ANDREA BOCELLI MY CHRISTMAS
An iconic figure in music who, believe it or not, has sold over 60 million albums to date, Andrea Bocelli continues to defy categorization, age barriers and labels of all kinds. In concert or on the opera stage, he has worked with everyone from Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo to Bono. His memorable television apperances on such events including the Grammy Awards, mentoring contestants on “American Idol,” and the official ceremonies of past Olympic Games have propelled Andrea to a global household name.
“Andrea Bocelli My Christmas” is the first holiday album from the superstar vocalist. This CD is a heart-warming collection of songs destined to be treasured for years to come. Andrea’s personal story is astonishing, having been afflicted with juvenile glaucoma when young and then losing his vision entirely upon suffering a brain hemorrhage after being injured during a football game when he was 12. He learned music via Braille.
From “I Believe,” which the tenor performed before the visibly moved Pope John Paul II, to “Adeste Fideles,” this CD is an unmissable collection of songs each of us have sung at least once, carefully selected by Bocelli, who worked on this project for a couple of years. Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster has arranged a number of traditional carols, such as “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “What Child Is This,” with a remarkable lightness of touch, adapting each track so as to render them almost a first edition. Working alongisde him, the great maestro Renato Serio also arranged “Adeste Fideles.”
But above all it is the voice of Andrea Bocelli that stands out, once again engaged in a new feat. “This repertoire requires a broad vocal range,” comments Andrea, “from soft, almost whispered tunes, to a stronger, more powerful voice.” In “White Christmas,” Bocelli’s voice is graceful, and tender. In “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” it becomes irresistably playful, making it hard not to sing along. In “God Bless Us Everyone” — taken from the Disney Christmas blockbuster, “A Christmas Carol” — we discover Bocelli the performer.
One highlight is “I Believe,” on which he is accompanied by the Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. In “Blue Christmas,” Reba McEntire — the country songstress who has sold 55 million albums worldwide — adapted the fullness of her voice, with a trace of pop, to a particularly difficult track. Mary J. Blige recorded her parts of “What Child Is This” in a day, in New York, in a register that blends remarkably well with Bocelli’s. Natalie Cole sang her dad’s famous “The Christmas Song” with a touch of R&B. “The Muppets” rollick with Andrea on “Jingle Bells.”
But it is on “The Lord’s Prayer,” performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, that Bocelli really outdoes himself, in an imposing, moving performance of unique intensity.
However, the greatest challenge is to win over the little ones, and “My Christmas” is certain to please them too, not just their parents. Indeed, Bocelli’s hope for this CD was that families, united for Christmas, should listen to this music together. As he explains: “I drew inspiration from the voices that fill the churches, the voices that can be heard at family singalongs, on Christmas day.” And as soon as your stereo starts playing “Silent Night,” a family singalong is certain.
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