Andrea Bocelli 300
WHAT is it about the singing sons of farmers?
Last month Wales’ finest Bryn Terfel charmed a packed Philharmonic - including his retired sheep farmer dad - with a programme of sea songs, German lieder and twinkly-eyed banter.
And last night it was the turn of that other classical music superstar - and son of a Tuscan farmer - Andrea Bocelli to fill one of Liverpool’s major cultural venues.
The world’s best-selling classical artist is on a short arena tour of the UK, ending in Glasgow tomorrow, and eschewed neighbouring Manchester to make Liverpool his only northern date.
With traffic snarled up outside he nearly didn’t make it at all, arriving at the arena so late the audience had already started taking their seats and meaning he had to go without a sound check.
Accompanied by a quality orchestra in the British Philharmonic, the massed voices of the Crouch End Festival Chorus and superb guest artists, it didn’t spell disaster for the evening although it may just have had a bearing on the first few numbers - with a rushed Rigoletto (La Donna e Mobile) and handful of others which came over as uniformly forte and lacking expressiveness.
However, Bocelli soon seemed to ease into the evening as the programme of classical favourites progressed, showcasing his masterly breathing control and ability to power effortlessly through a note or phrase, particularly in the first half’s final trio of numbers - Rodrigo’s Arunjuez Con tu Amor, followed by a song each from La Boheme and La Trav.