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Mr Bocelli is feeling much better, apparently

Andrea Bocelli, who quit Romeo et Juliette in Genoa on doctor’s orders last week and was forbidden to sing again for the forseeable future, is giving every sign of performing tomorrow night at the Bahrain National Museum. We’ll let you know if he shows remarkable powers of recovery.

Here’s the website announcement:


The World’s Most Beloved Tenor
Dear Audience,

In order to ensure smooth procedures on the day of the concert of “Maestro Andrea Bocelli”, we would like to ask you please to read and follow the instructions below:

  • Car Parking:
  • Please note that there will be no car park allowed at the concert venue, i.e., the Bahrain National Museum, except for those with special tickets;
  • Please park your cars either at the Marina Club (Car Park I)Cultural Hall (Car Park II)the open space outside the Bahrain National Museum (Car Park III) and the open space outside Novotel Hotel (Car Park IV);
  • Please take the shuttle bus to the concert venue.
  • For security screening reasons, attendees are strongly advised to arrive at 18: 15 .
  • Doors will open at 18:30 and will close at 19:30.
  • Concert shall start at 20:00.
  • Admission is not guaranteed to attendees arriving late.
  • Attendees must present their tickets for admission into the concert venue.
  • Attendees are requested to take their designated seats.
  • Doors will only reopen during intermissions and at the end of the performance, except in the case of emergency.
  • Please do NOT use mobile phones and audio/video recording equipment in the concert venue.
  • Pagers and watches must be silenced prior to the beginning of the concert.
  • Food, glasses and bottles are not permitted in the concert venue.
  • Attendees consent to the recording and filming of themselves as members of the audience.
  • The organizers of the event reserve the right to change the announced program at any time without prior notice.
  • Attendees are kindly requested not to leave the performance before the end — this is out of courtesy and respect for the performers and audience.
  • Children below the age of 8 years are not allowed into the concert venue.
  • No smoking is permitted in the venue.
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  1. It possibly pays better than opera. And the audience might not notice any difference…

  2. Bystander says:

    Who bestowed upon ‘Maestro Bocelli’ the title of “World’s Most Beloved Tenor?”


    Maestro Bystander
    The World’s Most Trusted and Beloved Commenter

  3. You have implied twice now that Bocelli’s influenza was an excuse to not sing the third performance of “Romeo et Juliette.” I suppose that you do not feel this way about the influenza attack of the second tenor, Jose Bros, who therefore could not take over the performances from Bocelli as was originally proposed?
    Since you object so much to Andrea Bocelli going to Bahrain, I just thought I would let you know that he gave a benefit concert for the Israel Defense Forces in Los Angeles in December 2010 ( and another benefit concert at Masada for social services for the residents of the Negev and lower Galilee on June 12, 2012 ( at end of article). And no, as Maestro Luisi told you, he never takes a big fee for benefit concerts–he takes either a reduced fee or no fee at all. While I don’t like his concerts in some of these Arab countries, I always remember that he has been a strong supporter of Israel for many years, giving several concerts there and recording his first full-length opera there (La Boheme), and remains one big celebrity who will never join the anti-Israel boycotts.

    • father xmas says:

      oh dear ! sling it about with norm , its practically libelous already ………….. israel arabs my god , get a life people have you nothing better to do , ………………

    • Mathieu says:

      So apparently being a supporter of Israel qualifies you as a good musician wihtout any possibility of discussion. Nice nonsequitur here.

  4. But Iris, we’re not discussing ‘Maestro Bocelli’s” level of support of Israel; we’re discussing whether he should be singing opera or not.

    Maestro? Really?? Gaaaawd.

