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Just in: Fabio Luisi stands up for Andrea Bocelli

Dear Norman,
I don’t know anything about the fees the artists involved in this production “Romeo et Juliette” in Genoa are going to take: what I know is that everybody is helping the Teatro Carlo Felice (yes, with reduced fees) to come through its difficult situation with this production, which will attract an audience that is probably not used to go to opera performances, but wishes to see Andrea Bocelli doing Opera.
I think this is ok: Andrea is a serious artist, a crossover singer and a magnet for many. This is exactly what Teatro Carlo Felice needs right now. We are doing our job very seriously, everybody, the orchestra, the chorus, the technicians, the cast, everybody.
Yes, I will conduct the show, I am here and I am doing hard work with Andrea, with Maite Alberola, with Jose Bros, with Alessandra Marianelli, all outstanding singers, in order to guarantee that show the highest possible level.
This is the right thing, right now, for Teatro Carlo Felice – and I am happy to have Andrea Bocelli on boat with us.

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  1. Bravo, Fabio. I met Andrea during a party we both performed in and celebrated–he is a lovely man, and has a beautiful voice ‘live’. He is very serious about his craft, and is to be greatly admired. I am sure he will bring something special to every performance.

  2. Finally, some wise words.

  3. Harold Braun says:

    It nevertheless makes me very sad,that we have ,not only in the opera house I work,but even in smaller ones,marvellous singers( even in the chorus) who work their asses of and sing for a fraction of Mr. Bocelli´s fee,but a thousand times better as he does.Some of them don`t even have a chance to be invited to an audition.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Well said, Harold.

      I don’t understand Fabio Luisi’s reasoning: an opera house in need of a tenor without appropriate singing skills, but with the star power to attract a non operatic public? Makes me wonder how they envision the future of the Teatro Carlo Felice.

    • Count your blessings there in Mannheim, Harold. Germany has about 28 times more opera performances per capita than the USA. Of the top 100 cities for opera performances per year, Germany has 47 while the USA with four times the population only has 3. Think of what that does to American singers.

  4. If Teatro Carlo Felice needs money, its directors might tape one of these performances and release it on DVD. The process isn’t arduous or expensive, and there are Bocelli fans all over the world who would gladly support an institution he supports. Surely there are one or two angels who might help finance the cost?

  5. Depressed in the USA says:

    Mein Gott im Himmel! THIS is the conductor who is now the heir-apparent to Levine at the MET! Mio dio! Between the crap Gelb throws onstage (a Bollywood Giulio Cesare, indeed!) and now a principal conductor who sees NOTHING WRONG with enabling this artistic travesty, can the MET survive? And will any serious opera-lover CARE after these two hold sway. Povero Verdi, Povero Gounod, Povero Puccini. We should rename the Met the Regiespielhaus!

  6. Fabio Luisi says:

    Dear Norman,
    I usually don’t respond to comments, I will do it now, since the issue is serious, the concerns are understandable and I don’t like to be offended (from Mr. Depressed).
    I will just make short statements and then stop posting.
    1) it is very easy to criticize and to judge without seeing the bigger picture. Many of us are working in order to save an endangered art: opera. If in the audience in Genoa 1500 people will attend the performances because of Gounod, I will be happy, of course. If one person will attend the performance because of Andrea Bocelli, we have won, we have make opera accessible to someone who never went to opera before. This is an important goal. He will come again, even without Bocelli.
    2) What is good in one special situation, the situation of Teatro Carlo Felice, might not be good in other environments. It is a part of my job to consider what is ok for what. And believe me: I don’t go the easy way in this issue.
    3) I have been working since thirty years in order to give young artists (singers and conductors) chances to show themselves, to start a career. I never had that kind of help in my first years, so I know how difficult the beginning years are. All singers involved in the Teatro Carlo Felice’s production of “Romeo et Juliette” are young singers (the only exception, besides Andrea Bocelli, is Jose Bros: he is not old, but he has already an important career). Maite Alberola, Alessandra Marianelli and all the others are skilled, gifted young artists, we give a big chance to all of them. In the structural and financial crisis in which Teatro Carlo Felice (and all opera institutions in Italy) is, I think it is a very important signal.
    BTW, the production is going to be taped and released on DVD. This is a part of the project.
    And now I have been told from my internal, unofficial sources that Andrea Bocelli is not getting any fee for his participation in this project.

