or 40 million people?
Who could be right?
Born: Lajatico, Italy, 22 September 1958
The world has long had a fascination with the celebrity tenor. Dashing voices from Enrico Caruso to Mario Lanza to Luciano Pavarotti have captured the popular imagination. A worthy addition to that list is the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who, in the 1990s, established himself as an international singing sensation with a repertoire of classical and soft pop songs.
Born in Tuscany, he grew up in a close-knit farming community, studying piano, flute, and saxophone and listening to opera. At the age of twelve, he lost his sight because of glaucoma and a soccer accident. He studied law at the University of Pisa and, for a year after graduation, practiced as a defense attorney before deciding to quit and pursue music full time. He approached the renowned tenor Franco Corelli for lessons and supported himself playing piano and singing in bars and nightclubs. It was in one of these clubs that he met his future wife, Enrica.
In 1992 he auditioned for Italian pop star Zucchero, who was looking for a tenor to make an audition tape of his duet "Miserare" in an attempt to convince Pavarotti to record it. Convinced by the demo, Pavarotti sang on the recording, and it became a hit in Europe. For the next Zucchero tour, Bocelli was hired to sing the song, and he took over a solo spot in the show.
Pavarotti invited Bocelli to sing with him at his annual charity gala, and this performance led to a series of appearances and TV broadcasts across Europe. In 1994 Bocelli won the top prize in the popular San Remo Song Festival; his performance of the song "Il Mare Calmo della Sera" made him a sensation. His debut album, Il Mare Calmo della Sera, was the first in a series of pop hits, and led to Bocelli, his follow-up album.
His breakout European hits were "Con Te Partiro" and a duet arrangement of the same song with Sarah Brightman, "Time to Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)." The solo version topped the French pop charts, and the duet sold 3 million copies in Germany, sitting atop the pop charts there for fourteen weeks.
The album Romanza (1996) became a hit in Europe and the United States, selling 15 million copies. After Sogno was released in 1999, Bocelli had four albums on the U.S. pop charts at one time; he became the first artist since Garth Brooks in 1992 to accomplish the feat. His duets with Celine Dion at the Grammys and Academy Awards launched sold-out tours of the United States. In 2000 Bocelli sang at the Vatican, the Eiffel Tower, and the base of the Statue of Liberty. He also sang the official concert of the Euro 2000 soccer tournament in Rotterdam and helped carry the Olympic torch into Sydney Harbor.
Although secure in his success in the pop world, Bocelli has craved legitimacy in the classical realm as well. In the late 1990s he released a series of classical recordings: Viaggio Italiano (1997), a collection of popular arias and Neapolitan songs; Aria (1998); and Sacred Arias (1999). Each was a best-seller, and for a while, these albums occupied the top three top spots on the classical charts.
The classical music press has been less kind to Bocelli than his legions of fans. His voice, unamplified, is not very large and has trouble filling a concert hall without a microphone. His voice can produce a gorgeous tone, and his sincerity and emotive ability are impressive. But he is stylistically unsophisticated, his phrasing is clumsy, and his early attempts to sing opera—a Verdi album, a recording of La Bohème, and a performance in Detroit of Werther —have elicited mostly negative critical reviews.
Critical reservations notwithstanding, Bocelli commands the unflagging loyalty of a mass of paying customers: He has sold more than 40 million CDs, is the top-selling classical artist of the 1990s, sells out his tours, and has inspired fans in a way that few pure classical artists have.
So, in all seriousness, who's right?? A few moderators of music, in which they think there are many characters and, of course, include their own opinions...... or those of the silent majority who continue to support what they know is of good quality?? 😉