Andrea Bocelli

Picture of Bocelli

The Tenor of the Future, no voice and a microphone, sorry two microphones.

Picture of Munich Rigoletto's curtain call

An opera where The Tenor of the Future would fit well, the new Rigoletto in Munich.

Picture of Bocelli
Picture of Bocelli
Listen to my high register
Andrea il Bello

Andrea Bocelli sings Roméo et Juliette: First with a microport and then with his natural voice
Even Jorge De Leon is better

Andrea Bocelli sings La Traviata: Libiamo, with Anna Netrebko
In RA Format

Andrea Bocelli sings Il Trovatore: Di geloso amor , with Ailyn Perez & Luis Ledesma (What a technique!!)
In RA Format

Andrea Bocelli sings Turandot: Nessun dorma
In RA Format

Andrea Bocelli sings Adeste fideles
In RA Format
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recordings (Trovatore, Adeste fideles, Turandot).
I was thinking about writing an article on the tenor Bocelli when Ray Shaindlin published a well thought out piece on the artist on Opera-L. He said very well what I was thinking and here it is by permission of Ray Shaindlin.

Subject: The antichrist a TENOR?

By Daniel Ray Shaindlin


It very well could be. For a while I thought it was John Tesh and Yanni but now I think he is really among us. ANDREA BOCELLI. Something terrible has happened. Pop "artists" have discovered what classical "artists" have known for years. There is gold in them crossover hills! So while we've been bitching about the Domingo/Denver, Pavarotti/Bolton cash cows, they snuck up on us. The talent challenged have discovered that there are enough untrained ears, enough "opera fans" with LOW standards (or NO standards) to create a market for their assaults. First, let me say something about standards. The great critic (universally recognized as one of the finest writers on opera for what..50 years?) Irving Kolodin once wrote about Chaliapin. To paraphrase--he saw Chaliapin do Boris at the Met. Kolodin was very young and he hated it. He thought it was a tired voice, an old man who had once been better. Only later (as he tells it himself) did he realize that at that time "he had no standards".

If only some of the public would recognize that!

A quick word about technique. There is this little thing in the throat called the PHARYNX. It is the cavity connecting the nasal passages and mouth with the esophagus. One can find references throughout the centuries by the great voice teachers, admonishing students in essence to keep the voice "OUT" of the pharynx. Why? When ones voice is "stuck" (not literally) in the pharynx a couple of things happen. It LOSES ALL RESONANCE and it gets an ugly colorless sound. Now, MANY singers have made careers doing this, but generally it is to be avoided EXCEPT in the pop culture. Almost ALL pop singers sing this way. The Aerosmith guy is a perfect example. So is Michael Bolton. Go down the list and this is the sound that appeals in pop and rock.

In opera we have a good example in Michael Sylvester. A pharyngeal voice. Paul Austin Kelly too. there are others. The KING of them all is Andrea Bocelli. Its a totally non-resonating sound (which keeps the voice small and in need of microphones). In addition, this guy is a terrible musician. He is approximate with note values, with phrasing and with dynamics. If it looks like a pop singer, talks like a pop singer and sings like a pop singer then it must be a POP SINGER.

I have nothing against the guy making a living. I have nothing against people enjoying it, but don't we HAVE to keep our critical radar working? Isn't it important to not blur the line between these different schools? Don't we owe it to ourselves and the art form to grab our standards by the bootstraps and pull them up as high as they will go? Shouldn't we be diligent in NOT letting ourselves be brainwashed by the endless barrage of PR. that comes from the record studios and PBS among others?

I saw American Ballet Theater a few months ago. They presented an evening of pas de duex with what we were told were the great dancers of today. These were supposedly dancers in the tradition of Barishnikov and Marakova to name two. I was doubtful, having been raised on the ABT of 78 to 84. So many giants then, but guess what? These dancers were incredible. It was one of my great nights at the ballet. I thought to myself.."what does the ballet world do that opera doesn't? How do they keep the tradition together, the standards level, the teaching and audience of a high quality"?

I sure as heck don't think that opera does this. One singer after another crashes and burns. Now we have the Michael Bolton Aria album coming out..and who is on it? Fleming. An easy pay check but shame.

My point? Standards are gone. The simple qualities that were once demanded in schooling a singer are almost gone. It's probably just a matter of years until we have a Michael Bolton Pagliacci at the Met. Lines around the block and a huge worldwide audience. It will happen.

I expect to be called a snob. I expect to be told (as has happened in the past) to stick to my old records. Whatever. I'm worried though, really worried. It's all unraveling and those enjoying it SEEM to be those with the smallest background in listening and attending opera. The PR machines are counting on this.

In the early 80's those in power at the MET used to ask the question.."how do we get Mr. and Mrs. Suburb to the opera? Well folks, they did it and they are all watching endless pledge drives with Yanni and John Tesh. Yikes...I gotta go lighten up.

Best
Dan Shaindlin

In an article published in Das Opernglas (April 1998) reprinting in German statements made by Bocelli during an interview for the promotion of his operatic CD for Philips, Bocelli is quoted as saying that:

I believe that pop music plaid an important role in my classical music career. Caruso, Gigli, all this great, popular tenors sang pop songs. With pop music it is possible to reach a larger public and bring them to the opera house.

It is very doubtful that Caruso or Gigli or the greatest concert tenor McCormack persuaded more people to attend opera performances by singing pop music. Today many people that have never entered an Opera House know Pavarotti. This is because of Pavarotti's pop concerts and the Three Tenors Concert, all shown on TV. I suspect that not of many those listeners have converted to opera just because of Pavarotti's popularity.

Bocelli's new CD The Opera Album Aria
In this new CD dedicated fully to opera, Bocelli sings arias from Rigoletto, La Bohème (Puccini and Leoncavallo), Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Andrea Chenier, I Puritani, Der Rosenkavalier, Fedora, La Fanciulla del West, La Gioconda, Adriana Lecouvreur, Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther, Carmen, La Fille du Régiment.
This is quite an ambitious program. The electronics engineers must be complimented to have made that small voice sound adequate. Another recording fraud that makes a singer sound better than in real life. Due to the tessitura, Bocelli sounds very uncomfortable in A te, o cara and Pour mon âme. After his debut in Cagliari in La Bohème, where he could not hide his small voice, he did not sound like the next great tenor. Now he is scheduled to sing another opera, I forgot where and what, with the help of a microphone. After the sad spectacle of the three tenors in concert, the Pavarotti's pop adventures and Pavarotti's open-air concerts with the help of the microphone; this is going to lead to the death of opera, as we know it. No longer will singers need a voice, but a microphone to be heard.


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