Ocean Drive sits down with the legendary tenor ahead of his Miami performance.
Andrea Bocelli is coming to bless us with his award-winning vocals for a sure-to-be-epic (and romantic) Valentine’s Day concert at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Here, we chat with Bocelli on what you can except during his performance, why Miami is where he loves to “rest and relax,” upcoming projects and more.
The annual Valentine’s Day show is coming up at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Why the week of Valentine's Day?
It is a special holiday and I am always happy to honor it because it is a beautiful occasion to celebrate love. I take Valentine’s Day to be an extra opportunity to express our love and gratitude to our loved ones. Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Florida is almost a tradition now. It is an event that I care about and that I try to honor through song (by performing a repertoire whose common thread is love), in the hope of bestowing the public with a moment of serenity and optimism.
How do you feel after putting on an incredible performance?
It is rare that I am completely satisfied with my performances. However, at the end of a concert I always try to get rid of the accumulated adrenaline and usually the most powerful sensation that I feel is sincere gratitude: towards the audience, who always welcome me with such kindness everywhere I go, and towards the good Lord, for that gift that is my voice, for which I have no credit.
Any pre-show rituals?
None—no propitiatory rituals, or talismans or particular tricks to maintain my self-control. I try to keep at bay the tension that I still feel, even after a lifetime spent on stage. The apprehension that I still feel today, when I take to the stage, is alleviated by the awareness that I have done everything possible, professionally and consciously, to reach the stage prepared and in the best physical shape possible.
Do you have a favorite song that you like to perform?
There are many songs... I could mention “My Way”, a song whose melody remains engraved on my soul, but also “Time to Say Goodbye”, a track that is still extremely emotional for me when I perform it in concert. I would also like to mention two “new entries”, recent songs that have already given me great joy and satisfaction: “Fall on Me”, which I performed together with my son Matteo, and “Return to Love”, which I had the pleasure of singing with Ellie Goulding. Regarding my preferences within the opera repertoire, I am spoiled for choice. It is easy to identify yourself with the Melodrama heroes, made unforgettable by the genius of Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Umberto Giordano... I’m thinking about the “Improviso” from “Andrea Chénier”, “E lucevan le stelle” from “Tosca” and “Nessun dorma” from “Turandot."
What’s been your most memorable performance?
Please believe me when I say that every concert is important, every stage thrills me. I say this without exaggeration, whether I am in a packed arena or in a small school, in front of rulers or a few friends, the joy that I receive and the dedication that I put into my performance are largely the same. Of course, during my career, from the 1990s to today, I have had the privilege of making my voice resound in especially significant places, from the pyramids to the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Colosseum. I also like to mention the New York Metropolitan, a prestigious stage on which I had the pleasure of holding a two-date opera recital last year and where I will return, during the Valentine’s Day tour, for a concert dedicated to Italian opera arias and to my fellow Tuscan, Giacomo Puccini, in particular.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re in Miami?
It is one of the few places where I can really rest, where I can enjoy a relaxing break, taking in the many natural beauties of this country. I love to take walks. I love to swim and enjoy the Miami sun. As I’ve said previously in other interviews, there is an effervescent cultural climate here that is difficult to find elsewhere. This doesn’t feel like a foreign city to me, and the warmth of the audience, at every concert, attests to this affection, this mutual empathy that gives me the lovely feeling that I am at home.
Do you have a mantra?
“Do no evil, fear no evil”. I also have a mantra that I try to put into practice every day which concerns the priority of making a difference: I think it is fundamental to strive to behave in a way that is in line with your principles and to translate every declaration of intent into tangible actions insofar as possible.
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
I recommend pursuing their goals with humility and determination, aware of their potential and optimistically, yet equally by being strict with themselves. Talent is a gift from God, something that cannot be learned. However, for people who wish to embark on this wonderful and complex path, it is the willpower, study and sense of sacrifice that everyone is willing to put into action that is equally important.
Any upcoming projects?
I always have many projects, both opera and pop, as well as the initiatives of the foundation that bears my name, in Italy and abroad. I would like to mention an important event, which we are channeling our (artistic and philanthropic) forces into, a concert that will be held in Rome, in the thousand-year-old setting of the Baths of Caracalla. On June 20 and 21, I will have the pleasure of singing, together with many of my extraordinary peers, on a stage where you can feel the history: that of the ancient Roman civilization but also the recent one, given that it was at the Baths of Caracalla, just thirty years ago, that the Three Tenors (much loved colleagues and friends, including the sublime and dearly departed Luciano Pavarotti) inaugurated a type of performance that helped to provide a breath of fresh air globally to a world – that of opera – that risked forgetting its popular vocation.
Anything else that you’d like to share with OD readers?
I would like to thank and greet your readers and send my heartfelt wishes that, once again this year, all the men and women – of all ages – who are in love may fully experience the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and not just on the day dedicated to love. And thus that, for them and everyone, Valentine’s Day is every day of the year!
Photography by: Top and bottom photo by Luca Rossetti; second photo by Giovanni De Sandre