Entertainment Music Reviews

Saturday 16 December 2017

Review: Andrea Bocelli lacks gravitas and speciality of past shows

Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli

Eamonn Sweeney

Andrea Bocelli is seemingly becoming more mainstream by the day.

Nicole Scherzinger is best known as the face and voice of the Pussycat Dolls. In 2016, the former X Factor judge is duetting with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on the 3Arena stage. It is safe to say you probably wouldn’t see this at La Scala or Covent Garden.

Ever since singing with Celine Dion, who likened his voice to God, Bocelli ignores boundaries between low and high culture at the risk of polarizing audiences and upsetting purists.

Irish soprano Celine Byrne accompanies Bocelli for a traditional set of popular opera arias from Puccini and Mozart in the first half. During the interval, the screens go into promotional overdrive plugging Andrea’s latest album Cinema, which is all a little over the top and not quite befitting the tone of the evening.

It’s hard to fault the musicianship even if it gets slightly saccharine. Nicole Scherzinger appears in a sparkling dress and performs a histrionic but effective version of Memory from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. Bocelli's easy listening classic Canto della Terra is somewhat spoiled by an artificial drum machine. The visual impact of a pair of interpretive dancers is also completely lost in this cavernous venue.

The Italian icon still delivers a fine show, but it lacks the sense of occasion and gravitas of previous visits.

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