- Category : Singer - Popular
- Type : PSE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 3
Andrea Bocelli, OMRI, OMDSM born 22 September 1958) is an Italian tenor, multi-instrumentalist and classical crossover artist. Born with poor eyesight, he became blind at the age of twelve following an association football accident.
Since winning the Newcomers section of the Sanremo Music Festival in 1994, Bocelli has recorded thirteen solo studio albums, of both pop and classical music, two greatest hits albums, and nine complete operas, selling over 80 million records worldwide.
Thus, he is the biggest-selling solo artist in the history of classical music and has caused core classical repertoire to "cross over" to the top of international pop charts and into previously uncharted territory in popular culture.
In 1998, he was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. In 1999, his nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards marked the first, and so far only time a classical artist had been nominated in the category, since Leontyne Price, in 1961. The Prayer, his duet with Celine Dion for the animated film The Quest for Camelot, won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category. With the release of his classical album, Sacred Arias, Bocelli captured a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records, as he simultaneously held the top 3 positions on the US classical albums charts. Six of his albums have since reached the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, and a record-setting 8, have topped the classical albums charts in the United States.
With 5 million units sold worldwide, Sacred Arias became the biggest-selling classical album by a solo artist of all time, and with over 20 million copies sold worldwide, his 1997 pop album, Romanza, became the best-selling album by an Italian artist of any genre in history, as well as the best-selling album by a foreign artist in Canada, and a number of other countries in Europe and Latin America. The album's first single, "Time to Say Goodbye", topped charts all across Europe, including Germany, where it stayed at the top of the charts for fourteen consecutive weeks, breaking the all-time sales record, with over 3 million copies sold in the country. The single went on to sell over 12 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Widely regarded as both the most popular Italian and classical singer in the world, Bocelli was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2006, and on March 2, 2010, was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to Live Theater.
Childhood and education
Bocelli was born in 1958 to Alessandro and Edi Bocelli. They lived on the family farm, selling farm machinery and making wine in the small village of La Sterza, a frazione of Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy, which is about 40 km (25 mi) south of Pisa. Bocelli's mother and younger brother Alberto still live in the family home. Bocelli's father died in 2000.
As a young boy, Bocelli showed a great passion for music. His mother has said that music was the only thing that would comfort him. At the age of six, he started piano lessons, and later also learned to play the flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, harp, guitar and drums.
Bocelli would also spend time singing during his childhood. At the age of 14 he won his first song competition, the Margherita d'Oro in Viareggio with O sole mio.
After finishing secondary school in 1980, he studied law at the University of Pisa. To earn money Bocelli performed evenings in piano bars. He completed law school and spent one year as a court-appointed lawyer. It was there, in 1987, that he met his future wife, Enrica.
Loss of sight
It was evident at birth that Bocelli had problems with his sight, and after visits to many doctors, he was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma. In 1970, at the age of 12, he lost his sight completely following an accident during a football game. He was accidentally hit on the head during a match and suffered a brain hemorrhage. Doctors resorted to leeches in a desperate last-ditch effort to save his sight, but they were unsuccessful, and he remained blind.
1992–94: Sanremo and Il mare calmo della sera
In 1992, Italian rock star Zucchero held auditions for tenors to make a demo tape with of the song Miserere from his album of the same name, to send to Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. After hearing Bocelli on tape, Pavarotti urged Zucchero to use Bocelli instead of him. The demo tape was from Caterina Caselli, who had discovered Bocelli. Caselli is Bocelli's current manager and producer.
Zucchero eventually persuaded Pavarotti to record the song with him, and it became a hit throughout Europe. In Zucchero's European concert tour in 1993, it was Bocelli who accompanied him to sing the duet, and he was also given solo sets in the concerts, singing "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's Turandot. Bocelli signed with the Sugar Music label in Milan after the group's president heard Bocelli sing Miserere and "Nessun Dorma" at a birthday party for Zucchero.
In December, Bocelli entered the preliminary round of the Sanremo Music Festival in the category of Giovani, performing both parts of the duet Miserere. He won the preliminary competition with the highest marks ever recorded in the Newcomers section. On 28 December, he debuted in the classical world in a concert at the Teatro Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia.
In February 1994, he entered the main Sanremo Festival competition with "Il mare calmo della sera", and he won the "Newcomers" section, again with a record score. His debut album, of the same name, was released and immediately entered the Italian Top Ten, going platinum within weeks.
In May, he toured with Italian pop singer Gerardina Trovato. In September he sang at Pavarotti's annual Charity Gala concert, Pavarotti International in Modena, where he sang Ruggiero Leoncavallo's "Mattinata" and sang a duet with Pavarotti, Maurizio Morante's Notte e Piscatore. He also sang "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" from Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata in the finale, along with Nancy Gustafson, Giorgia, Andreas Vollenweider and Bryan Adams; and also Adams' song All for Love.
In September, he made his opera debut as Macduff in Verdi's Macbeth at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa. Bocelli had been an agnostic, but around 1994, partly as a result of immersing himself in the works of Tolstoy, he returned to the practice of the Catholic faith. He performed the hymn, "Adeste Fideles" in Rome before Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica at Christmas.
1995–97: Bocelli and Romanza – Conquering Europe and Latin America
As winner of the 1994 Newcomers section at the Sanremo Festival, he was invited to return the following year, entering the main competition with "Con te partirò" and finishing in fourth place.
The song was included in his album Bocelli which was produced by Mauro Malavasi and released in the spring. His third album, Viaggio Italiano, was released in autumn. Bocelli sang "Miserere" and "Funiculì, Funiculà" with guitarist John Miles. In Belgium, "Con te partirò" became the best-selling single of all time.
In 1996, Bocelli was invited to sing a duet with English soprano Sarah Brightman at the final bout of German IBF World Light-Heavyweight boxing champion Henry Maske. Brightman, a friend of Maske, approached Bocelli after she heard him singing "Con te partirò" whilst she was dining in a restaurant. Changing the title lyric of the song to "Time to Say Goodbye", they re-recorded it as a duet with members of the London Symphony Orchestra and sang it as a farewell for Maske. The single debuted atop the German charts, where it stayed for fourteen weeks. With sales nearing three million copies, and a sextuple platinum award, "Time to Say Goodbye" eclipsed the previous best-selling single by more than one million copies. He topped the Spanish singles chart in 1996 with a duet with Marta Sanchez, "Vivo Por Ella", the Spanish version of "Vivo per lei", recorded with Giorgia for the Romanza album. He also recorded a Portuguese version of the song with Sandy Leah.
