Opera review: Andrea Bocelli

Bocelli's unique voice and enormously impressive rendition makes him a natural heir of all that is best in the Italian vocal tradition.

Andrea Bocelli (photo credit: Courtesy)
Andrea Bocelli
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Israeli Opera Festival did not do Andrea Bocelli a favor by bringing him to Masada. There he was, compelled to battle against an orchestra that was rendered boisterous by desert winds and an incompetent amplification.
Nevertheless, after having become used to these unfavorable conditions, one could gratefully enjoy Bocelli's unique voice and enormously impressive rendition, as a natural heir of all that is best in the Italian vocal tradition.
In the program’s first part he presented a selection from the popular and best-loved Italian opera repertoire, such as Verdi’s “La donna e mobile” from Rigoletto, and Turrido’s aria from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Well-known as they are, they sounded fresh and inspired as though performed and heard for the first time.
In the second part conductor Marcello Rota succeeded at last to restrain the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le-Zion – and the winds – and to adjust its volume to the sound of the voice. Here, the classics were left behind, and Bocelli presented some of the best-known Italian popular songs, such as di Capua’s “O sole mio” and Denza’s “Funiculi funicula.” In these so-called “light” pieces, Bocelli sounded no less intense and emotionally involved than in the classical ones.
In his generosity, Bocelli shared the stage with two local talents – Ahinoam Nini and Mira Anwar Awad. Both captured the Italian singing style surprisingly well, without a trace of heir own ethnic origin, and with enchanting personal charm.
Paola Sanguinetti, in some arias and duets with Bocelli, displayed a clear, bright soprano, somewhat more theatrical than emotional in expression.
Israeli Opera Festival, Masada, June 12