Reviewer: John Roberts
Being a Tuscan, Opera has naturally become a way of life for 55 year old Tenor; influences like Puccini and Mascagni are not forgotten during Bocelli’s epic Concerto Tour, which played Liverpool’s Echo Arena to an engrossed and rapturous capacity crowd.
A balance of Aria’s, Cantata’s and Oratorio’s span the two and a half hour programme, taking in a range of productions that have played a major part in the career of Bocelli, which scenes of are displayed on the giant LED screen while he sings. Stand out numbers include a beautiful duet with Bulgarian soprano Svetla Vassileva from Romeo &Juliet and soaring rendition from La Traviata to conclude the end of act one. Act 2 feels lighter and more fun and an almost perfect rendition of Vieni Sul Mar for this reviewer steals the evening.
Bocelli is joined on stage by several guest performers, however with no programme or company list the opportunity to give credit and praise makes for a difficult task and with a programme for the evening at a bank breaking £15 proves a little too much but nothing a bit of internet searching can’t fix…however the two classical Spanish guitarists (Carisma) who join for a section of the evening praising Spanish opera is a true delight and shows perfect musical craftsmanship – while the quartet of female soprano singers (Div4’s) provide the evening with some female glamour.
Speaking for the first time for his mammoth encore session Bocelli, may be a man of few words, but when he does engage with the audience it is with a warm and self deprecating manner which instantly warms him to the audience after playing the guitar and singing Yesterday he apologises for his ‘terrible accent’ and then whips the crowd into a frenzy with renditions of The Prayer, Con te Partirò (Time to Say Goodbye) and Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot.
The opportunity to see one of the world’s biggest tenors (he even as his own star on Hollywood’s hall of fame) complete with 60 members of the Manchester Chamber Choir and a 50 piece British Philharmonic Orchestra conducted with panache and expert showmanship don’t come around all too often and that alone makes this an evening quite magical and a perfect winter warmer.