The same year, Bocelli recorded "Je vis pour elle", the French version of "Vivo per lei", as a duet with French singer Hélène Ségara. Released in December 1997, the song became a hit in Belgium (Wallonia) and France, where it reached #1 on the charts. To date, it is the best-selling single for Ségara, and the second for Bocelli after "Time to Say Goodbye". On 3 March he appeared in Hamburg, Germany, with Sarah Brightman to receive the ECHO music award for "Best Single of the Year".
In August, Bocelli appeared at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Italy, and then at the World Youth Festival in Paris, where he again sang in the presence of the Pope. In the summer, he gave 22 open air concerts in Germany, as well as an indoor concert in Oberhausen on 31 August. In September he performed in concert at the Piazza dei Cavalieri in Pisa for the home video A Night in Tuscany (Italian: una notte nella Toscana) with guests Nuccia Focile, Sarah Brightman and Zucchero. The concert was also Bocelli's first concert to air on PBS. On 14 September in Munich, Germany, he received an ECHO Klassik "Best seller of the year" award for his album, Viaggio Italiano.
Back in Italy in Bologna on 27 September, he yet again sang before the Pope at the International Eucharistic Congress. On 19 October, he sang at the TeleFood benefit concert held in the Vatican City, and organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization to raise awareness about world hunger. On 25 October he received a Bambi award, an annual television and media prize awarded by the German media company Hubert Burda Media, in the Klassik category in Cologne, Germany.
1998–99: Aria, Sogno and Sacred Arias – Breaking into the United States
Bocelli made his debut in a major operatic role in 1998 when he played Rodolfo in a production of La bohème at the Teatro Comunale in Cagliari from 18 February to 25 February. His fifth album Aria - The Opera Album was released in March. On 19 April, Bocelli entered the United States (US) market with a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., followed the next day by a reception at the White House with then US President Bill Clinton. On 5 May, he appeared in Monte Carlo, winning two World Music Awards, one in the category "Best Italian Singer", and one for "Best Classical Interpretation". He was also named one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people of 1998.
In June, July, and August, he toured North and South America. Bocelli's final concert of the tour which was also his debut at Madison Square Garden on August 6, 1998, was sold out. In September, he received his next Echo Klassik award, this time for "Best selling classical album" with Aria - the opera album. On Thanksgiving Eve, Bocelli appeared as a guest on Céline Dion's Television special These Are Special Times in which he joined Dion with their hit The Prayer from Dion's album These Are Special Times and he also sang Ave Maria solo. Dion introduced him by saying, "I heard someone say – If God had a singing voice, he would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli." As a result of his appearance on the show, his popularity in the US further increased. Dion's album containing The Prayer was released in 1998 and re-issued with the DVD of the TV special in 2007. The song appeared on the Quest for Camelot soundtrack in 1998 and on Bocelli's album, Sogno, the following year.
At the New Year, he performed two concerts at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel used Con te partirò in its advertisements, further increasing his popularity in the US. He also performed the first Internet live-opera broadcast in its entirety from the Detroit Opera House, with Denyce Graves. At the 56th Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on 24 January, The Prayer won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song from the film Quest for Camelot. At the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on 24 February, Bocelli was nominated in the Best New Artist category which was won by Lauryn Hill. Bocelli and Dion received a standing ovation after singing The Prayer. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and performed by Bocelli and Dion at the ceremony held at the Los Angeles Music Center on 21 March.
From 11 April to 24 April, he toured the West coast of North America from San Diego to Vancouver, with a final performance before over 18,000 spectators at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Actress Elizabeth Taylor stood by his side on the stage during the encore, while he sang The Prayer.
At the invitation of Steven Spielberg, Bocelli sang in Los Angeles on 15 May before Bill Clinton at an event on behalf of the Democratic Party. At the end of May he toured Portugal and Spain and sang with the Portuguese Fado singer Dulce Pontes. On 27 June he took part in the Michael Jackson benefit concert for suffering children in Munich's Olympic Stadium.
From 10 July to 27 August, he appeared in a guest role at seven performances of The Merry Widow at the Verona Arena in Rome. As the "Tenor Conte Andrea" he performed three arias: "La donna è mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto; "Tu, che m' hai preso il cuor" from Franz Lehár's Land des Laechelns and "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" from Verdi's La traviata, again receiving standing ovations.
On 10 September, together with soprano Daniela Dessi and two Polish singers, he performed at the Great Theatre of ?ód? in Poland. From 7 October to 19 November, he made his United States operatic debut in Jules Massenet's Werther at the Detroit Opera House with the Michigan Opera Theater. He was cheered by the audiences, but criticized by the press.
He also performed at Rodeo Drive in Hollywood and gave further concerts in Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago, and made an appearance on Jay Leno's first installment of The Tonight Show. Then Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani gave him the Crystal Apple, a gift to celebrated personalities from New York City. His seventh album Sacred Arias, which contains exclusively sacred music, was released worldwide on 8 November, and two weeks later reached first place in the US Classic Billboard charts – making Bocelli the first vocalist to hold all top three places on the chart, with Aria, the opera album in second place, and Viaggio Italiano in third place. The album also included the hymn of the Holy Year 2000 which was chosen as the official version by the Vatican in October. To promote "Sacred Arias", Bocelli recorded his second PBS concert of the same name at the Roman church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, in Rome, in 1999, with an orchestra conducted by Myung-whun Chung, singing most of the songs from the album. The special was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program during the 52nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Immediately after his return to Italy, Bocelli sang in Florence at a meeting of the centre-left Heads of State. Invited by Queen Elizabeth II, he performed at the annual Royal Variety Performance in Birmingham, UK, on 29 November. On 30 November, his book La musica del silenzio, an autobiographical novel, was released in Italy.
From 12 December to 21 December he performed six concerts in Barcelona, Strasbourg, Lisbon, Zagreb, Budapest and Messina, directed by Lorin Maazel, some of which were broadcast on local television. He also performed on German television; Wetten, dass..? on 11 December and the José Carreras Gala in Leipzig on 17 December. On 31 December, he finished a marathon twenty-four concerts in thirty days, with a concert at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New York in front of 8,000 people, welcoming in the new millennium.
