Four stars share Met stage with Andrea Bocelli

Four stars share Met stage with Andrea Bocelli


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2019

Is it just the fee? Or do these opera luminaries really love the billing?


Didn’t he used to sing with Jackie Evanco?


  • Alexander says:

    they just pay their hommage to physically impaired people …

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Woah!! He has a beautiful voice and a lovely face and if you like that type of music I’m sure it’s a captivating combination. Your comment was totally out of order.

      • Rosemary says:

        I completely agree Sue Sonata Form. It’s the same as like/loathe Marmite!! 🙂

        • Spenser says:

          I love Marmite! (And it’s cousin Vegemite)

        • Spenser says:

          Sorry: “its” cousin Vegemite.
          I’m a bit sleepy here in The City….

        • Sibylle Luise says:

          Nope. In my opinion it isn’t. With marmite one talks about taste. With Bocelli we talk about singing – and there are certain criteria to judge singing – like intonation, range, technique, volume and so on. Timbre is a matter of taste, but if someone manages to change from the breast- to the head register and back without the listener noticing it, isn’t connected to taste, but to skills.

      • erich says:

        What rubbish! Beautiful voice forsooth! A vibrato like a ‘singing’ goat!

        • Maria says:

          Not great singing at all either vocally or worse artistically for two very simple songs –
          Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus – at our last British Royal wedding. Americans just seem him.

        • Michael says:

          go ahead and try to sing erich. Let’s have a listen to your voice before you complain about Bocelli. Anger and vitriol are really quite ugly and unnecessary.

          • MacroV says:

            Ah the old “If you can’t sing as well as the person you’re criticizing…you have no right to criticize.” There go all the music critics, sportswriters, and even most political reporters.

          • Sibylle Luise says:

            Sorry, but this argument “if you can’t do it at least so well as the person you criticize, you shouldn’t criticize” I’ve always thought rather wrong. I got it in horse riding – and even if I can’t write the High School lessons, I can very well see if they’re done correctly. And though I can’t sing (anymore) because of a “lame” vocal cord – I studied music (and even some singing – my poor teachers! I’m sure they only let me through the exam to get rid off me), I sat for some time in the pit of one of the great opera houses, I’ve heard a lot of real good singers (just imagine: The first Wagner opera I saw was produced by Wieland Wagner and sung by Wolfgang Windgassen). I think I know what I’m talking about and being not a singer myself gives me perhaps the necessary distance – which one always should have when judging.

      • Millie says:

        Does this mean we can expect kinder, more generous comments from you in the future, instead of your usual stuff? /s

      • Arturo says:

        Bocelli is a microphone adjusted voice
        Having heard live accoustically at Richard Tucker gala concert. He really cannot sing! No projective, no timbre and nothing else. When he opened his mouth the audience gasped in surprise at lack of voce!

      • Saskia says:

        Oh my God, deaf and blind, that’s too much for one person! Poor Sue…..

      • Sibylle Luise says:

        If you like “that type of music” you probably like Liebfrauenmilch too.

        • Maria says:

          Nothing wrong with Liebfraumilch as a desert wine. That’s just wine snobbery putting it down. As for Bocelli, that’s not snobbery, just using one’s highly trained ears.

          • Sibylle Luise says:

            Perhaps I’m a wine snob – if so I can’t help it, I’ve got some wine growers in my pedigree. Hence I wouldn’t even drink Liebfrauenmilch as desert wine. Not as long as they’re things like Eiswein or Trockenbeerenauslesen.

          • Rustier spoon says:

            In the desert it would probably be highly welcome…Liebfraumilch that is!

          • Sibylle Luise says:

            That’s definitely true. In the desert even I’d drink the stuff while in my dessert I really don’t want it.

      • Alexander says:

        thank you for the attention you paid to my modest person. As for the voice of Mr. Bocelli I think there are a lot of qualified opinions describing it unbiased and right ….
        PS Yes , my face is rather ugly now, after about 2 years of feeling unwell, hopefully time will improve that imperfection of mine soon to the better side ….

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Nasty comment and uncalled for. I’m not a fan, but I would never deny Bocelli’s physical and popular appeal.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Events like this support Bocelli’s delusion that he is, in fact, an opera singer. I hope it is a charity event with the proceeds being donated to the charity for visually impaired , if there is such a thing. he is okay in crossover pop music, but he should not attempt singing opera.

  • Caravaggio says:

    It’s the shameless fee and the opportunity for promotion to the bottom of the barrel. Who in their right mind would want to share a stage with an impostor? Well, obviously many have and do: Gheorghiu, Gergiev, Fleming, Martinez, Mehta, Netrebko, now Garifullina, Sierra, Leonard. Who else?

    • Caravaggio says:

      To answer my own question: Domingo, why of course.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Alan Gilbert with the NYPO at Central Park.

    • Alan says:

      How have you not choked on your own bile?

    • Bruce says:

      Denyce Graves, IIRC.

    • aj says:

      Caravaggio , there is no such thing as shameless
      fee …all art forms that depend on public support
      are in one way or another by products of money .Whether it is the exalted Mozart to the imposter money controls all . It’s what you are willing to exchange for your buck that makes the difference.
      Obviously your exchange rates are higher than
      those willing to sell themselves on the cheap .

      • Bruce says:

        It’s worth remembering, too, that Mozart would interpolate arias if the original aria wasn’t a big hit, or if the singer in a new production wasn’t suited to an aria written for the originator of the role. Hence all those concert arias.

        (I remember seeing Le Nozze on TV from the Met many years ago, with Cecilia and Bryn — conducted by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named — where she sang a different aria in place of “Deh vieni, non tardar” in Act IV. It was sweet, but totally forgettable… at least as far as I can remember 😉 I don’t remember if it was actually the original aria, or if it was written as an alternate to “Deh vieni.”)

