Italian entertainment: Andrea Bocelli. Music, hope, one world, together
- WTI Magazine #127 May 16, 2020
Sunday the 12th of April, Easter Day, the famous tenor Andrea Bocelli gave a live streaming concert in the Milan Cathedral, an amazing and touching event which represented a symbol of hope and belief during these difficult times.
Let’s step back for a moment so that we can understand better who this brilliant singer is. Bocelli has recorded 16 pop and classic albums known all around the world and he performed with wonderful artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Lopez, Céline Dion, Christina Aguilera, John Miles, Marta Sánchez, Stevie Wonder, Hélène Ségara, Sarah Brightman, Laura Pausini, Natalie Cole, Mary J. Blige and Ariana Grande.
Andrea Bocelli was born in 1958 in La Sterza (Tuscany) to a farmer’s family. He was partially sighted since his birth, because of a congenital glaucoma, and then he became blind at the age of 12, after a soccer accident. Andrea has always affirmed that this health situation has never constituted an obstacle for his career and his private life. Indeed he received a Degree in Law at Pisa University and he graduated in lyric singing at the Giacomo Puccini Conservatory.
In 1992 an important collaboration started with the popular Italian rock star Zucchero, which led Bocelli to his first big victory: he participated in the “Festival della Canzone Italiana” in Sanremo and he successfully won the competition in the “Young” category with the song “Il mare calmo della sera” written by Zucchero and Gloria Nuti. The year after he ranked 4th with one of his most known and appreciated worldwide hits, “Con te partirò”.
In 1998 Andrea held his first exhibition in the United States, performing a sensational concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. His fame had already spread to the U.S. so, the day after, he was received at the White House by the U.S. President Bill Clinton and, the same year, he was also included in the list of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. These facts represented the beginning of a special and long relationship between the outstanding tenor and the United States of America and, in particular, with some famous American artists.
On Thanksgiving Eve, Bocelli was invited to Celine Dion's television special “These Are Special Times” where they sang an unforgettable duet of “The Prayer”, which was also included on Dion's album “These Are Special Times”. This version of the song was very appreciated by the American public, indeed Andrea and Celine masterfully performed “The Prayer” at the ceremony of the 42nd Grammy Awards, when the song was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
During the years, Bocelli held concerts all around the world (Europe, Australia, South America) but his liaison with the United States never weakened and remained an exclusive one. As evidence of this, he established an important collaboration with the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) through which he instituted a scholarship in his name, the Andrea Bocelli Music Scholarship. In 2000 he received the National Italian American Foundation’s U.S./Italy Friendship Award during the NIAF gala.
An aspect that people have always loved of the celebrated singer was not only his talent of building great worldwide work relations, but also his sensibility in preserving the human ones. During his life, he married twice and he has three children Amos, Matteo and Virginia. Someone asked him if there was something he regretted not being able to see, alluding at his children. He answered that he knew what his children looked like because he had grown them “among his hands”.
The tender relationship between him and his son Matteo hit the public during the 2018 Sanremo Festival. They sang together “Fall on Me” and, during the extraordinary exhibition, Matteo was wearing the leather jacket that his father wore in the occasion of his victory during the same Festival in 1992.
The power, intensity and profoundness of Andrea Bocelli have made him one of the most admired singers in Italy and not only. This is why, during this hard time for the entire world, he was chosen to hold a concert on the 12th of April at the Milan Cathedral, the famous cathedral church dedicated to the Nativity of St. Mary. Accompanied by a video showing pictures of the major Italian deserted cities, the acclaimed tenor performed some well-known Christian hymns, starting from “Panis angelicus” by Ce’sar Franck, then “Ave Maria” by Bach/Gounod, continuing with “Santa Maria” by Mascagni and “Domine Deus”, ending with “Amazing Grace” by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton, which had a great diffusion in the U.S. during the 60s revival of folk music and which now has become a sort of icon in the American culture.
Some days later, on the 18th of April, he participated in the virtual concert organized by Global Citizen and Lady Gaga in benefit of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The “One World: Together at Home” campaign collected 127,9 million of dollars and a great number of famous artists took part, among them Camilla Cabello, Chris Martin, Gloria Gaynor. Andrea performed an amazing “The Prayer” with Celine Dion, Lang Lang, Lady Gaga and John Legend that touched Youtubers’ hearts and instilled hope through all the countries.