2000–01: Verdi and Cieli di Toscana
At the 42nd Grammy Awards on 23 February, Bocelli was nominated twice. The Prayer was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Bocelli performed it with Dion at the ceremony. His "World Tour 2000" started on 31 March. In May his Sacred Arias album was voted album of the year by listeners of the Classic FM radio station in the UK. His world tour continued from 12 May to 14 May with four concerts in Japan and South Korea. At the end of the UEFA European Football Championship he performed with Valery Gergiev and Renée Fleming at a concert on the River Maas in Rotterdam. On 6 July he performed at the Statue of Liberty in New York City for his third PBS special. The concert was a dedication to his father, who died in the beginning of 2000. He was accompanied by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Steven Mercurio with special guest Soprano Ana Maria Martinez and a surprise appearance by Sarah Brightman to sing with Bocelli on "Time To Say Goodbye." For the final encore he dedicated "Sogno" to his late Father. On 17 August, he performed in Giuseppi Verdi's Messa da Requiem at the Verona Arena in Rome. His seventh album Verdi was released on 11 September. In September he also performed three concerts in Australia. He received another Echo Klassik award for "Bestseller of the year" for Sacred Arias. In November his first complete opera recording, La Bohème was released. In December he received another award in Germany, the Goldene Europa for classical music.
In January 2001, Bocelli portrayed the main character in Pietro Mascagni's opera L'amico Fritz at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona and again performed the tenor part in Verdi's Requiem. On 19 March the Requiem album was released with Bocelli as tenor. From 22 March to 6 April he toured North America accompanied by Cecilia Gasdia and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. On 17 June he performed at the re-opening of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In July he performed two concerts in Dublin with Ana María Martínez and the New Symphony Orchestra. At the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice on 4 October he presented his new album Cieli di Toscana and was recognised for having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. In October he opened the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sicilian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini in Catania. On 28 October, he sang Franz Schubert's Ellens dritter Gesang as a representative of the Roman Catholic faith, during a memorial concert at Ground Zero in New York City for the victims of the September 11 attacks there. In November he received the Platinum Europe Award for one million sales of the album Cieli di Toscana, and at the Italian Music Awards he was given a special award from the Federation of the Italian Music Industry for his merits as an "Ambassador of Italian music in the world". He performed seven more concerts in the US accompanied by Ana María Martínez, and on 23 December, in front of the President of Italy and other guests of honour, he sang the Italian national anthem as well as works of Bellini and Verdi at the traditional Christmas concert in the Italian Senate, which was broadcast live on television for the first time.
2002–05: Sentimento and Andrea
In Berlin on 5 February, he received a Goldene Kamera award in the "Music & Entertainment" category. On 6 March, he received two World Music Awards in Monte Carlo: "World best selling classical artist" and "Best selling Italian artist". On 11 March, he gave a concert for peace at the Basilica di San Marco a Venezia in Venice, accompanied by the orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice and conducted by Lorin Maazel. On 15 March, he took part in the opening of Walt Disney Studios Park in Marne-la-Vallée France. On 7 May, Bocelli and Tony Renis received a Telegatto Italian Television award for the soundtrack of the series Cuore. On 23 May he received the 2002 Classical BRIT Award for "Outstanding Contribution to Music". On 27 May, he performed at the Villa Madama in Rome in front of US president George W. Bush and Italian president Silvio Berlusconi. On 28 May, he took part in "Pavarotti & Friends" charity concert in Modena in aid of Angola. In June he again toured the US, then on 26 July and 3 August, he portrayed Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the 48th Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago. On 14 October, he and Lorin Maazel presented his new album Sentimento to a worldwide audience. Further presentations took place in Milan and New York, and the album was released on 4 November, selling over two million copies in 40 days. On 24 October, he started his Sentimento tour in Zürich which took in large arenas in several European and North American cities.
In February 2003, Bocelli performed Madama Butterfly in an exclusive Monte Carlo concert, which was attended by Caroline, Princess of Hanover. In March for the first time he appeared as a producer, at the Sanremo Festival, where the young artists Allunati and Jacqueline Ferry sang for his new record label, Clacksong. In May his second complete opera, Tosca, was released. At a private benefit gala for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Bocelli sang in front of the British Royal Family. A day later he received two awards for Sentimento at the 2003 Classical BRIT Award held at the Royal Albert Hall in London – "Best selling classical album" and "Album of the year". On 24 May, he performed in a benefit concert for the Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, with sopranos Maria Luigia Borsi and Lucia Dessanti, baritone Soo Kyung Ahn, and violinist Ruth Rogers, accompanied by Marcello Rota and the Orchestra Città di Pisa. Three days later he was again invited to perform at "Pavarotti & Friends" in Modena and sang a medley of Neapolitan songs together with Pavarotti. In June, he continued his Sentimento tour in Athens and Cyprus. In September, he took part in a concert for the Justice ministers and Interior ministers of the European Union at the Parco della Musica in Rome. He then resumed his tour, accompanied by Maria Luigia Borsi, Ruth Rogers and Marcello Rota.
Bocelli won the "Favourite Specialist Performer" award at the UK National Music Awards in October 2003. In November he once again toured in the United States, this time accompanied by Ana Maria Martinez, Kallen Esperian and Steven Mercurio. In December he gave his first concert in China and at the end of the month, sang Gounod's Ave Maria at Pavarotti's wedding in Modena.
In Bologna in January, he performed as Werther in four performances of the opera of the same name. In April and May, he toured Asia again, visiting Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore. In May, he took part in a concert at Circo Massimo in Rome organised by Quincy Jones to launch the "We are the Future" project. In June, his third complete opera Il trovatore was released. In July, he played the part of Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca at the 50th Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, and he took part in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) global campaign for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
In September, he performed his "Once in a Lifetime" tour in Australia with concerts in Sydney and Melbourne and one concert in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he was joined on stage by New Zealand soprano Hayley Westenra.
On 15 October, he performed at the People Conference Hall in Beijing, China, and on 17 October at the Great Hall in Shanghai.
During early 2005, Bocelli was on tour including performances in Madeira, Hungary, Norway, US, UK, Italy and Germany. He also appeared in Sesame Street singing "Time to Say Goodnight" a parody of Time to Say Goodbye as a lullaby to Elmo. On 21 March, he performed on the Music for Asia benefit concert in Rome, televised on Italia 1, in aid of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake appeal.
