At last, a legend for the new millennium. A myth in the Homeric sense, “story delivered by word of
mouth”, which blossomed through singing, just like Caruso, Gigli, Del Monaco, Corelli… A legend of
Andrea Bocelli’s caliber cannot be artificially designed: not even the most astute marketing plan would
be able to come up with such a result. People simply recognize his talent and choose him. This is what
happened, in an apparently well-matched but perfect context, the Italian singing competition Sanremo in
1994, because the childhood of a legend follows a course that breaks tradition. Since then, the tone of
his voice has brought gentleness to the world and his fame has increased exponentially. “If God could
sing, He would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli”: even Celine Dion’s famous comment is a clear,
unadorned testament to the artist’s legendary status, as well as the perception of a God given gift. That
voice, that melancholic and at the same time radiant tone, unrivalled in interpreting the love song of a
lover or a father, a matchless expression of earthly desire or heavenly love. We are about to celebrate
the first twenty years of his career, supported by the sale of 80 million records.
With talent comes responsibility
“I don’t think one decides to become a singer, it is decided for you by the reactions of the people
around you”. Andrea Bocelli has had to come to terms with having two all-encompassing gifts. The first
is a specific timbre, which has become his signature, full and powerful, versatile to the point that he can
range from the belcanto to the furor of verismo, from the sacred repertoire to the popular ballads. The
second is more intimate: life led Andrea Bocelli to developing a different ability when he lost his
eyesight during adolescence. This privation amplified his extraordinary and unique sensitivity, which
transcends all boundaries, causing him to excel in his interpretation of lyrics and in his perception of the
subtleties of musical expression.
The power of an unusual journey
Bocelli, the superb lyric voice that opera had been awaiting for years, “exploded” onto the world stage
performing one song. An unusual route offering extraordinary possibilities: a real breath of fresh air in a
world –the opera world – that is in danger of forgetting its own popular origins. It rang out in every
corner of the world in “Time to say goodbye”, while on stage it resonated in the operatic masterpieces:
a voice which combines the power of the heroic tone with a youthful tenor’s grace, strengthened by an
unusually polished timbre.
Old-fashioned training of a modern tenor
A Tuscan, like Puccini and Mascagni, Andrea Bocelli was born on 22nd September 1958 at the family
farm in Lajatico, amongst the vineyards of the Pisan countryside. His parents must be given credit for
having encouraged young Andrea’s musical talent, allowing him to start studying the piano from the age
of only six years old. Later his musical passion extended to the flute and the saxophone, but it was in his
voice that Andrea discovered the ideal instrument. This was the beginning of a formative process which
would produce Bocelli, the star, “a modern but old fashioned tenor” (as he likes to describe himself). In
1970 he enjoyed his first success in a singing competition: performing “O sole mio”. After studying
singing with Maestro Luciano Bettarini, Bocelli approached Franco Corelli, an artist whom he had
always worshipped. In order to pay for singing lessons, Andrea played the piano in the local bars and in
the meantime he continued to develop his interest in humanities and graduated in Law at the University
of Pisa. In the same period that saw his launch in the world of pop, having been discovered by Caterina
Caselli and signed to her record label Sugar, Andrea had an opportunity to make his debut on the
operatic stage, in 1994 in Verdi’s Macbeth (in the role of Macduff) directed by Claudio Desderi. That
requests in piano bars: this was the start of a meteoric rise. Andrea Bocelli had found the stage, or
rather, the stage had found Andrea Bocelli and would never leave him.
Con te partirò
There is something miraculous about the parallel track, along which Andrea Bocelli’s career developed.
In 1996 “Con te Partirò” (and later its arrangement as a duet with Sarah Brightman with the title “Time
to say Goodbye”) was heard in every corner of the world. The Bocelli phenomenon was talked about
everywhere: an artist whose explosion into the recording world – with an album entitled Romanza – was
breaking all records. In Germany, for example, the duet became the best selling single of all time.
the same time, Andrea embarked on his operatic adventure, carefully managing of his voice. In Torre
del Lago, in the summer of 1997, Bocelli performed parts of Madame Butterfly and Tosca, and also the
“aria dei 9 do” from La fille du regiment, which received a standing ovation. In 1998 came a new debut,
this time playing Rodolfo - alongside Daniela Dessi - in Puccini’s La Bohème in Cagliari. That same year
he met Maestro Zubin Mehta and this led to the beginning of their successful collaboration. 1999 was a
very intense year. Andrea performed at the Arena in Verona for the first time, where he was applauded
by an audience of eighteen thousand. In October, he made his debut in the United States in Massenet’s
of “The Prayer”, which had already won the Golden Globe Award and was subsequently nominated for
an Oscar. From here on, the Bocelli legend, supported by huge record sales, was unstoppable. His
concerts would find the most celebrated directors on the podium such as Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa,
Valeri Gergev, Zubin Mehta and Myun Whun Chung.
