REVIEW: Andrea Bocelli – SSE Hydro, Glasgow

The man who, Liz Taylor said gave her “golden goosebumps” and about whom Celine Dion once proclaimed: “if God had a singing voice, he would sound like Andrea Bocelli”, is in Glasgow for one night only as part of his Cinema World Tour.

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To satisfy the broadest range of tastes, and to showcase his undoubtedly outstanding voice, the programme includes the most popular classical arias as well as highlights from latest album Cinema. La donna è mobile from Rigoletto, La Traviata’‘s famous Brindisi: Libiamo ne’ lieti calici and Puccini’s Nessun Dorma are inevitably here, but there are less familiar pieces too, Come un bel di’ di Maggio and Vicino a te s’acqueta from Andrea ChénierThe cinema-inspired second act is just as diverse, ranging from Be My Love, made famous by Mario Lanza, through musical theatre standards Maria andThe Music of the Night to the stirring Nelle Tue Mani (Now We Are Free) the theme from Gladiator.

If any reassurances are required about the quality of the evening, Bocelli is backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and a series of hand-picked guests from the classical musical world: Soprano Elisa Balbo is outstanding in O mio babbino caro and Casta Diva and in the encore duet with Bocelli, Con Te Partiro. American violinist Caroline Campbell brings some spice in the form of Bizet’s L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera) from Carmen and drama with Nino Rota’s Brucia La Terra better known as the theme from The Godfather. Less successful is ‘pop guest’ Christine Allado, delivering a decidedly ropey I Will Always Love You, however, she redeems herself in Canto Della Terra, her duet with Bocelli.

Bocelli polarises critics and continues to suffer from the snobbery afforded to anyone who dares to move between the classical and pop worlds, but the reception he receives from the sold-out Hydro arena leaves you in no doubt about this audience’s opinion. There’s no denying the beauty of his voice, the sound is delivered effortlessly and is so perfect that it seems truly otherworldly at times – this is a class act from start to finish. Bocelli is one of only a few artists who can claim true global superstardom – and it’s easy to see why – not bad for a one-time lawyer and piano bar singer.