In June, he performed at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin. On 2 July, he performed at the Paris concert as part of the Live 8 event. Also during the second part of the year, he performed in Croatia, Serbia, Italy, the US, Dubai, Switzerland and finally in Scandinavia. On 28 August, he performed at the Faenol Festival held in Vaynol, Wales and organised by Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. In December, his first contemporary music concert took place at a Lake Las Vegas village resort in Nevada, US, which was recorded for PBS and released as the Under the Desert Sky DVD. He also took part in the Royal Christmas Show, which took place in several cities in the US in December. The album Werther was released in December. During 2005, he was invited by Pope Benedict XVI, George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II to perform at special events.
2006–07: Amore and Vivere, Greatest hits
On 18 February, he sang at the Toyota Center in Houston during the National Basketball Association's (NBA) 2006 All-Star Weekend, and broadcast live on the TNT Cable television network.
On 26 February, Bocelli sang "Because We Believe" from his Amore album in the Carnevale section of the closing ceremony of the Torino Olympics with a worldwide television audience. He also began another tour with a concert at the Piazza di Castello in Turin. In March he was honoured by the Italian state with a Grande Ufficiale Italian Order of Merit (Grand Officer of the Italian Republic), given to him by then President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi for his worldwide work for his country as a singer. The award was presented to him at the Sanremo Festival where he performed a duet with American singer Christina Aguilera on 4 March. From 31 March to 2 April he took part in the Maggio Musicale in Florence where he sang the Canto di pace (Canto of peace) by Marco Tutino and the tenor part from Gioachino Rossini's Messa di Gloria and in Naples where he took part in Rossini's Petite messe solennelle.
In April 2006, he featured as a guest coach on American Idol helping the finalists sing the week's themed songs, "Greatest Love Songs." He also performed on that week's results show. American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee performed at three of Bocelli's concerts in California from 9 June to 11 June singing duets of Somos Novios and The Prayer with Bocelli. They also performed on 'J. C. Penney Jam: The Concert for America's Kids and recorded duet versions of Somos Novios for the resulting album, and also Can't Help Falling in Love on the CD of the Under the Desert Sky DVD.
In June, he sang the Italian duet version of "Because We Believe", "Ama, credi e vai", with Gianna Nannini at the "großen Fan Party" at the opening of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, in Berlin in front of billions of worldwide television viewers.
On 1 July 2007, Bocelli performed "The Music of the Night" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, in a special musicals medley during the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Bocelli returned to his home town for a triumphant concert at the newly created Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico on 5 July 2007, with guest appearance by Kenny G, Heather Headley, Lang Lang, Elisa, Sarah Brightman and Laura Pausini. The concert was later released as Vivere Live in Tuscany. In September he debuted at the Avery Fisher Hall, in New York, with four concerts. October saw the release of the opera album of Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci with Bocelli singing the role of Canio. In November he won the "Best Italian Artist" and "World's Best-selling Classical Artist" awards at the World Music Awards. In December, he finished his 2006 tour with more concerts in North America and Europe.
Bocelli and Sarah Brightman's duet version of "Con te partirò" was used in the 2007 film Blades of Glory, as an ice skating song. K-1 mixed martial arts fighter, Akiyama Yoshihiro started using "Con te partirò" as his ring entrance music. On 8 September, Bocelli sang an arrangement of Mozart's Ave verum corpus at the funeral of Luciano Pavarotti in Modena, Italy.
On 21 October 2007, he sang "Con te partirò" with Katherine Jenkins on the UK television series Strictly Come Dancing results show, and on 30 October, he sang "The Prayer" with Céline Dion during an ITV Special An Audience with Céline Dion. The show was broadcast on 23 December. Alongside fellow Italian singer Laura Pausini, he sang Vive Ya during the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards. The song, originally released in 1997 as a duet in Italian between Bocelli and Italian singer-songwriter Trovatto on Bocelli's Romanza, was also released in English on his 2007 album, The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere, as Dare to Live. The album, Vivere, sold over 3 million copies.
2008: Incanto and Carmen
On 20 January 2008, Bocelli received the Italian TV award Telegatto in platinum for Italian music in the world, in Rome. He sang "La voce del silenzio" – "The voice of silence" – and "Dare to Live" during the
To promote the album, he performed "Canto della Terra" at The Alan Titchmarsh Show on the BBC in London on 1 February; was interviewed by Fabio Fazio on the Italian talk show Che tempo che fa on RAI 3 in Italy; and performed "Canto della terra", "A te" and "Besame mucho" from the album, as well as "My way" on 2 February; and made an appearance on The South Bank Show in London, where he sang the French aria "Pour mon âme" on 3 February. Then on 10 February, he performed "The Prayer" at the 50th Grammy Awards, held in Los Angeles, with Josh Groban in a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti, and sang "Dare to live" with Heather Headley the following day on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In April, he toured in Asia with performances in Tokyo, Taichung, Taiwan, and Seoul. Each concert was attended by over 15,000 people.
On 7 May 2008, he sang at Steel Aréna in Košice, Slovakia, in front of 8,000 people. Then 13 May he sang at the "Teatro delle Muse" in Ancona, Italy, for a charity concert for "Francesca Rava – N.P.H. Italia Onlus", a foundation that helps poor and disabled children around the world.
On 23 May 2008, he sang The Prayer with Katharine McPhee in a Las Vegas tribute concert for Canadian producer and songwriter David Foster. Bocelli later praised Filipina teen-aged singer Charice, whom he had first heard perform at that concert.
On 2 June 2008, he performed at the Piazza del Duomo, Milan in front of 80,000 people during a concert celebrating the anniversary of the Republic of Italy's formation.
From June 17 to June 28, Bocelli played the role of Don José on stage, opposite Hungarian mezzo-soprano Ildiko Komlosi as Carmen, in Georges Bizet's opera at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, in Rome, for four nights. Bocelli released the complete opera recording of Carmen in Italy in the same year, which he recorded in 2005. Myung-whun Chung conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Chœur de Radio France for the recording, and Welsh Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, was part of the Ensemble. The recording was not released internationally, until March 2010. Carmen: Duets & Arias, a single-disc collection of some of the arias and duets of the recording, was also released in 2010.
On 20 July, Bocelli held his third concert at the Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, his hometown. The concert was a tribute to the cinema of Italy. Its performers included Italian composer and musician Nicola Piovani, Italian ballet dancer Roberto Bolle, Israeli singer Noa, and Charice. Then on 31 July, he performed at a concert in Vingis Park in Vilnius, Lithuania, in front of more than 18,000 people. Australian singer Tina Arena performed two duets with Bocelli – "Canto Della Terra" and "The Prayer" – at the closing stages of the concert.