In January 2001, Andrea made his debut on
stage in Verona in Mascagni’s Amico Fritz. On 28th October, following an invitation by Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, he sang Schubert’s Ave Maria at Ground Zero in front of the whole world as part of the
memorial to the victims of 9/11. In the summer of 2002 he performed in the role of Pinkerton in
awards, in 2004 Bocelli continued to develop his operatic stage career (playing Cavaradossi in Tosca and
then the lead in Werther in Bologna) as well as performing at many large concert venues.
The essential (is invisible to the eye)
“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye” wrote Antoine
de Saint-Exupery…and the essential, in the career of an opera singer, can be found in his discography.
In Bocelli’s case it is by his recordings that his voice can be guaranteed to be kept constantly current for
generations to come. As Caruso did at the start of the last century, so Bocelli continues to do at the
beginning of the millennium. His first “classical” recording dates back to 1997 and was entitled Viaggio
Italiano. It was a Caterina Caselli Sugar project undertaken with the Moscow Radio Symphony
Orchestra: spanning from Puccini to Schubert, Verdi to Donizetti. 1998 saw the release of Aria – The
Opera Album, with the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino directed by Gianandrea Noseda.
The dawn of the new millennium was marked by the release of a CD dedicated to Sacred Arias with the
Orchestra and Choir of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia conducted by Myung-Whun Chung: an
homage to Christianity, which remains one of his most brilliant artistic productions, becoming the best
selling classical album ever released by a solo artist. Bocelli earned a place in the Guinness Book of
World Records by occupying first, second and third place in the American classical music charts.
A voice for the new millennium
The year 2000 marked a new milestone in Andrea Bocelli’s recording career: Puccini’s La Bohème, with
Maestro Zubin Mehta conducting and Barbara Frittoli in the role of Mimì. Andrea had already played
the role of Rodolfo in 1998 prompting praise from Corelli, who commented: “Andrea is an operatic
tenor with a voice of rare beauty. His sense of romance and melody goes beyond the very essence of
the release of the Verdi album, which gave Andrea the opportunity to immerse himself in this national
treasure’s masterpieces. In 2001 it was the turn of Verdi’s Requiem, a recording with a formidable cast,
starting from the conductor Valery Gergiev. In the autumn of 2002 Andrea Bocelli combined his
energies with those of Lorin Maazel, with whom he undertook a very special recording project:
Sentimento, a collection of romantic pieces by composers such as Tosti, Denza and Gastaldon, arranged
for the orchestra by M° Maazel, who also demonstrated his refined musical talents as a concert violinist,
accompanying Bocelli’s voice. The project was an enormous success earning Andrea a double
nomination at the 2003 Classical Brit Awards, where he won both “Album of the Year” and “Best
Selling Classical Album of the Year”. In May 2003 Andrea sang the role of Mario in his album of
Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca under the direction of Zubin Mehta. In spring 2004 Bocelli released Il Trovatore
which had been recorded at the Bellini Opera House in Catania in 2001. Bocelli was accompanied by
Veronica Villarroel, Carlo Guelfi and Carlo Colombara.
On the Opera stage: the great love
Accustomed to leaping over apparently insurmountable obstacles, the Tuscan tenor extended his
repertoire (not disdaining an occasional carefully measured venture into melodic cross-over territory).
Bocelli sang Werther, which was released into the market in spring. The following year his repertoire of
operatic recordings was enriched by two great landmarks of realism: Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and
Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, both directed by Steven Mercurio. His more recent projects included the
demanding role of Andrea Chénier by Giordano and finally the most audacious and bewitching love
story of all time, Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Myung Whun Chung. For his concerts Bocelli conquered
the most lauded strongholds of the classical music world such as the Wiener Staatsoper. In 2008, while
his new album Incanto was a sell-out success, Andrea performed in Carmen at the Rome Opera, followed
by Puccini’s Messa di Gloria in Padova, and then La Petite Messe Solennelle in the United States, directed by
Placido Domingo. He appeared as Turiddu in the Cavalleria Rusticana on the prestigious stage of the
Deutsche Opera in Berlin and then flew to South America where he performed to an audience of more
than 110,000 in San Paolo, Brazil.
