Tuesday May 7, 2013
By REVATHI MURUGAPPAN
Italian pop tenor Andrea Bocelli kept his fans thrilled with a fine concert packed with multiple encores.
WE don’t get to see tenors perform everyday so when it was announced that Andrea Bocelli would perform here together with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), fans started purchasing tickets immediately.
Alas, the concert date clashed with polling day for GE13 and like me, there were many others in two minds over attending the concert or waiting for the polls results. Thankfully, organisers JS Concert Productions decided to go ahead with the concert while fans kept their mobiles in hand the entire time, monitoring election results via social media networks.
For the 5,000 fans who attended the performance, it was an unforgettable night. Pop tenor Bocelli gave his all at the Putra Indoor Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur last Sunday. It was the last stop in his Asia Tour…With Passione, which coincides with the 2013 release of his 14th studio album, Passione.
The MPO was conducted by Marcello Rota, who has known Bocelli for 18 years and collaborated with him on numerous occasions. Rota’s job is to fly to the concert venue ahead of time and rehearse with the local orchestra before the tenor hit town.
“Bocelli likes places with hot weather. We just concluded a concert in Abu Dhabi. Conducting operatic pieces is difficult, but Bocelli wants this and he does it with passion,” revealed Rota at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur earlier.
With a musical career spanning close to 20 years and over 80 million in record sales, the blind Bocelli, 54, has been described as the voice of the new millennium. His break came in 1992 when he passed an audition to record Miserere, which he eventually recorded as a duet with the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Since then, his solo career has made him an icon in the classical crossover genre.
His Kuala Lumpur show also featured soprano Sabina Cvilak, guitar duo Carisma and vocal quartet Div4s as support acts. But the masses paid top ringgit (RM2,888 for top tier diamond seats!) to watch Bocelli, the headliner. The man didn’t disappoint his following, which included local fans and also regional ones (from a keen crowd from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei).
Bocelli, looking dapper, started singing the moment he was escorted on stage.
The first half of the concert was purely classical in repertoire, including La Donna E Mobile from Verdi’s opera, Rigoletto, and Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata, which caught the attention of the audience.
Interestingly, while Bocelli was singing, there were snippets of the respective operas flashing behind on a screen so our gaze was riveted to that. Bocelli starred in every one, including Tosca, Romeo Et Juliette and La Boheme.
The audience warmed up in the second half as they related better to the songs. First to perform were the four soprano ladies, Div4s with a number from Romeo Et Juliette before they came back on later for the Godfather theme.
Bocelli then showed his classical crossover talent in Vieni Sul Mar. In Mamma, you could actually feel his simmering love for his mother.
The guitar duo Carisma were exquisite in their Cavatina (from Deer Hunter) interpretation and later on, showed their fingering dexterity in the next number.
The tenor then played the piano while he sang Era Gia Tutto Previsto and La Vie En Rose, with excerpts performed by Edith Piaf on the screen.
Bocelli ended with Canto Della Terra from Vivere and the audience was smitten. They gave him a standing ovation as he took his bow and was escorted off stage with the rest of the performers.
The night wouldn’t have been complete without an encore and Bocelli came back out to sing Love In Portofino from his latest album, followed by Quizas, Quizas, Quizas, which he originally recorded with Jennifer Lopez but sang with Div4s in Kuala Lumpur.
Again, the crowd asked for more and he came back to sing Con Te Partirò (Time To Say Goodbye), his signature song which launched him to fame. Together with Cvilak (who came close to Sarah Brightman), the audience sang or hummed along because it was a song that practically everyone was familiar with. Another standing ovation was in order.
Just when the audience assumed the encore was over, Bocelli came on stage yet again to deliver Nessun Dorma from Pucini’s Turandot. My fellow press member turned around to ask, “Just how many encores is he going to do?!”
It was an apt ending which displayed Bocelli at his best.
My only grouse: He didn’t speak a word to the audience. Not even a hello. The only time he said something was when he forgot the order of songs and went from the piano to centre stage and back. All he said was, “Sorry I made a mistake.”
For Bocelli, he came, he sang, he conquered and left. It was business as usual.