On 7 August 2008, he held a benefit concert at Medjugorje, Bosnia Herzegovina, and was accompanied by Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Then, during the rest of August, he was on tour in Australia and New Zealand—for the third time—with performances at Vector Arena, Auckland, on the 20th; Entertainment Centre, Brisbane on the 22nd; Acer Arena, Sydney, on the 24th, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, on the 27th; and Burswood Dome, Perth, on the 30th. His fiancée and both of his sons accompanied him on the tour. Tina Arena performed again with him in all 5 concerts during the tour.
On 26 September 2008, during the 2008 Veneto Festival, he held a concert in the Church of the Eremitani in Padova, Italy, in front of about 1000 people. He was accompanied by the I Solisti Veneti orchestra, celebrating its 50th birthday and conducted by Claudio Scimone, and by the Wiener Singakademie choir. The concert was a celebration of Giacomo Puccini's 150th birthday.
On 10 October and 11, he performed at Petra, singing "Dare to live" with Laura Pausini, as well as performing E Lucevan le Stelle from Tosca. On 19 October, he sang "O Surdato 'Nnamurato" and a duet of "Non Ti Scordar Di Me" with Cecilia Bartoli, both from the Incanto album, during the ECHO Awards in Germany; and later presented the soprano with an ECHO award. On 24 October, he performed at Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, as a tribute to the city, where he celebrated the Italian release of Incanto. Performing with him were flautist Andrea Griminelli, Italian pop singer Massimo Ranieri and soprano Cecilia Bartoli, with Steven Mercurio conducting the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. On 31 October, he performed a solo version of "The Prayer", as well as "Because", a song from Incanto, live on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
On 21 November and 22, Bocelli was amongst a quartet of soloists (soprano Sabina Cvilak, mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich and bass Alexander Vinogradov) to sing Rossini's Petite messe solennelle, conducted by Plácido Domingo, at the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C. Bocelli sang twice in the piece and later the two famous tenors sang The Pearl Fishers duet which would be the first aria they had ever sang together. On 25 November and 26, he starred alongside soprano Verónica Villarroel in an opera in concert of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana at the "Municipal Auditorium" in San Antonio, Texas. He later held a concert at "Atrio de la Catedral" in Campeche, Mexico, on 28 November, where he sang songs from Incanto as well as some of his Spanish hits, including Besame Mucho, Somos Novios, Amapola and Por ti Volare – the Spanish version of Con te Partiro.
On May 27, 2009, Bocelli sang "Il Gladiatore", from the Gladiator soundtrack, followed by the UEFA Champions League Anthem, which is based on "Zadok the Priest" by G.F. Handel, during the opening ceremony of the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, in the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome.
On November 3, My Christmas, his first Holiday album, produced by David Foster, was released and went on to become the best-selling Holiday album of the year.
The Andrea Bocelli & David Foster Christmas Special, the PBS special of the album, first aired on Thanksgiving night in the United States, and continued to be broadcast in the United States and Canada throughout the month of December. In late November, the program was broadcast in Mexico and in the UK; it later aired, December 15 and 25, on Italia 1, in Italy, December 19, on TVE2 and TROS, in Spain and the Netherlands, and Christmas Eve, on vtm and RTL-TVI, in Belgium and Luxembourg.
On November 3, during the World Premiere of Disney's A Christmas Carol, in Leicester Square, London, following the switching on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights, Bocelli led the St Paul's Cathedral Choir, and more than 14,000 people across the capital, as they broke the Official Guinness World Record for the biggest ever Christmas Carol sing-along, singing "Silent Night". He completed his performance in Leicester Square with, "God Bless Us Everyone", the closing song of the movie, which he provided the vocals for in English, Italian and Spanish. He returned to the United Kingdom, December 16, for an appearance on The One Show, broadcast live by BBC One, and on The Alan Titchmarsh Show which aired December 18, on ITV1.
On November 21, a segment of Leute Heute, a German tabloid-program on ZDF, was about My Christmas and Bocelli's meeting in Rome with Pope Benedict XVI and 250 other artists, an event which was broadcasted live earlier that day in Italy, by Rai Uno. Bocelli was also joined by the Piccolo Coro dell'Antoniano, in his home in Forte dei Marmi, where they sang "Caro Gesù Bambino", a song from My Christmas which was originally recorded by the choir in 1960. Rai Uno also broadcast the performance later that day, during the Zecchino d'Oro Festival. The following day, Bocelli was among Fabio Fazio's guests, on his popular Italian talk-show, Che tempo che fa, broadcast on Rai Tre. During the program Bocelli talked about his album and performed "The Lord's Prayer", "White Christmas", and "Silent Night". It was also announced that Bocelli would return to the show on December 20 and give a live concert of My Christmas. Bocelli also took part in the annual 2009 José Carreras Gala, on December 17, where he sang Adeste Fideles, before singing "White Christmas" with José Carreras for the very first time; this was broadcast live, by Das Erste, in Germany. He then returning to Italy, for a concert in the Upper Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, on December 19, which was broadcast directly after the Urbi et Orbi blessing of Pope Benedict XVI, December 25, on Rai Uno.
In North America, Bocelli gave 6 concerts. On November 28, he performed in the BankAtlantic Center, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He later performed in the Air Canada Centre, in Toronto, Canada, in the Izod Center, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in the William Saroyan Theatre, in Fresno, California (changed from the much larger Save Mart Center due to scheduling conflicts), in the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, and finally in the Honda Center, in Anaheim, California, on December 3, 5, 8, 12, and 13. His last three arena concerts alone grossed a total of over 5,6 million dollars, placing him third on Billboard Magazine's week's Hot Tours ranking, behind the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Il Divo, who both held over 5 times more concerts worldwide, compared to Bocelli's three in the United States, explaining their better showings.
In the United States, Bocelli made a number of high profile TV appearances. He first performed "White Christmas" at the 83rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, broadcast live on NBC, November 26. He performed the song again on November 30 during The Today Show also live. His appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show during her Holiday Music Extravaganza, where he sang "What Child Is This", with Mary J. Blige, and later closed the show with Adeste Fideles, was also aired the same day, and was later rebroadcast on December 23. Bocelli also sang "Adeste Fideles" and was interviewed by Barbara Walters and Joy Behar on The View, which aired December 2, on ABC. On December 8, he performed "Jingle Bells" with The Muppets on NBC's The Jay Leno Show. He also performed a number of songs from the album, including "The Christmas Song" with Natalie Cole, during a dinner at David Foster's mansion in Malibu, which was featured on The Dr. Phil Show, on December 10. Bocelli also performed "White Christmas" and "Silent Night", on the Larry King Live and Fox & Friends holiday-specials, broadcast December 23, on CNN, and December 19, 24 and 25, on Fox News.
