The iconic Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli credits his international pop crossover success to his duets. From Celine Dion to Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande, his collaborations with some of the world’s hottest musical stars have ensured he’s stayed on top of both pop and classical music charts.
His 1996 duet with English soprano Sarah Brigthman, for Time to Say Goodbye for instance, sold more than 12 million copies, and is still one of the best-selling singles of all time.
As he returns to Dubai for an intimate performance at the Billionaire Mansion on January 7, Bocelli spoke about some of the most memorable duets that has defined his career.
“When two voices are intertwined and reciprocally enhance their expressive qualities, something magical happens, and it remains inside your hear,” he says. “It is closer to one hundred than to ten, the number of colleagues with whom I am particularly happy I have been able to make music.”
The 58-year-old, who went completely blind at the age of 12, performed in the UAE in Abu Dhabi last year, when he toured with his 15th studio album, Cinema, an ode to music in movies.
After a bit of hesitation, Gulf News tabloid! convinced him to pick some of his favourite duets from his 20-year career.
“I am already apologising with the many great colleagues that I have not named in this provisional selection,” he says.
“Being able to sing with Luciano Pavarotti, at the beginning of my career, has been an enormous privilege. It happened during «Pavarotti & Friends», in Autumn 1994, and great was the excitement at the first meeting, and even greater when I heard his voice sing next to me, when for the first time I had to perform in front of him!”
Tony Bennett and Celine Dion
“About legendary voices, in September 2011, on stage in Central Park New York, I had the honour to sing with a living legend, with the great crooner Tony Bennett. On that occasion I also had the honour of sharing the stage with a great friend, Céline Dion — an excellent professional and a wonderful person, she is very simple and loves her work.”
“In the mid-90s, a duet with Sarah Brightman (in Time to Say Goodbye) gave a powerful acceleration to my international career, even in the United States.”
“By the way, I cannot but mention the great opportunity I have had — much more recently — to weave my voice with one of the most refined and talented American singers ever, Barbra Streisand.”
Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado and Ariana Grande
“Same as it was particularly happy the artistic encounter I had with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado, and even with the young Ariana Grande, a serious and well prepared interpreter whose professionalism I have appreciated as well as her skill.”
“Veronica, my wife, is not exactly a professional colleague, neither does she want to steal my job, but it was really special, romantic and exciting for both of us, all the times that, a bit for fun, we had to sing a duet together on stage.”
“An ‘impossible duet’ was the one with a legendary voice, the one of Edith Piaf, who in the album Passione we revived thanks to technology... Singing La Vie en Rose was a real coup de theatre, mix my voice with hers, scathing and unforgettable, more than half a century after she had left us, was an ‘unfeasible dream’ magically come true.”
“Finally on the operatic side it is impossible not to mention the great Maestro Placido Domingo, whom I had the privilege to sing a duet with, but also to sing under his baton.”
“A loving thought goes to soprano Daniela Dessì, a much loved artist in the world, (recently passed away), who was my partner in La Boheme, in what was my debut as a title role on the stage of an Opera house.”
Don’t miss it
Andrea Bocelli’s performance at the Billionaire Mansion is sold in packages, inclusive of dinner. Packages start at Dh5,500. Dress code is smart elegant.