02 November 2018 (gig)
03 November 2018
On the very day it was announced that his latest album 'Si' had become the first classical album in 21 years to make it to the coveted number one album spot, Bocelli returned to The O2. With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and glittering guest stars.
He introduced himself with Verdi’s classic ‘La Donna e Mobile’. Following that with another Verdi aria, the glorious ‘Di Quella Pira,’ he introduced some lesser known pieces including Massenet’s ‘O Souverain’ and ‘Thais’ all of which were delivered meticulously by the delightful orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus. During ‘O Sile Mio’ images of Pavarotti were cast onto the huge backdrop screens. The trailblazing Pavarotti is credited for introducing the classical pop genre which Bocelli has now made his own. Sure, it would have been great to be in the shadow of a ruined castle, lights cascading across crumbling grey stone, but we were in London, the best city in the world, enjoying some of the best music in the world and the underrated acoustics of The O2. The screens transported us for each song to various destinations the pyramids, snow capped mountains and previously staged Bocelli operas.
Delivered in two halves the first set trod a more traditional path with soprano Sumi Jo giving several impeccable performances while the second turned a musical corner with Beverly Knight appearing to sing ‘Shoulda Woulda Coulda’. The time-honoured aria led set first half giving way to a more classical pop focus. Her following duet with Bocelli was simply astounding her vocal credentials unquestionable the audience responding in kind.
Looking, calm relaxed and vocally stronger than ever Bocelli is like an oak; steadfast, substantial and still maturing. Introducing his son to sing the catchy ‘Fall On You’, Bocelli had clearly made this show a family affair. A preshow video had screened images of his family relaxing at home, which continued through this particular song and concluded with his immediate family, including young daughter, joining him on stage. After a warmly received debut his son also presented him with the No 1 album award, a satisfying moment I’m sure.
Concluding with the crowd pleasing ‘Con Te Partiro’ and rousing ‘Nessun Dorma’ Bocelli had the audience in the palm of his hand. Covering both ends of the stage when waving good-bye I'm sure he knew the whole crowd were on their feet while applauding.
A thoroughly enjoyable operatic evening of a musical legacy which will run and run.