01 October 2022 (gig)
01 October 2022
Andrea Boccelli is a name that brings a smile to a face. A tenor known the world over for a voice so powerful it prompted the great Pavarotti to comment that there was "no finer voice".
Ever since winning Italy's prestigious San Remo Music Festival back in 1994 his star has been in its ascendancy. Now 64 and with 15 studio albums behind him he shows no sign of slowing down. The O2 is his venue of choice in London, where he clearly feels comfortable and with a capacity that few of his genre can permit. As we await the arrival of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra we are entertained with promotional videos of his forthcoming Christmas album, 'A Family Christmas'.
Dressed in black tie and patterned velvet dinner jacket Bocelli's opening track Giuseppe Verdi's 'La Donna e Mobile' hits the perfect introductory note. In two distinct halves the first set takes in a more traditional classical outlook with Czech Soprano Zuzana Markova joining Bocelli for some stand out Verdi and Puccini moments.
The break is signalled far too quickly with the nights comedy moment coming shortly after with the conductor leading Bocelli on stage only to lead him straight off again to allow singer and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson her moment in the spotlight with an inspired interpretation of 'Roxanne' by The Police.
His arrangement of 'Ave Maria' is welcomed by the sold out audience before Bocelli introduces "a great little singer", namely his 10-year-old daughter Virginia. His advice to her "there are so many people here to see you, just pretend to be at home". She did and the ensuing duet of 'Hallelujah', brought to a rousing orchestral crescendo, settled any nerves. Dad then departs leaving Virginia to negotiate 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', which she does impeccably.
Bocelli returns to the stage with his son 24-year-old son Matteo and the three join in 'The Greatest Gift' from their Christmas album. Before launching into 'Happy Xmas (War is Over)' Matteo accepts "Its a bit early but..."
Nicole Scherzinger literally sparkles as she delivers a heartfelt version of 'Memories' from Cats and surprisingly delivers my first shivers of the night. She then welcomes back Bocelli and can't hide her excitement during the ensuing 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You'.
Pavarotti & friends opened the doors to classical pop crossover and nights such as this are a testament to it.
The final straight hits hard, with Italian singer Elisa welcomed for 'Con Te Partiro', which always guarantees me those beautiful musical shivers. Some people leave thinking its all over but the classic 'Nesum Dorma' follows to rapturous applause and just when you think there is nothing left we are knocked for six with a cover of Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect Symphony' which sees Matteo back on stage before everyone returns for a final bow.
Christmas came early at The O2 tonight, a true family affair, with the Bocelli's looking relaxed as they set their sights on being the soundtrack to your Christmas.
'A Family Christmas' will be released on October 21.
G. PUCCINI Le Villi La Tregenda
G. VERDI Rigoletto La donna è mobile
G. VERDI Trovatore Di quella pira
G. PUCCINI Gianni Schicchi O mio bambino caro
U. GIORDANO Andrea Chenier Come un bel dì di maggio
U. GIORDANO Andrea Chenier Vicino a te s’acqueta
MASCAGNI Cavalleria Rusticana Intermezzo
G. PUCCINI La Bohème O soave fanciulla
G. VERDI La Traviata Brindisi
T. Bergersen Vanquish Evergreen
A. Bocelli Believe Ave Maria
R. Rodgers Believe You’ll never walk alone
G. Caccamo/G.Black/S.Giuliani Silent Song
L. Denza Incanto Funiculi Funicula
C. A. BIXIO Incanto Mamma
Cohen Believe Hallelujah AB+VB
Arlen Christmas Family Over the Rainbow VB
Moccio Christmas Family The greatest gift AB+MB+VB
J. Lennon Christmas Family Happy Xmas (War is over) MB+VB
A.L. Webber Cats Memories (feat. Nicole Sherzinger)
L.Creatore Amore Can’t help falling in love (feat. Nicole Sherzinger)
F. SARTORI Sogno Canto della terra
Con Te Partirò
Nessun Dorma (Extended Version)
ED SHEERAN Perfect Synmphony (Ab+Mb)