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REVIEW: Andrea Bocelli – SEE Hydro Arena, Glasgow

It’s oft been quoted, but it bears repeating: “If God had a singing voice he would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli”, so said pop diva Celine Dion of the vocal phenomenon and 90 million album selling superstar, and she’s not wrong, Bocelli’s voice is so sublime it’s almost divine.

The world’s biggest selling classical artist is accompanied on this spectacular evening by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cuban soprano Maria Aleida, flautist Andrea Griminelli, the Edinburgh Choral Union, some classical dancers and Britain’s own R&B queen Beverly Knight.

It’s hard to describe adequately the atmosphere, but it’s almost reverent, the audience are entirely rapt for the whole  evening, it’s a warm, comforting feeling, old-fashioned but just, well…lovely. Every detail has been thought of and every artist a master of their craft, every note, every bit of staging (including massive panoramic projections) is of the highest quality. There’s no facile chit-chat, the music does the talking and does so, beautifully.

There’s a perfect mix of classical favourites, some personal choices from Bocelli, his classical crossover hits and duets with his guest stars, interspersed with clips from his recent movie The Music of Silence which provides some background on Bocelli’s childhood and sight loss. There’s also exquisite dancing accompaniment and a selection of Spaghetti Western themes from flautist Griminelli. Soprano Aleida delivers impressive vocal gymnastics including those on The Doll Aria from Les Contes d’Hoffman, Knight sings a relaxed version of her hit Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, and duets with Bocelli on Canto della Terra. The sentimental Glasgow audience erupt at Neapolitan classic O Sole Mio, Con te Partiro and Nessun Dorma which sends the audience home floating on a cloud.

Bocelli’s beaming smile at the rapturous reception says all that’s needed to be said about this perfect evening’s entertainment.

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.


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.