Top positive review
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The benchmark of excellence.
on October 30, 2007
Andrea Bocelli, the blind and popular Italian tenor who, since making his stage debut in 1994, has sold millions of CDs worldwide, has released a collection of his greatest hits.
Never mind that he is "not very good" and his high notes can evoke "strangulation".
You might pity some music critics, who were faced with a nasty dilemma some months ago. Were they to fall in with the many fans of Mr Bocelli for whom he is evidently the next Pavarotti and echo their adulation? Or should they write what they believed - that his singing is flawed - and be accused of snobbery?
After a concert, the New York Time critic quoted "The tone is rasping, thin and, in general, poorly supported... "Even the most modest upward movement thins it even more, signalling what appears to be the onset of strangulation...
To his credit, Mr Bocelli sings mostly in tune. But his phrasing tends toward carelessness and rhythmic jumble, and the little barks and husky vocal expletives that are the mother's milk of Italian tenordom sound faded and unconvincing. The diction is not clear".
"Passion? Yes. Power. No," wrote a reviewer of the Associated Press.
"Bocelli's voice - though robust in spirit and precisely in tune, even in the upper register - had a thin quality that never opened up".
But he made sure simultaneously to acknowledge the unwavering loyalty of Mr Bocelli's fans. "Was the audience disappointed? Not in the least. They loved it".
A flawed voice, after all, can be corrected in the cocoon of a recording studio and hence perhaps the success of his CDs.
His first was released in 1995, one year after he appeared live for his debut in Verdi's Macbeth.
Yet, pulling Mr Bocelli from future live performances might not be recommended. If his voice can be thin, his force of personality apparently isn't.
It is an appeal based in part on the attractiveness of someone who has overcome obstacles. Born with a rare form of glaucoma, Mr Bocelli lost his sight entirely at age of 12 after a football accident.
This short diversion aside, for the first time during his historic career the world's best selling tenor, Andrea Bocelli, has just released an excellent collection of his greatest hits "Vivere" (Italian for "to live"), which marks a decade of chart-topping albums that have made him a household name and beloved cultural figure the world over.
He brings light and shade, purity of tone and technical assurance to the tracks, and to the duets with Italian Laura Pausini, Celine Dion and Sarah Brightman, among the others.
Get a hold of this disc and treat yourself to something subtle, passionate and musical.