Mr. Bocelli's fans seemed thrilled, rain or no rain. There remains a considerable divide between the passions of the audience he has reached (his recordings have sold more than 65 million, according to his Web site) and the assessment of most music critics. There is genuine warmth and sweetness in his sound. When he nails a big top note, he likes to hang on, as he did at the end of Verdi's rousing aria “Di quella pira,” from “Il Trovatore,” which the crowd cheered.
But after a career of nearly 20 years (he turns 53 next Thursday), Mr. Bocelli still has not worked out some of the technical kinks in his singing, which are both masked and revealed by the amplification he routinely employs. His voice quavers on sustained notes; his tone is often thin and shaky. And for all the innate expressivity of his voice, his singing is sometimes curiously bland. His rhythmic delivery can be all over the place.
said The New York Times, which is exactly what has had opera lovers puzzling over for the last two decades. But then Bocelli, like Katherine Jenkins, has a voice for people who like the idea of opera, but don't really ‘like' opera.
The Los Angeles Times notes,
The website for “Andrea Bocelli Live In Central Park” bills the 52-year old singer as “The World's Most Beloved Tenor.” It will be interesting to see if that moniker is used when Bocelli comes west to Plácido Domingo territory in December for a concert at the Honda Center. (A more accurate title for Bocelli, given the hundreds of thousands of blue thumbs-ups on his Facebook page, might be “The World's Most Beliked Tenor.”)
Bocelli is pleasing, a nice guy. But his voice, rather like his persona, lacks bite. Again, the LA Times,
video: Bocelli with Celine Dion in Central Park
[Bryn Terfel's] “Te Deum” from Puccini's “Tosca” bristled with energy and theatricality, whereas Bocelli's interpretations of operatic chestnuts mostly felt routine and unarticulated. His “La Donna e Mobile” suggested the seducing Duke of Mantua was dozing off at the table of bad first date…
…Not surprisingly, the moment that brought the capacity crowd to its fever pitch was Bocelli's duet with Celine Dion. The two sang their Grammy-wining duet, “The Prayer,” and it didn't matter that the levels weren't calibrated or their voices in sync. What mattered was that he was in a white tux, she in a shimmery gown, and that the heavily miked high notes soared.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.