    • Gregory Kunde says:

      Hey Paul!!! Great to see your name! Hope all is well with you! Sorry, off track…absolutely correct , Paul. He’s a wonderful entertainer, but this opera singing folly has GOT to stop! Folks, he’s not an opera singer, he’s a singer that has an operatic type voice. He needs a microphone in the theatre to be heard over the orchestrea. Those of us who actually do sing opera for a living, do NOT need a microphone. That, my friends is the biggest difference

      • I wonder how many times you have heard Bocelli sing without a microphone? I have heard him without a mike in Carnegie Hall, in Philharmonic Hall, in the Metropolitan Opera House. I have friends who have heard him sing without a mike in all of his full-length opera appearances in opera houses in Detroit, Rome, Verona, Torre del Lago, Berlin, Bologna, and in concert appearances in concert halls in Hamburg, Berlin, Lausanne. We had seats all over the house from orchestra to balcony. None of us had any trouble hearing him sing. This is a false issue which some people have been using against him for years while, of course, never bothering to attend any of the performances which would prove them wrong. Because Bocelli uses a mike in stadiums where it is necessary, you pretend that he never sings anywhere else and ignore all his apperances in concert halls and opera houses where he never uses a mike at all.

    • Mr Lebrecht appears to be discussing not Mr. Bocelli’s voice in this post, but whether he should be singing in a repressive state such as Bahrain. I agree that that is a completely separate issue from that of vocal technique, but it is Mr. Lebrecht who has raised it in this and in a previous post and I thought it should be answered. We could have, of course, a long discussion on whether singers should give concerts in authoritarian states or not–it would not leave them with many places left to sing in the world any more, but perhaps that would be better. And I doubt that we could agree on a definition of when a state reaches the level of “repressive” that would require a singer to boycott it. Some of us Americans, for instance, feel that civil liberties are greatly at risk in the USA right now, for example.

      • Bystander says:

        You are mistaken. Mr. Lebrecht’s post was entirely (albeit sarcastically) referencing Mr. Bocelli’s “‘remarkable powers of recovery” in singing so soon after he was “forbidden to sing again for the forseeable future” by his doctor.

      • mezzodiva54 says:

        Iris, Iris, please, take a deep breath and try reading the article again V E R Y S L O W L Y. You’re going to do yourself an injury, making these contortions to read something political where nothing was said. Sheesh…..

      • Mathieu says:

        Of course Bahrein, like most countries of the region is a dictatorship, everybody agrees with you. (But, if I may say, in matters of civil liberties, the Israeli government is not exempt of blame).

        But again, this is not the matter here. The question is whether Mr. Bocelli ‘faked’ his illness and subsequentely dropped out of Romeo in Juliet in Genoa in order to get time to honour a much more lucrative engagement in Bahreïn. But who knows, maybe it is a miracle recovery.

        • i doubt that the doctors at the Pisa Hospital would buy into a fraud–they are the ones who advised him not to do the third performance. He was only doing 3 and he sang at 2–that’s pretty good for an opera singer since most of them cancel at the drop of a hat. In any event there are videos on Youtube of the opening night curtain calls showing him looking white and exhausted. There are also newsclips from Italian TV posted on Youtube showing him during the opening night performance–obviously ill and hardly able to stand after “Leve-toi soleil”.

          • If I were Bocelli and expected to sing a full role on stage, I’d be white and exhausted, obviously ill and hardly able to stand as well.

            From the fear of showing that my voice was even worse without a throat mike than it is at my pathetic pops concerts.

          • “that’s pretty good for an opera singer since most of them cancel at the drop of a hat.”

            No, they don’t, and you obviously know very little about opera singers. A few do, yes. But the vast majority of opera singers will perform, almost no matter what. No performance = no pay.

            I have no thoughts about Mr. Bocelli, other than to wish him well.

          • I know a lot about opera singers and one thing I know is that they do not perform when they are ill. Just for example, the noted cancellations of Pavarotti, and Corelli, who were both well-known for cancelling performances. And today of singers who developed throat problems and cancelled such as Rolando Villazon, Ben Heppner, and others. Cecilia Bartoli also often cancels. Bocelli was requested by the Opera House to sing when he was ill, after he firat told them he was cancelling, because the second tenor, Jose Bros, was ill and had cancelled all his performances. If Bocelli had not sung, the entire performance would have had to be cancelled as they could not get another substitute tenor until his third performance, which he therefore did not do.

  5. Amorebocelli says:

    WHAT is wrong with you people and you as well Norman. Andrea is the most loved tenor in the world.
    If you had your eyes openes you would have seen he was not feeling good. Did you hear him clearing his
    voice during rehersals. He sang in New York, outdoors with rain, cold, fog and wind. None of this was healthy for him or his voice. I don’t think he has totally recovered from it.