Having always been sensitive to the call for solidarity, Bocelli’s name is frequently to be found heading
the list of artists appearing at concerts to support causes such as aid for the earthquake victims of the
Abruzzo, alongside stars such as Angela Gheorghiu and in evocative venues such as the Colosseum in
Rome. And it is to promote the image of the Eternal City that Franco Zeffirelli, the film director, asked
him to play Mario Cavaradossi from Puccini’s Tosca, protagonist of his film Promo di Roma with actress
Monica Bellucci. In September 2009 Bocelli made his triumphant debut at Carnegie Hall in New York
in a triple concert where he performed sacred arias and lieder. In November he was awarded another
prestigious token of recognition – the Vittorio de Sica Prize – conferred by the President of the
Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. As many of the legendary voices of the past such as Caruso and Sinatra
have done before him, Andrea Bocelli also celebrates the Christmas tradition. His new album My
Christmas shot to success in no time. Released on 3rd November 2009 in the USA, it went straight into
the charts at number three and reached second place where it remained for six consecutive weeks.
Achieving sales of more than 4 million, this makes it the 5th top selling album in the world in 2009. And
these can be added to the 65 million records already sold to date. Since March 2010 there has been a
new star shining bright on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame dedicated to our Tuscan tenor, one of a very few
Italians to appear in this prestigious firmament.
Moreover, the Andrea Bocelli website www.andreabocelli.com has achieved over a million hits in one
Meanwhile the annual meeting at the “Teatro del Silenzio”, the joyful and prestigious summer
concert event performed (since 2006) in the spectacular natural setting of the Tuscan hills in Val d’Era,
acquires a reputation that makes it an unmissable event for a wide international audience, that comes to
of the project. Among the guests who have appeared with him on the stage of the stunning open-air
amphitheatre are Placido Domingo, Josè Carreras, Lang Lang, Laura Pausini, David Foster, Sarah
Brightman, Zucchero Fornaciari, Heather Headley, Noa, Roberto Bolle and Nicola Piovani. A lover of
beauty and art beyond the traditional ideological standards, Andrea Bocelli is a world famous pop star, a
refined and versatile opera singer and a passionate, committed humanist. In autumn 2010 the updated
and expanded edition of his autobiographical novel “La Musica del Silenzio” (“The Music of Silence”)
was met with great acclaim. At the same time Bocelli achieved yet another huge success with the release
of his recording of Carmen: Duets & Arias, a collection of the most famous arias from Georges Bizet’s
Carmen which shot to the top of the charts in the United States and Canada.
A record-breaking artist
Andrea Bocelli faces the new decade and continues in his tireless concert and lyrical activities, constantly
extending his repertoire, also in new musical fields such as Baroque and Lieder works. He interpreted an
extremely complex Lieder program – the international project entitled the “Notte Illuminata” in
February 2011, receiving an incredible 20 minute standing ovation. This seals the debut of the artist at
the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, a city where he returned on September 15th of the same
year for the extraordinary concert held on the Great Lawn in Central Park, singing with artists such as
Bryn Terfel, Celine Dion and Tony Bennett, and accompanied by the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert: an exceptional event which was broadcast by WNET and
recorded to make a CD and DVD (“Concerto: One Night in Central Park”) distributed in over 70
different countries. In February 2012, another debut in the lyrical world: Bocelli starred on stage at the
Carlo Felice theatre in Genoa in the lead role of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette directed by Fabio Luisi. A
double CD of this production was also made and released in November.
In 2012 a new CD “Opera” is
also released. It is an anthology of the most dazzling moments in the history of opera performed during
an international career spanning twenty years, in addition to the “Complete Opera Edition”, a box-set –
always for the label Decca – which brings together in eighteen CDs the lyrical recording of complete
Operas performed by the Tuscan Tenor. In October, during the London ceremony for the prestigious
“Classic Brit Awards 2012”, he was awarded the award “International Artist of the Year” by the
composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
On the pop music side, Andrea Bocelli has been one of the most loved and followed stars at a global
level for more than twenty years. His highly anticipated new album “Passione” – released in seventy-five
countries at the end of January 2013 and immediately shooting up to the top of the International charts,
remaining in the billboard 200 for over two months – includes some of the most beautiful love songs of
all time including, furthermore, duets with Jennifer Lopez e Nelly Furtado. On 1st of June 2013 a
crowded Arena in Verona welcomes Andrea Bocelli in the sumptuous Opera Gala – broadcast in prime
time by the Rai television Channel – celebrating, at the same time, the centenary of the opera season at
the Arena and the Verdi bicentennial, alongside the memory of his late colleague, Luciano Pavarotti. On
that occasion the Tuscan tenor sung, once more, a duet with Placido Domingo, who halso tried his
hand on the podium, conducting a memorable interpretation by Bocelli of “Nessun dorma”.