In Brasil, following the success of the South American leg of the Incanto tour, were over 100,000 people attended his free concert at the São Paulo's "Parque Indipendencia", earlier in the year, it was announced that Bocelli would hold another Open-Air, entrance free, concert in Florianópolis, on December 28, where a crowd of about a million people was expected to attend. However, due to financial and political reasons, the concert was later canceled on short notice, along with all the other events scheduled for Christmas in the city.
2010: Hollywood Walk of Fame and FIFA World Cup
On January 31, 2010, during the 52nd Grammy Awards, Bocelli, Mary J. Blige and David Foster joined forces again, singing "Bridge over Troubled Water" to raise awareness for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. The three had previously made an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live, January 28, 2010, to announce the performance.
On March 2, he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to Live Theater, at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, in front of the Roosevelt Hotel. The previous day, Bocelli, along with David Foster, were honored by L.A. Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest during a ceremony at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, in Hollywood, where "The Story Behind The Voice", a documentary about Bocelli's life and career was shown.
On March 12, Bocelli made an appearance on Skavlan, in Oslo, Norway, to promote his upcoming Scandinavian tour, giving a rare interview to the show's host Fredrik Skavlan, and later performing "Voglio Vivere Cosi", from his 2008 album Incanto, with Norwegian Boys' choir, Sølvguttene.
In April, he returned to Scandinavia, for a concert in Telenor Arena, in Oslo, Norway, on April 8, a concert in Forum Copenhagen, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 9, and finally a concert in the Ericsson Globe, in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 11. He was joined by Tony Award winner Heather Headley and 120 musicians from the Stockholm Concert Orchestra, in all three concerts, and by Swedish mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman in his Swedish concert.
On April 30, Bocelli sang "Nessun Dorma" during the opening ceremony of the Expo 2010, in Shanghai, China, in front of twenty heads of state and government, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The following day, on May 1, he held a concert, titled Charming China, at Shanghai Stadium, in front of an audience of 80,000 people, along with Chinese singers Song Zuying and Jay Chou, and Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang; the China Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied them under the direction of its artistic director Yu Long. The concert was later broadcasted by Shanghai TV, and by CCTV channels throughout mainland China.
Bocelli receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The two appearances coincided with Bocelli's Asian tour, consisting of a concert in Budokan, Tokyo, Japan, on April 28, a concert in Jamsil Gymnasium, Seoul, South Korea, on May 2, a concert in Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, in Hong Kong, on May 4, a concert in Taipei Arena, Taipei, Taiwan, on May 6, and finally a free concert, organized by the YTL Corporation, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, in Singapore, on May 8, attended by over 12,000 people, picked via public ballot, as well as prominent figures in the region, such as, the president of Singapore, S. R. Nathan and his wife, Malaysian billionaire and founder of the YTL Corporation, Yeoh Tiong Lay and his eldest son Francis Yeoh, actress Michelle Yeoh, and founder of Jimmy Choo Ltd, Jimmy Choo. The concert was later broadcasted, in its entirety, by Channel NewsAsia, on May 28 and 29, and by Okto, on May 30, in Singapore. An orchid in the Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden was also named after Bocelli in response to the concert. Australian pop singer Delta Goodrem performed again with Bocelli in all five concerts, after supporting him in his United States My Christmas 2009 winter tour.
On May 18, during the 2010 World Music Awards, Bocelli performed ""Un Amore Cosi Grande" from his 2008 album, Incanto, and received his seventh World Music Award, for "Best Classical Artist".
On July 5, Bocelli gave a concert at the opening of the Khan Shatyry Entertainment Center, in Astana, on the occasion of Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev's 70th birthday. Among the guests were, the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, the President of Tajikistan, Emomalii Rahmon, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva, the Crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the King of Jordan, Abdullah II.
On July 9, Bocelli headlined the "Celebrate Africa: The Grand Finale" Concert of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, at the Coca-Cola Dome, in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mark the end of the World Cup, two days before the World Cup final. During the concert, Bocelli was joined by Canadian rock star, Bryan Adams, Italian flautist, Andrea Griminelli, and South African singers, Nianell and Pretty Yende. FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, South Africain president, Jacob Zuma, and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, were among the 12,000 in attendance.
On July 13, Montenegrin Statehood Day, Bocelli gave a concert at the seaside resort of Sveti Stefan, in western Montenegro, to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Sveti Stefan Hotel. During the hour-long show, on a stage right in front of the island-hotel's perimeter wall, Bocelli sang well-known arias, as well as some of his more popular hits, to the assembled dignitaries, including Montenegro's top officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps and many faces from cultural, political and public life, as well as many current and former tourist entrepreneurs who had contributed to the development of Montenegrin tourism.
On July 14, Bocelli gave a concert at the European Parliament's Espace Léopold, in Brussels, Belgium, during "Rome in the heart of the future", an event hosted by the Vice President of the European Parliament for the seventh parliament, MEP, Roberta Angelilli, "to highlight the city of Rome as the capital of international tourism through an important and ambitious project in Europe." A screening of the film Homage to Rome, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, who was present during the event, and starring Bocelli, in his cinematographic debut, and Italian fashion model, Monica Bellucci, was shown prior to the special concert. The event was also attended by the President of the European Parliament, MEP, Jerzy Buzek, European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani, the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, the President of Lazio, Renata Polverini.
On July 25, Bocelli held the fifth and final edition of the Teatro del Silenzio, in his hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany, to an audience of 10,000, double the amount of the first edition of the annual Festival, held in 2006. After performing with Spanish tenor, Plácido Domingo and Welsh Mezzo-soprano, Katherine Jenkins on the previous edition of the Festival, in 2009, Bocelli's guests included the only other surviving member of The Three Tenors, Spanish Catalan tenor, José Carreras, and Italian rock singer, Zucchero. Sculptures by Swiss artist Kurt Laurenz Metzler, who attended the concert, were exhibited during this year's edition. The Teatro del Silenzio has in past incorporated sculptures by artists such as Arnaldo Pomodoro and Igor Mitoraj. Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, who was also in attendance, donated a Bronze statue she had made of Bocelli, to the city of Lajatico, in the afternoon just before the concert. Bocelli was also awarded the Pisano Doc, during the dress rehearsal for the concert, on July 24, "in recognition for a great citizen, who with his extraordinary art and his humanity brings great prestige, honor and respect to the city of Pisa", and received, the 2010 Premio Lunezia nel mondo, during a private ceremony held on July 21, for "the musical-literary quality of his songs."