  6. Iris,

    Get the politics out of your opera, unless they be from imperial Rome, the middle ages, the renaissance or the enlightenment (unless you’re listening to Berg or Weill, in which case you’re allowed to discuss communism).

    Who gives a damn about where Bocelli “performs” or for the benefit of whom? As long as I don’t have to listen to him, see him or read about him, I’m satisfied.

    World’s most beloved tenor indeed….I think I feel the way Norman did about the Mahler 5th Adagietto/Ave Maria.

  7. As Paul and Gregory said, this is about singing and not at all “which states” one supports. If Mr Bocelli feels at peace performing for a repressive state, this is an issue between him and his conscience.

    What I find more interesting (As Mr Lebrecht suggested) is how you can recover from an “acute pharyngitis” (for which your doctors asked you to cancel all engagements for the next few weeks) and this in a few days.

    The first thought coming to mind is that Mr Bocelli might have favored the high fee he receives for a concert such as the one in Bahrain and therefore pulled out of the Romeo as he was getting vocal strain.
    The second thought is that Mr Bocelli and his entourage may not want to lose the income from the Bahrain concert and therefore he will perform despite being ill.

    I find both scenarios distressing for Mr Bocelli, either on an ethical standpoint or a vocal one.

    As Gregory pointed out, Mr Bocelli is a wonderful entertainer. He occupies a place in the media and the music world he fully deserves and has earned. The exact same way Britney Spears earned her fame. They are entertainers and the world enjoys them…as entertainers..

    Opera singers though, they are not.

  8. One moment Bocelli is in hospital and told to cancel all future commitments. Then it appears he has recovered & his concert in Bahrain is going ahead.
    I doubt he would sing in Syria. But wait, Bahrain regime has only killed about 60 people (there are disputes about the babies & elderly killed with teargas hence the word “about’) so that’s not as bad as Assad, is it.
    The fact that UN’s report in December 2011 indicated that things were worse not better since the BICI report, and Bahrain is refusing entry to the UN’s Special Rapporteur, and is refusing entry to any human rights group for more than 5 days whilst giving F1 fans visas for 14 days is of course not indicative of a regime with HR violations to hide.
    Or is it?
    Greed is unpleasant to witness.

    • I agree that greed is unpleasant to witness. Andrea Bocelli is “greedy” as you say. No doubt you are jealous of his millions, every penny of which he has earned himself. And since we are all interested in a millionaire’s lifestyle, no doubt you want to know in what “greedy” way he spends it. Well, I can tell you where a large part of his income goes:

      (1) To the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, which underwrites projects to fight world poverty and to help people with disabilities. Current initiative as described in the release from MIT:

      MIT Fifth Sense Project:
      Providing the Functions of Sight to Blind People
      Our team of researchers at MIT and Northeastern University is developing wearable devices for blind and low-vision people. These devices combine sensing, computation and interaction to provide the wearer with timely, task-appropriate information about the surroundings – the kind of information that sighted people get from their visual systems, typically without conscious effort.
      We are grateful to the Andrea Bocelli Foundation for its support of our research.

      (2) to the ARPA Foundation, of which he is honorary president and principal donor. ARPA supports research into cancer and new methods of pain therapy and offers scholarships to train African students to be doctors in their home countries.

      (3) to the Francesca Ravlis Foundation of which he is a major supporter. This Foundation works in Haiti providing medical and social services to poor and orphaned Haitian children.

      (4) to large contributions for the construction or renovation of pediatric hospitals in Italy, Africa and Haiti.

      This is all in addition to donating his services every year to a considerable number of charitable events in Italy. Too bad there is not more such “greed” among the many millionaires springing up all over the world.

  9. Iris – This Bocelli foundation sounds wonderful – for those of us who may be more interested could you
    with your knowledge inform us how much the foundation takes in each year and how much money , help , is
    dispersed each year . This sounds like like a great venture that needs more support .,and more
    people should know of the Bocelli efforts in doing this work ..

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