Andrea Bocelli, Music for Hope review: the Voice of Italy goes it alone to give comfort to millions

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Andrea Bocelli in an empty Duomo Cathedral during his Music For Hope concert
Andrea Bocelli in an empty Duomo Cathedral during his Music For Hope concert Credit: LUCA ROSSETTI/DECCA

"Very tawdry", my puritanical grandmother lamented after emerging from the Duomo when we took her on holiday to Milan. "Very vulgar" might be the similarly sniffy verdict of her opera critic grandson on the blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli三级成人视频. With a bleating vibrato under pressure, crooning monotony of style, and over-reliance on the microphone, his isn’t a talent that has ever impressed the high-minded at La Scala or Covent Garden.

But with the world trapped in terrible crisis, who could fail to be moved by the sincerity and passion behind this unique Easter Sunday concert, given in the very heart of a city and nation devastated by coronavirus and still in lockdown, by a singer who has given so much pleasure to so many and been unofficially recognised since the death of the great Pavarotti as the Voice of Italy?

Interspersed with eerie footage of stricken cities (including London) filmed from drones, the half-hour programme of sacred music, streamed live on YouTube, took place in the middle of this wildly overblown, architecturally chaotic wedding-cake of a cathedral. Although there must have been recording technicians dotted about (a couple could momentarily be spotted skulking down a side aisle), the only human presence apart from Bocelli was the socially distanced organist Emanuele Vianelli.

Andrea Bocelli performing outside Milan's Duomo Cathedral prior to his Easter Sunday concert Credit: AP

With the evening sun shining though the stained glass, Bocelli stood by the altar. He began with Franck’s Panis Angelicus, and although it was evident from the start that he wasn’t in his best voice - his intonation wavered flat and he had trouble with top notes - one could only admire his professional poise and perseverance as he battled through Gounod’s maudlin Ave Maria and a vocal arrangement of the melancholy Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana. Something more upbeat came almost as light relief: the jaunty Domine deus from Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.

The climax came as Bocelli walked down the nave and out into the empty piazza to sing Amazing Grace. Al fresco, the tenor began to sound more healthy and confident, and given his own sightlessness, there was special poignancy in his delivery of the couplet ‘I once was lost but now am found/Was blind but now I see.’  

As a vocalist Bocelli may be no Pavarotti, but he is a brave man and his singing on this occasion will have given comfort to millions.

The concert can be viewed at

Donations can be made to the Andrea Bocelli Foundation here

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