pop events followed and Bocelli recorded his hugely influential debut Il mare calmo della sera in 1994 with the title cut becoming an immediate signature piece that will later be found on his early collection Romanza (1997) and The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere (2007). Either of these discs is a perfect initiation point for the new listener but the individual albums are so superb it’s a shame to stop there.
Bocelli (1995) was a smash hit in Europe, particularly in Germany, largely thanks to the airplay afforded to “Con te partiro” and “Viva per lei.” The combination of light opera and popular fusion had him established now but Viaggio Italiano (1997) is a purely classical affair that features arias from Verdi, the Neapolitan Salvatore Gambardella, and Donizetti, amongst others, as well as a gloriously triumphant Italian language interpretation of “O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste fideles”). Romanza, a hits-plus disc that is completely recommended for its stunning mixture of duets and rhapsodies, follows this best seller. Platinum in every territory where it made the top ten or higher -Romanza is a genuine classic.
Aria: The Opera Album and Sogno are examples of the man’s appeal to different markets. One is a stand up and holler operatic masterpiece, the other is a crossover disc that interpolates Ennio Morricone, Eros Ramazzotti and Mauro Malavasi and finds space for the single hit “The Prayer” from the Midas team – David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager – with Celine Dion along for good measure.
More precious metal sales ensued as they did for Sacred Arias, Verdi and Cieli di Toscana – the latter being Andrea’s biggest selling album in the UK to that point and one of the fastest moving discs in any field in history. Sentimento ensured the UK crumbled again and Bocelli picked up two Classical Brit Awards in 2003 and embarked on a concert season with the London Symphony Orchestra.
The more pop inflected Andrea and the genius easy listening of Amore are two more discs we urge you to check out. The latter features a version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and finds Andrea working with Christina Aguilera on “Somos Novios (It’s Impossible)”, reaching out yet again to a younger audience and a more urban crowd. We’re still digging his take on “Besame Mucho” and the Mexican bolero “Solamente Una Vez”.
The Best of arrives in 2007 and it’s a lovely thing of course with a smart cherry-pick on the tried and tested. But to vary the mood do try Incanto, a love letter to the romantic Neapolitan songs of Andrea’s youth: a warm, sunlit and passionate collection recorded at Splash studios in Naples with a decided whiff of late 1950s La Dolce Vita in the air. Stupendo!
The good times and fun album My Christmas features guests including The Muppets and Mary J. Blige (Andrea having becoming something of a favourite now in hip hop circles) and was accompanied by another record breaking tour that took in everywhere from London’s O2 Arena to Madison Square Garden in New York. Barack Obama attended a concert in Washington while an end of tour date in Italy drew in top officials including President Giorgio Napolitano.
From festive fun to Carmen: Duets & Arias (2010) with our hero as Don José, Bryn Terfel's Escamillo and Marina Domashenko in the title role. Notte Illuminata and Concerto: One Night in Central Park (both 2011) bring us up to date with this terrific tenor talent. We love the open-air show for the breadth of material – Morricone’s “Your Love (Once Upon a Time in the West)” sits nearby Puccini’s Turandot, Verdi and Schubert. It goes without saying that this skipped to the top of the USA Classical chart.
Always an artist who has done his bit for the less fortunate perhaps, Andre Bocelli’s Foundation raises funds for medical research and the fight against poverty. A humble man with an enormous gift for giving pleasure and entertaining millions we are certain you will find much to satisfy you on both counts in his discography. We are proud to have this Italian jewel in the crown. Bravissimo, maestro, e molte grazie.
Words: Max Bell
Full of unabashed emotion and saturated with gorgeous melodies, this is a CD for romantics, a special musical Valentine from a singer who obviously takes immense joy in singing; one can feel the pleasure recording this album gave Bocelli...it is palpable. Though I initially didn't care for Bocelli's sound, the more I listen, the more I enjoy it. The orchestra is lush and beautiful, with a fine assortment of excellent musicians, like Celso Valli on piano. Heavenly tracks are: Lucio Dalla's "Caruso", which is a glorious composition, performed to perfection. The delicacy of "Le Tue Parole", sung with melt-your-heart tenderness is a winner, as is another lovely number with a spoken intro, "Rapsodia". Though most people are familiar with "Time to Say Goodbye", with Sarah Brightman (the first track, "Con Te Partiro", is the solo version of this song), the other duets are also wonderful: "Vivo per Lei" is one of my favorite tracks, and the petite pop star with the big voice, Giorgia, is fabulous in it; another young Italian singing star, Gerardina Trovato sings in "Vivere", and English rock singer John Miles is marvelous in a live recording of "Miserere", with his deep gravelly voice making a good contrast to Bocelli's. The booklet insert has all the lyrics in both Italian and English, and total time is 66'03. If you want to indulge in undiluted Italian heart and soul, this CD is a five course meal of anima e cuore...a delicacy to be relished !