In September 2010, Bocelli held a concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, in Athens, Greece. The concert was attended by George Papandreou, the prime minister of Greece and Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens, among others. All proceeds were donated to help cure cancer. Bocelli also gave concerts in Cairo, Egypt, in front of the pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as a fundraising concert inside the famous Duomo di Milano to benefit victims of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
As part of the 2010 leg of the My Christmas Tour, Bocelli gave two concerts in the two largest indoor arenas of the United Kingdom, The O2 Arena, in London, and The M.E.N Arena, in Manchester, and a concert in the largest indoor arena in Ireland, The O2, in Dublin, in late November 2010. His sold out concert at the O2 in London, was the most attended show in the venue's history, with 16,500 people attending the event. In early December, Bocelli gave 6 concerts in the United States. He performed in Madison Square Garden, in New York City, Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey, TD Garden, in Boston, Toyota Center, in Houston, Staples Center, in Los Angeles, and the MGM Grand's Garden Arena, in the Las Vegas Strip. The Toyota Center concert, in Houston, was attended by former president George Bush, Sr. and first lady Barbara Bush.
Bocelli also took part in the Christmas in Washington special on December 12, in the presence of president Barack Obama and the first lady. On December 19, Bocelli gave a concert, conducted by Claudio Scimone, in the Italian Senate. The concert was attended by Italy's top officials including Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano, Renato Schifani, the president of the Italian Senate, Gianfranco Fini, the president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See.
2011: Metropolitan Opera recital, and Central Park Concert
In January, Bocelli gave three concerts in Germany. The concerts in Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg were all part of the Notte Illuminata Tour, launched in Pisa, at the Teatro Verdi, December 2010. In February, Bocelli made his Metropolitan Opera debut, performing a recital, as part of the tour.
In late March, early April, as part of the 2011 Latin Leg of his Incanto Tour, Bocelli gave concerts in Buenos Aires, Bogotá, and Panama City.
In May 2011, Bocelli held 5 concerts in East and Southeast Asia, and was joined by New Zealand soprano Hayley Westenra during the Tour. He first gave a concert in Jakarta, Indonesia, his first visit to the country. The concert was attended by Indonesia's top political personalities, including Golkar Party chairman, billionaire Aburizal Bakrie, PDI-P chairwoman and daughter of former president Sukarno, Megawati Sukarnoputri, herself a former president, and former president Suharto's second eldest daughter, Siti Hediyanti. Bocelli held two other concerts in Taipei, and two concerts in Beijing.
In June and July, Bocelli gave two open air concerts at historic sites, the first at Masada, in Israel, with all proceeds dedicated to support the residents of the Israeli regions of Galilee and Negev, and the second at Syracuse's ancient Greek theatre, in Sicily, with all proceeds donated to the Fiamme di Solidarietà (Flames of Solidarity) organization, to raise awareness of issues concerning the poorest and most marginalized in Italy.
Bocelli gave a free concert on September 15, on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York City. He was accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by its music director Alan Gilbert, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. Bocelli was joined by singers Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Bryn Terfel, Ana María Martínez and Pretty Yende, instrumentalists Chris Botti, Andrea Griminelli and Nicola Benedetti, and producer David Foster. The concert was attended by 70,000 people, including Mayor Bloomberg and Donald Trump. The concert was broadcast throughout the United States and Canada, by PBS, and in Italy, by Rai 1. Concerto, One Night in Central Park, the live album and the DVD were released November 15.
On September 25, Bocelli led Songs of Praise' 50th anniversary celebration, alongside LeAnn Rimes and Katherine Jenkins.
On October 15, Bocelli performed again for Pope Benedict XVI and a crowd of 8,000 people in Vatican's Audience Hall, during a meeting honoring participants from around the world, for their work in spreading the faith.
On November 7, he gave his second open air free concert of the year, at Praça Rui Barbosa in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to an audience of between 80,000 and 150,000 people.
On November 17, he performed at the Children In Need Rocks Manchester concert, gaining critical acclaim for receiving a standing ovation from a crowd of pop and indie music fans.
In December, Bocelli launched the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, with a mission to fight poverty and fund medical research.
2012: Roméo et Juliette
Bocelli played the role of Romeo in Charles Gounod's opera Roméo et Juliette, at the Teatro Carlo Felice, for two performances in February. He cancelled a third performance with pharyngitis after suffering vocal strain throughout. Fabio Luisi, Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, who conducted, commended Bocelli for performing without fee in a theatre that was suffering severe financial difficulties.
On April 22, Bocelli gave an open air concert at Yerevan's Liberty Square, in Armenia, dedicated to the proclamation of Yerevan as the 2012 World Book Capital. The concert was attended by Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, prime minister Tigran Sargsyan and Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan. Bocelli was accompanied by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marcello Rota.
With the exception of the negative views of some Classical music critics, Bocelli is widely celebrated as a singer and is admired around the world. His voice's timbre is as recognisable as a signature, with a versatility ranging from the Bel canto to the furore of Verismo, from the sacred repertoire to popular ballads.
Franco Corelli, one of the greatest Spinto tenors of the twentieth century, praised Bocelli's voice after hearing it for the first time during a Master class in 1986, in Turin, and would later give him private lessons. Another great Italian tenor who championed Bocelli's singing from the very beginning was Luciano Pavarotti. Pavarotti publicly admired Bocelli's voice and played an early part in the younger man's career. He reportedly stated that "There is no one finer," upon hearing his voice for the very first time. Bocelli would later sing during both his wedding ceremony, in 2003, and his funeral, in 2007.
After conducting Bocelli in the Verdi album, in 2000, Zubin Mehta commented that "Andrea's voice is special in many ways. First of all, he has a complete control from forte to pianissimo on any note. The end of 'Celeste Aida,' he attacks the high B flat full voice and then pulls it down to nothing — hardly anybody can do that, it's also very risky on the stage at the opera. But it's not that we tried it 15 times and he got it once; he can do it every time. He can also, in the middle of a phrase, without breathing, change the color of a note, so it's a conductor's dream to ask and to get it because most people can't do that." The interview where Mehta made those comments was featured in a BBC documentary about Bocelli, entitled the "Story Behind the Voice". Mehta also compared Bocelli's voice to the old Italian style of singers, such as Tito Schipa.