        • BrianB says:

          It wasn’t “Deh vieni” that was replaced. It was an aria in Act 2. The usually performed “Venite inginocchiatevi” in Act 2, where Susanna dresses Cherubino, was replaced by Mozart’s alternate, “Uno moto di gioia.” HWSNBN made an unholy fuss about it and wanted to refuse Bartoli but she insisted. Legitimately and defensibly, IMO.

        • Sibylle Luise says:

          You don’t want to compare Mozart (or Bach who interpolated a lot of his work) with Bocelli and his producers, do you?

    • David Hilton says:

      Why should a fee paid to artists, whatever the amount, be a cause for shame?

  • Sibylle Luise says:

    In German we have a saying: “Schlimmer geht immer” (worse is always possible)

  • John Borstlap says:

    The motivation behind this may be the welcome combination of a) an anti-elitist gesture to a broader audience, saying ‘we as classical singers don’t look down on you’, and b) a nice fee. The defense of virtue mostly comes at a cost, but this particular ‘virtue’ of anti-elitism works the other way.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Whores. And I don’t use that word lightly. It will be on their resumes forever. But, heck, for some it may be the most interesting accomplishment there.

  • Rosemary says:

    I was in a choir which provided backing for him in Leeds, UK a year or two ago. While personally he’s not my cup of tea there were several in that choir who now attend performances of Opera North in Leeds. I retired from opera work myself at O.N a few years’ ago but have soloist friends who are happy that he opens up the opera world to a much wider audience – helping to remove some of the ‘mystery – and- not-for-us’ feeling they have. There are some comments above which are obviously written by highly-educated but extremely narrow-minded people. I feel sorry for them that they do not realise there are thousands of people out there who love music in all its various forms. 🙂

    • Allen says:

      Fine, but what about those who find his concerts disappointing and decide that “opera”, as delivered by him, is not all it’s cracked up to be?

      A know a couple who were looking forward to a heavily promoted performance of Tosca at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago. They were very unimpressed. In particular, they were expecting the live performance to be an improvement on the recordings they normally listened to. Unfortunately, the performance was not really “live” in any real sense and, according to some reports, the amplified orchestra (why?) sounded like a cheap stereo suspended from the ceiling.

      So much for attracting new audiences.

    • Sibylle Luise says:

      Of course. If one doesn’t like a popular singer one is “narrow-minded”. Well, I do like a lot of popular stuff, but I strongly dislike Bocelli. He attempts to show himself as a serious “opera singer” and that he certainly isn’t. He lacks voice, technique, timbre, musicality. He is in short a kind of “impostor”.
      The argument that he would make people interested in opera I don’t believe. Someone who goes to the opera because he likes Bocelli will go only once – and then he’ll go home disappointed and probably bored because opera isn’t as “quaffable” as Bocelli (and Liebfrauenmilch).

  • John says:

    Omg. I have friends who have attended Bocelli concerts who are not opera fans. He does have a large following. What is so upsetting about drawing more people into the met house to hear opera singers that is upsetting you all? I don’t get it.

    • Loverly1 says:

      I totally agree John. I’m an opera newbie BECAUSE of AB. I enjoyed the show Sunday night and will now be exploring other operas I can attend. The Opera community should be so grateful to AB as he is the entree into this music for millions.

  • Cyril says:

    To quote from Norman’s book “The Life and Death of Classical Music,” describing the Verdi Requiem with Bocelli, Fleming, and Olga Borodina, conducted by Gergiev:

    “Bocelli’s solos started sweetly, if simplistically …But whenever he had to reach for a note he would slide and swoop like a kid on a playground, oblivious to dignity and art. It was soon obvious that he lacked the technique to cope with Verdi’s subtle shifts of emotion and, joined by the big guns in the great set pieces, Bocelli is exposed as cruelly as a Sunday morning park footballer would be in the World Cup final. To hear Fleming and Borodina cramp their exceptional voices to his limitations is an embarrassment to the listener and an indictment of the makers of this record.”

    • Simply disgusted says:

      I find it hard to believe that this madness actually happened! Gergiev, Fleming, Borodina and this creature on stage together??? And singing this? Good gracious… It is just outrageous. Wonderful text from Norman though!

  • Cyril says:

    I’m sure it’s the money and also I get the sense many of these musicians don’t want to be seen as snobs. I’m sure most of them have an inner snob that is secretly revolting at doing something like this but they suppress it. It makes me grateful for the musicians who have standards and are willing to live by them.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      If I was a good enough singer to sing in the major opera houses I would not give two hoots about “standards” in respect to singing with Bocelli. He has an audience and many people like hearing him sing. Sure, he is not a particularly good singer, but so what. If I was a major singer I would be happy to get a nice fat fee, and to have the chance to sing to a new audience who would not normally hear a proper opera singer.

  • Jamesay says:

    You answered your own question. It’s the fee. Those performers will do virtually nothing to be the warm ups and fillers for a man they slam in private (trust me the entire opera world does) but when they hear the cash registers ring he’s suddenly “darling”.

  • BrianB says:

    I wouldn’t waste my time attending this if you gave me a ticket. But if it raises money for the Met I have no problem with it. But if it is a fundraiser why aren’t these artists donating their services?

  • Simply disgusted says:

    These singers should be ashamed of themselves. No money in the world is worth sharing a stage with this impostor! And, even worse, they are not exactly starving, are they?

  • Jack says:

    If her beautifully curated Instagram page is anything to go by, Nadine Sierra seems to genuinely enjoy sharing the stage with Bocelli. She sings arena concerts with him. I’m sure the fee doesn’t hurt.