Words: Alejandra Vernon
Even as "the fourth tenor" has become one of the world's most popular and renowned classical and operatic singers, Andrea Bocelli has been teasing pop fans over the years by recording brilliant duets with the likes of Celine Dion and Sarah Brightman. Who better to helm the Tuscan-born vocal giant's first pure pop album than David Foster, who has made foreign language singing all the rage by introducing the world to Josh Groban? Amore features songs from various musical eras, from the 1920s through the '80s, which Bocelli sings in his native Italian, Spanish, and French. He launches the collection with beautiful Spanish on the tender, soaring ballad "Amapola" and a graceful "Besame Mucho" before introducing his facility for French with the lush, film score-like "Les Feuilles Mortes," which becomes "Autumn Leaves." Foster then unleashes a successful Santana-styled duet approach on the singer, pairing him with Kenny G ("Mi Manchi"), a delightfully torchy Christina Aguilera (on "Somos Novios," which became "It's Impossible") and Stevie Wonder (who adds vocals and harmonica to "Canzoni Stonate"). Purists may balk at such tandems, but pop fans will be enchanted, and Foster handles the productions of these tracks with admirable restraint. Though he covers artists ranging from Edith Piaf to Luis Miguel and Frank Sinatra, the most engaging reworking is a sweet take on "Can't Help Falling in Love," which was recorded live at Lake Las Vegas. In typical Foster's tug-the-heartstrings fashion, the disc closes with Italian and English versions of the inspirational ballad "Because We Believe," but for the most part, this magical effort fully realizes its aim to become a trendsetter for romantic pop in the 2000s.
Words: Jonathan Widran
There seems to be no end to the market for Latin tenors who inhabit the peculiar world most often termed crossover. The well-known Three Tenors travel the boundaries between classical music, songs from their homelands and European pop songs frequently and with ease.
The success of these artists is also being enjoyed by Bocelli, who was launched as a superstar in the United States in late 1997 by pledge-time showings of his television special on PBS. His then-current album Romanza shot up the charts, followed in short order by Viaggio Italiano (a mix of opera and traditional Italian songs in the manner of Mario Lanza or Enrico Caruso) and Aria-The Opera Album. Now with Sogno (Italian for dream, pronounced soh-nyo) Bocelli returns to the all-pop sound of Romanza. The program is entirely in Italian, with translations provided, and fans of the tenor need not fear disappointment. Duets with Celine Dion, Dulce Pontes, and Eros Ramazzotti are highlights, and Bocelli is in top form throughout. For those whove not yet made this singers acquaintance, Sogno makes an excellent introduction.
Warning: induces cravings for his previous albums!
The world's most famous tenor brings his unmistakable voice to one of the world's most popular operas, Carmen. The 11 highlights on this album are well known, instantly recognized hits full of Spanish flavor and infectious melodies. Andrea Bocelli is arguably the most popular tenor in the world today. Andrea's sincerity, the commitment he brings to the music he sings, and his arresting sound and touching delivery mark his every performance, and this Carmen is no exception.