    • I am deeply impressed that Mr. Luisi has engaged in dialog in this way. How remarkable, and what a wonderful sign for the future of the Met.

      I think we all know that Mr. Bocelli’s vocal style is not the norm for opera, but I don’t see any danger whatsoever that somehow standards will be permanently altered by including him in this production. In fact, in some ways, it is taking opera back to its original roots as a popular art form – something that has been sadly forgotten. All things considered, that might bring advantages that far out weigh concerns about Mr. Bocelli’s vocal style — which has a particular value all of its own. I wish our friends in beautiful Genoa every success in this endeavor. They are reminding us that opera should always be close to a wide demographic of people, and that is an invaluable service.

    • Dear Fabio
      Many thanks for this helpful, transparent and impressive explanation.
      best wishes

  7. It seems Mr. Lebrecht and Mr. Luisi are friends and one can understand any response to the Luisi communication
    will be carefully gone over before any posting comment takes place if it is not to the views of Mr. Lebrecht and
    friend . The Luisi communication Feb. 23 certainly gives one pause , .Does Mr. Luisi actually
    believe in the same disingenuous remark used by the dreadful 3 tenors when they “Nessum dormad ” across”
    the world “” they also were happy if that one person crosses over to the opera house “, may I humbly suggest that if that one lonely person wanted to go to an opera they would not need the likes of Bocelli to get there , opera attendance did not change at all due to the 3 tenors . I was at one performance in which the cross over audience stormed out after they learned their prize tenor was not to appear again after one aria . So much
    for bringing the masses to the opera house . Mr. Luisi covers himself carefully at point 2 .Mr. Luisi can associate
    himself with any second rate singer he wishes and for whatever reason – to pretend this has anything to do
    with the art of opera and its future is to play the rest of us for fools .

    • Cami McNamee says:

      Ariel is simply wrong.

      I am a perfect example of an admirer of Andrea Bocelli who was indeed led to the world of opera by his devotion to this art form. Since the first taste of this beautiful music provided by Bocelli, my husband and I have returned over and over to explore the pleasures it has to offer. I hate to think of what we have spent on our annual subscriptions to our local opera house, yearly pilgrimages to the Met, and performances all over Italy and in Europe that have yielded us immeasurable pleasure and had nothing to do with the presence of Bocelli, but everything to do with the fact that his voice led us there. And I won’t even mention the countless recordings we have invested in. Twelve years ago he opened a new world to us for which we are forever grateful, and we are not alone. I can name many others who are true appreciators of opera and would never have been so without this remarkable man. Those who do not hear the singular beauty and note the serious technique present in his voice must listen with closed ears, if they have ever listened at all. Many just criticize without any knowledge of his art whatsoever.

      I admire Maestro Luisi’s courageous support. I thank him for the two extraordinarily beautiful performances of Romeo and Juliet that we were privileged to attend. Both were warmly received by the audiences. Yes, we are currently here in Genoa, enjoying all this city and its citizens have to offer, and this is one more ravishing opera that we have been introduced to because of the tenor from Tuscany who brought us here. But now we also have a new young soprano to follow, and a stunning young mezzo soprano who has caught our ear and our heart.

      I am saddened by the close-minded criticism that knows nothing of the influence for good that Bocelli has had for the world of opera, but overflowing with gratitude for the benefit I and countless others have derived from this ambassador and true devotee of the art.

      Cami McNamee

  8. The endorsement is duly noted .Both being adults the thought comes to mind why did it take all these years to
    find your way to the opera house especially with all the superior tenors out there to lead the way.And now that
    you have supposedly heard so much opera you seem to note little difference in the quality of voices you
    hear – if you consider Mr. Bocelli on par with the likes of Beczala , Voigt etc . you’re putting us
    on and your endorsement is suspect . Mr. Bocelli is a most pleasant pop singer with a vast audience , his attempts
    to opera have ended in embarrassment .The latest also ending in embarrassment and withdrawal ,citing
    illness or whatever suits the day .Mr. Luisi should try serving music .

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