To the renewed success of the Teatro del Silenzio, whose eighth edition had guests such as Giorgio
Albertazzi, Lindsay Kemp, Riccardo Cocciante and Pino Daniele, will follow - in autumn - the release of
the CD + DVD “Love in Portofino”, an international project featuring the performances of Andrea
Bocelli (of authors like Ennio Morricone, Elvis Presley, Fred Buscaglione) and the extraordinary duets
of the tenor with Jennifer Lopez, Chris Botti, Sandy, Caroline Campbell and Veronica Berti: the CD
alternates the splendor of the live performance to the songs recorded the studio, whilst the DVD
contains images of the concert event that Bocelli held in Portofino in August 2012 in front of an
and Ornella Muti.
A star in concerts that were inevitably sold-out, Andrea Bocelli has also recorded lyrical operas such as
“La Bohème”, “Tosca”, “Il Trovatore”, “Werther”, “Pagliacci”, “Cavalleria Rusticana”, “Carmen”, “Andrea
M° Metha, Aida. On April 30
2015, he was the triumphant protagonist at the opening concert of Expo
complete Pop Album” was released in July 2015, an exclusive box-set where Andrea Bocelli’s
extraordinary career is retraced for the first time through the publication of the entire pop catalogue.
The remastered catalogue includes 13 songs + 3 bonus albums, distributed by Sugar Srl/Ume
Last October 23rd he released his new pop album, also his fifteenth studio recording, in 75 countries,
dedicated to movie soundtracks: 16 timeless songs interpreted in five different languages, which have
touched the hearts and memories of several generations. From duets (including Ariana Grande) to
entrancing masterpieces related to the big screen, "Cinema" contains an exceptional set of songs that
embraces all major successes written for the cinema: great love stories and not only, from films such as
such as 'West Side Story' and 'Evita', made immortal by their cinematic representations.
The album, just one month after its release is already breaking a new record in the UK charts: in fact
Andrea Bocelli is the first classical music artist who has had ten Albums in the UK Top 10 pop music
chart, thus confirming to be the best selling artist of classical music of all times in the United Kingdom.
During a further triumphant tour in Asia, on April 20
2016 Andrea Bocelli performed in India, taking
himself, conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra).
Andrea Bocelli in his career has performed for four Presidents of the United States, three Popes, the
British Royal Family and many Prime Ministers. Lately he has sung for Queen Elizabeth, on the
occasion of the Gala Evening organized in the Park of Windsor Castle, to celebrate the 90
In the sign of solidarity
Having always been convinced that solidarity is the only intelligent response to inequality, since the 90s
Andrea Bocelli has been one of the protagonists of several important events related to philanthropy and
to the support of the disadvantaged throughout the world. In July 2011 Andrea Bocelli, the honorary
President of the ARPA Foundation, which promotes research and training in the field of medical health,
gave life to ABF “the Andrea Bocelli foundation” in order to enhance, and not disperse, the richness of
the relationships, the exchange of emotions, and the bond of trust that every day, for years, he has
created and still creates with many people all over the world. At the moment the “Andrea Bocelli
Foundation” is at the forefront at an international level, through intervention programs aimed at
overcoming the barriers generated by poverty, disability and social exclusion, because, as claimed by its
Founder: ”we are all brought into the world to be happy, and we all have a right to happiness. This is
often not possible due to the hindrances created by unfair societies and communities, because of the
walls put up by ourselves and our limiting beliefs”. The ambitious initiatives of the ABF Foundation
have already involved exceptional individuals (such as the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Junus),
joining forces with world-renowned universities and advanced research institutions, such as the MIT -
projects of ABF were the main topic– on June 26
2013 –of a heartwarming and affectionate meeting
of singing in the presence of His Holiness Pope Francis, in the occasion of the World Meeting of
Families in Philadelphia. At the opening of the world Economic Forum 2015 in Davos, he was given
the Crystal Award, a prestigious award to the artist, the man, the philanthropist.
Already present in 2013 at the prestigious National Prayer Breakfast of Washington, both as an artist
and as the Founder of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, he has been once more invited in 2016, and
once again, in the presence of the US President, Barack Obama, his performances and also the short
speech he gave contextually, have been welcomed by a double standing ovation.
On May 25
2016 Andrea Bocelli gave birth, together with Argentine footballer Javier Zanetti, to an
Expo in Milan. The “Bocelli & Zanetti Night” has hosted great artists and football legends. From Pelé
to Ronaldo, from Zubin Mehta to Laura Pausini and Kylie Minogue, all united to give their
philanthropic contribution, in favor of projects dedicated to the education of children in particularly
disadvantaged areas in Argentina and Haiti.
Giorgio De Martino