A voice like Andrea Bocelli's only comes along every generation or so, (if that) Caruso, Lanza, Pavarotti and Now Bocelli; They are my big 4. Not only does Bocelli have wonderful opera skills, but also tremendous pop singing skills, as well. As for classical singing; Bocelli's breath control is amazing; no one holds high, mid, and low notes (sang either intensely or softly) as long as Bocelli does. His diction is excellent; His tone is wonderful; His color is right in sink to the song being performed, dark or light, and all shads around those as needed. He has that tenor ring that can rise up over an orchestra, he sings just beautifully. As for his pop singing again it's spectacular; Bocelli can sing a pop song either in a classical way, or a bluesy way or almost anyway. He has tremendous versatility, I would rank him right at the top of pop singing for all time. Bocelli can sing big, bold, intense and beautiful, or can show us a soft side it seems like he is singing in one's ear, very sweetly and beautiful. In canto is a CD of classic Italian love songs (Naples) and are many songs that Andrea has loved since childhood and most of us are familiar with. These songs were made famous by the great tenors of the 19th and 20th centuries, . In canto song selection includes Mamma; O surdato 'nammurato , Era di maggio , Un amore cosi grande , Non ti scordar di me; Funiculi Funicula; Granada, Voglio vivere cosi, Santa Lucia, Pulcinella, Non ti scordar di me, Marechiare, Vieni sul mar, Because, E vui durmiti ancora, Amapola, Un amore cosi grande. It is a wonderful selecton and I love the inclusion of Because, which I have heard Andrea sing live many times, It is the best version since Mario Lanza, and belive it or not Bocelli hits an even higher end note. You will enjoy all the songs hear they are wonderfully done. This is a must have Bocelli CD.
Words: Richard D. Cappetto
"Passione is something more--it is a high temperature love: a title that conveys the meaning of a hot rush love and of a sweet sensual torment. In the album, we have tried to give a range of shades as wide as possible of that mysterious, wonderful kaleidoscope which oversees the concept of passionate love, the sum of heart, mind and senses. Each song brings out a nuance; every song is a variation on the theme which boosts the driving engine of the content of this exciting project. The result, of which I am very satisfied, is an anthology of some of the most intense songs ever." ~ Andrea Bocelli (Billboard) ~ If you are a dedicated listener of Andrea Bocelli's vocal art and you are following his impressive body of work, here is a recording just for you--an album filled with passion simply titled "Passione." The album's concept is passionate love where the singer unveils anew his romantic and passionate self like he did in his 2006 album, Andrea Bocelli - Amore. This was released early this year in January and reached the Top Ten on Billboard 200. It is another one of his sensational recordings to add to your collection of lovely music consisting of an impressively stirring set of love songs rendered in Italian, Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. The Grammy winning singer described his latest album as "high temperature love: a title that conveys the meaning of a hot rush love and of sweet sensual torment." According to a survey completed by Rosetta Stone, the top three most romantic songs are Spanish (#1), French (#2) and English (#3). I'm surprised Italian love songs didn't make it to the top three, but anyway the Italian songs here are some of the best from this DeLuxe Edition. He definitely knew what great material to choose and who among the many singers, musicians and arrangers to select for a new album that will forever be enjoyed by its listeners. He aced all his interpretations exquisitely making all the songs listener-friendly notwithstanding most of the tracks that are rendered in different languages. Andrea Bocelli (vocals/accordion) is in very good hands with the support of his long-time collaborators, most of them also worked with him in "Amore"-- Alan Broadbent (arranger), Jorge Calandrelli (arranger), William Ross (arranger), Nathan Kelly and Matt Della Polla (orchestrator), Ramon Stagnaro, Daniel Bonaviri and Graham Dechter (acoustic guitar), Nathan East and Keith Nelson (bass), John Robinson (drums), Rafael Padilla (percussion), Jochem van der Saag (percussion/synths/sound design), Michael Thompson (electric guitar), Caroline Campbell and Juan Carlos Albelo (solo violin), Dan Higgins (flute/sax) and David Foster (piano / keyboards / accordion / arranger). Trumpeter extraordinaire Chris Botti who is one of the finest trumpet players in the last decade graced this recording with the purity of sound of his instrument on three of the most lovable tracks, "Smile," "When I Fall In Love" and "Il Nostro Incontro." He made his instrument stand out for any listener to easily identify its distinct sound that only an impeccable trumpet player can ever deliver. There is the element of total radiance and clarity of vocals in Andrea Bocelli's duets with Nellie Furtado ("Corcovado/Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars") and Jennifer Lopez ("Quizas, Quizas, Quizas). These tracks are also noteworthy and certainly the charming centerpieces from this set. While I'm totally enamored by this album in its entirety, it would be nice to special mention my top personal favorites which include "Smile" (unforgettable and uplifting), "When I Fall In Love" (hauntingly beautiful), "La Vie En Rose" (unique, with excerpts from the original song recorded by Edith Piaf), "Garota de Ipanema" (loved that winning whistle), "Tristeza" (charmed by its cadence), "Love Me Tender" (sweet serenade), "Love In Portofino" (lovely violin solo) and "Anema E Core." The English title of the latter is "How Wonderful To Know," a famous song of days gone by--if you can still remember--that was recorded and popularized by Andy Williams and Cliff Richard. When it comes to passionate and romantic recordings, you can always trust Andrea Bocelli to deliver the very best quality for the enjoyment of every listener's enthusiastic ear. What's not to love?