The same documentary also featured an interview with Spanish Catalan tenor, José Carreras. He commented that "The first time I had the possibility to listen to Andrea, he was a part of the Sanremo Festival. And I thought wow, that's a nice voice, very beautiful color, very tenor like." He proceeded by saying, "I always thought that he has a wonderful instrument, that he knows very much how to use it."
Lorin Maazel, who conducted Bocelli's 2002 Classical album, Sentimento, was also featured in the documentary. In the interview he says that "Andrea Bocelli has amazing Tessitura, almost three Octaves, I would think two and a half, has excellent and very easy top notes; but he can also fill out the lower register very successfully." Maazel also praised Bocelli's Musical talent and knowledge of music, and compared his voice to that of celebrated Irish tenor John McCormack, during an interview with Charlie Rose, in 2002.
Similarly, during a 1999 interview on Charlie Rose, American soprano Renée Fleming praised Bocelli's voice, by saying "first of all the sound is beautiful. There is something very soulful about the way he sings and it's captured the hearts of something like, the last I've heard eleven million fans." Grammy winning Puerto Rican soprano, Ana María Martínez, who regularly performs with Bocelli, also said that "More than anything, Andrea has something that is unique in that he brings this light that is always around him. And this purity of heart and beauty of sound just touches the listener. It can’t be described."
French Canadian singer Celine Dion famously said while introducing him during her Christmas Special for These Are Special Times, in 1998, that "if God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli," and multiple Grammy Award winner David Foster, a producer of the album, often describes Bocelli's voice as the most beautiful in the world. Similarly, seven-time Grammy Award winning Jazz singer, Al Jarreau, who performed with Bocelli on the "Night of the Proms" tour in Europe, in 1995, described him as "the most beautiful voice in the world," and American talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, commented on her talk show that, "when I hear Andrea sing, I burst into tears."
After attending Bocelli's concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, the first time she'd been out "in months", American actress Elizabeth Taylor said, "My mind, my soul were transported by his beauty, his voice, his inner being. God has kissed this man and I thank God for it." Taylor had been a passionate fan of Bocelli's since the beginning of his music career in the mid-1990s. Other fans include, Prince Albert of Monaco, who invited the tenor to sing at his wedding, as well as Sarah, Duchess of York, and actress Isabella Rossellini. Bocelli's voice was also a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and Pope John Paul II, for whom he sang on many occasions, and released Credo, a DVD dedicated to his life, shortly after his death, in 2006.
Other world class artists from both the Pop and Opera worlds have also publicly expressed their admiration, including opera singers Plácido Domingo, Cecilia Bartoli, and Angela Gheorghiu who collaborated with Bocelli, and conductor Myung-whun Chung, who conducted Bocelli's 1999 album, Sacred Arias.
Despite his worldwide popularity and praise, Bocelli's voice, more specifically his interpretation of opera, has been regularly criticized by classical music critics. These include Bernard Holland of The New York Times, and Andrew Clement of The Guardian.
In 1999, The New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini in his review of Bocelli's North American opera debut at the Detroit Opera House in the title role of Massenet's Werther commented, "The basic colour of Mr. Bocelli's voice is warm and pleasant, but he lacks the technique to support and project his sound. His sustained notes wobble. His soft high notes are painfully weak. Inadequate breath control often forces him to clip off notes prematurely at the end of phrases." In December 2000, Tommasini again criticised Bocelli, this time for his La bohème album when he claimed that Bocelli "still has trouble with basic things, like breath support" and his voice had been "carefully recorded", "to help it match the trained voices of the other cast members in fullness and presence."
In describing Bocelli's singing, New York Times music critic Bernard Holland noted, "the tone is rasping, thin and, in general, poorly supported. Even the most modest upward movement thins it even more, signalling what appears to be the onset of strangulation. To his credit, Mr Bocelli sings mostly in tune. But his phrasing tends toward carelessness and rhythmic jumble... The diction is not clear." Furthermore, Holland observed that "The critic's duty is to report that Mr Bocelli is not a very good singer." The Associated Press reported "Passion? Yes. Power. No. Bocelli's voice – though robust in spirit and precisely in tune, even in the upper register – had a thin quality that never opened up." Similarly, classical music critic Andrew Clement found Bocelli's studio opera recordings consistently disappointing in quality: "Bocelli's profoundly unmusical contribution, with its unvaryingly coarse tone, wayward intonation and never a phrase properly shaped, fatally undermines all their contributions." Anne Midgette of The New York Times agreed, noting "a thinness of voice, oddly anemic phrasing (including shortchanging upper notes of phrases in a most untenorial manner), a curious lack of expression."
During a 2009 performance in New York, the music critic Steve Smith wrote "For cognoscenti of vocal artistry the risks involved in Mr. Bocelli's undertakings, both then and now, need no explanation. Substantial technical shortcomings masked by amplification are laid bare in a more conventional classical setting. Mr. Bocelli's tone can be pleasant, and his pitch is generally secure. But his voice is small and not well supported; his phrasing, wayward and oddly inexpressive."
In 2010, Joe Banno of the Washington Post gave an unfavorable review of Bocelli's Carmen recording, describing the oft-noted failings in Bocelli's vocal resources on full display in this performance: "Bocelli, to be fair, possesses an essentially lovely tenor and knows his stuff when it comes to selling a pop ballad. And Decca's close miking of his puny voice inflates his sound to near-Franco Corelli-like dimensions. But his short-breathed, clumsily phrased, interpretively blank and often pinched and strained singing makes his Don Jose a tough listen."
In a 2011 review of an all-classical recital, Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times commented that Bocelli "seemed out of his element and ill at ease... listeners responded politely and pleasantly, as if fulfilling their duty, a bit puzzled by the gap between the cautious sounds they were hearing and the smooth polish of Mr. Bocelli's blockbuster recordings." Woolfe goes on to observe "If people don’t know the works on a program (and Sunday evening's selection was far from populist), the singer needs to make those works happen, to prove them. But Mr. Bocelli was too nervous and not a powerful enough artist to do that. Even the French songs that were seemingly the best fit for his delicate instrument fell flat. Demonstrating little responsiveness to text or emotional specificity — Fauré's "Lune Blanche" did have an aptly gauzy sheen — they passed in a blur. In Mr. Bocelli's conception of the canon there is little audible difference between Handel and Gounod, and little urgency to either, a bland homogeneity... Ringing Pavarotti-style high notes are difficult for Mr. Boc