Music Notes: Vocal Master

Andrea Boccelli heads to Washington to perform at Capital One Arena.

Photo by Giovanni De Sandre

Arguably one of the world’s greatest tenors, Andrea Bocelli has received high praise from audiences across the world for his rapturous vocal talent. Celine Dion, who collaborated with Bocelli on “The Prayer,” said “If God had a singing voice, it would sound like Andrea Bocelli.” On Dec. 10, his tour makes a stop at Capital One Arena, where he will alternate between performing arias, duets and choruses by famous opera composers plus popular romanzas from “Cinema” and previous albums.

With over 65 million albums sold and a cult following, Bocelli’s accomplishments grow by the day. A film based on his memoir “La Musica del Silenzio” (“The Music of Silence”) was released earlier this year. Directed by Michael Radford, it chronicles Bocelli’s early life in Tuscany, where he developed the glaucoma that left him completely blind by age 12, through his journey to becoming a world- famous tenor. Of the cinematic experience, in which he makes a short cameo, Bocelli says working alongside actor Tony Sebastian for the role was completely surreal. “[Tony] has been able to get in my shoes very well,” he says “deepening the character and grasping nuances that have made him surprisingly credible.”

Bocelli also has several musical projects in both the classical and pop arenas in the pipeline for 2018, as well as a slate of performances scheduled in the U.S. and Europe. Ahead of his Washington show this month we asked the Italian tenor how he prepares for his well-attended performances.“I prefer to stay on my own, trying to maintain the maximum concentration,”hesays,citingreading,writing and flute playing as sources of relaxation and inspiration before a big show. Bocelli counts his “musical heroes” as a combination of great Italian predecessors (Franco Corelli, Beniamino Gigli) and contemporaries such as Placido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

Like his heroes, Bocelli’s voice has the power to transcend emotion in a way that only music can accomplish. His performances, he says, revolve around the concept of beauty, and its ability to “touch souls, give passion” and move people.“Every time I get on stage I do hope to enter the heart of those listening to me.”

December 10, 8 p.m.; Capital One Arena, Tickets start at $80

This article appeared in the Holiday 2017 issue of Washington Life Magazine. 

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