Words: Rebecca Rhapsodyinblue
This concert exceeds my expectations by far. The cast of world-class star guests is impressive and Bocelli himself simply stunning. Bearing in mind that the concert was aimed at a 60,000-strong audience with different preferences, the balance between opera and non-classical material is just right. Ever since Bocelli first sprang to fame, critics have been harping on about his lack of technique, thinness of voice and choppy phrasing. There are tens of thousands of technically perfect tenors with big voices around, but they just do not connect with the listeners the way Bocelli does. Of course Bocelli's voice has changed over the years. It would be strange and rather sad if it hadn't. Whereas in the early stages he had a certain sweetness in his voice, he now has a new vocal depth and resonance, which I find more appealing and which is generously displayed in 'Concerto'. Bocelli has also expanded his repertoire very successfully during his career. I agree with the comments made by "Winnie" - listen to 'Notte Illuminata' and 'Andrea Chenier' and you will discover a different side to his talent and yet more proof of his great versatility. Critics will no doubt continue to pour scorn over this wonderful artist but, fortunately, most of us do not need critics to make up our minds for us!
This is Andrea Bocelli's first ever live album, recorded in Lake Las Vegas Resort in December 2005. The DVD itself contains the whole program that was filmed then, and before it was released, the only way you could get a DVD of this was by making an expensive pledge to WNET/Thirteen New York. Anyway, the CD only contains six of the live selections, but that doesn't mean it deserves a poor grade. The CD includes new versions of the Elvis Presley classic 'Can't Help Falling in Love' (this time with 2006 'American Idol' runner up Katharine McPhee) and an edited version of 'Canzoni Stonate' with Stevie Wonder, both of which give Bocelli's pop duetting a whole new edge. Meanwhile, 'Estate' is included as the 'Studio Version,' not the Live Version, and employs Chris Botti on trumpet. (This song was included on the 'Amore' album sessions, but on different releases.) Oh, did I mention the cover of 'September Morn' doesn't appear on any other Andrea Bocelli album? As for the DVD, its encoding is All Region (meaning you can play it on ANY DVD player), and the mood of the concert itself is stellar. I noticed that Bocelli performed all of the songs that were recorded for the 'Amore' album itself, including 'Porque Tu Me Acostumbraste' and 'Momentos.' The best part is that Bocelli himself interprets these songs almost as well as he did on 'Amore' itself. I don't seem to find anything wrong with this CD/DVD combo overall. (I have both this digipak issue and the DVD case release of this set.) There are just too many recording artists out there making trashy pop, R&B, hip-hop, and rock, and they're played enough on the radio and MTV only to give rise to more artists doing the same thing. This artist is one of those artists who shouldn't be deemed a Justin Timberlake/Britney Spears-type musician judged from the overall quality and style of the music he performs. Anyway, if you have an ear for good music, just buy this.
Words: Ana Rivera
Andrea Bocelli reaches new heights in "Sacred Arias". His sensitive treatment of the "Ave Marias" is quite moving, and the inclusion of two traditional Christmas carols illustrates the pure joy Bocelli feels in his music. Closing this recital with the beautiful "Gloria a te, Cristo Gesu" sends the heart soaring and singing long after the music ends. The orchestrations conducted by Maestro Chung are magnificent in ever aspect. In a time when high sacred arias are not commonplace, Bocelli offers us an opportunity hear and feel music in the depths of our hearts and souls, leaving us with a yearning for more. Bravo.
Andrea Bocelli's 2009 My Christmas album finds the Italian tenor performing various classic holiday-themed songs that touch on classical, opera, and pop. Included are such well-known holiday songs as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "O Tannenbaum," and "Silent Night." The versatile Bocelli also delves into such iconic Christmas hits as "Blue Christmas" and "The Christmas Song" (featuring a duet with Natalie Cole). Of course, the opera and classic songs are Bocelli's bread and butter, and here listeners get such lavishly produced cuts as "Adeste Fidelis," "Cantique del Noel," and "Caro Gesu Bambino." My Christmas is not only a warm and inviting holiday album, but also a superb classical crossover entry worthy of Bocelli's discography.
Words: Matt Collar