Andrea Bocelli in harmony with Nicole Scherzinger for his coming opera tour
Published 05/04/2016 | 15:06
Former X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger will duet with opera star Andrea Bocelli during his UK tour.
Classical music fans will be able to see the Italian tenor and the former Pussycat Doll at arenas in Dublin and London later this year.
The blind star, 58, will perform songs from his latest album Cinema, which features a duet with Scherzinger on Don't Cry For Me Argentina, from Evita.
Bocelli said: "She's got a beautiful voice and she's a very good looking girl as well."
And Scherzinger said: "It's such an honour to share the stage with Mr Bocelli; we always have the best time working together and singing with him is truly the closest I've ever come to singing with an angel.
"I was so appreciative that he asked me to perform alongside him once again and I am very much looking forward to another unforgettable show."
Bocelli, who has sold more than 80 million records, enjoyed chart success with Cinema, which earned him a record 10th UK Top 10 album for a classical artist.
But he issued strong warnings to the industry about declining CD album sales and the promotion of classical music.
The latest figures from music industry body the BPI show a record 26.8 billion songs were streamed last year, a jump of 82% on 2014, but sales of CDs - while still the most popular format in the country - dropped by 4%.
Bocelli said: "Frankly, selling CDs nowadays is a bit of an issue. These are problems both singers and record companies need to face up to because numbers are dwindling and, for sure, one day they won't exist any more.
"Well, what I think is that music consumption has certainly gone up compared to the past, although the quality has decreased quite a lot so nowadays all we get is music via the ether."
The issue was one of sound quality, he said, as highly produced recordings were being compressed into "vulgar" MP3s, meaning "it's very difficult to enjoy and get the full quality of the music".
"And, in fact, what is damaged much more is good music, because electronic music or music where there is a lot of noise it's not so much damaged, while the classical music, traditional singing does get affected very badly," he added.
But Bocelli is not a fan of the recent resurgence of vinyl, sales of which were up 64% to a 21-year high, according to the BPI.
"Vinyls are a bit of a cult or a bit of an idolised object when, in fact, there's no way you can go back and we will continue to look forward," he said.
"Nowadays you have a USB key that can hold 120gb or maybe 250gb and you can imagine how much good quality music a key like that can hold.
"It's unimaginable that one can go into a cupboard looking for a vinyl that can have 10, possibly 12 songs on it - it's just inconceivable."
Bocelli, speaking before performing at the London Palladium, said more needed to be done by the music industry to promote classical music to children.
He said: "Well, I could say that nothing is done really - we need to do a lot, a lot, a lot more because it's important. Classical music helps the spiritual development of people and it's even said to have therapeutic qualities.
"I think that governments or the ministries do spend money on the arts and this is done in every country.
"But what I think should really be done is to have proper marketing for classical music like it's done for other music because that is the only way to promote it properly."
A special edition of Cinema will be released on April 22 and Bocelli will perform in Sheffield, Glasgow, Dublin and the O2 Arena in London in September and October.