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Incanto - Andrea Bocelli
Guido Maria FERILLI (?)
1. Un amore così grande
Enrico CANNIO (1874-1949)
2. ‘O surdato ‘nnammurato
Cesare Andrea BIXIO (1896-1978)
3. Mamma
Giovanni D’ANZI (1906-1974)
4. Voglio vivere così
Teodoro COTTRAU (1827-1879)
5. Santa Lucia
Luigi DENZA (1846-1922)
6. Funiculì funiculà
Guy D’HARDELOT (1858-1936)
7. Because
8. Vieni sul mar!
Agustinn LARA (1900-1969)
9. Granada
Pasquale Mario COSTA (1858-1933)
10. Era di maggio
Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846-1916)
11. A Marechiare
Gaetano Emanuel CALÌ (1885-1936)
12. …e vui durmiti ancora
Ernesto DE CURTIS (1875-1937)
13. Non ti scordar di me
Sergio CIRILLO (?)
14. Pulcinella
Andrea Bocelli (tenor)
Veronica Berti (vocals) (1), Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo) (10); Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi/Steven Mercurio (1-9, 11-13), Luigi Lombardi D’Aquino (10), Felice Pitolo (14); Italian Swiss Radio Choir (1, 4-6, 8, 13), Chorus Associazione gruppo ”Boomerang” (14)
No recording dates and venues given.
Sung texts and English translations enclosed
DECCA 478 1071 [52:10]
Experience Classicsonline

Almost four years ago – how time flies – I reviewed a complete recording of Massenet’s Werther (review) and was positively surprised by Andrea Bocelli’s singing of the title role. Not that he could quite compete with tenors like Gedda, Domingo or Kraus but his voice had matured considerably and filled out in the lower register, allowing him to express warmth more readily than earlier recordings I had heard. A couple of years ago Decca released the two war-horses Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana. There he fought a losing battle in the famous set-pieces that require much more heft than he could muster. He had to resort to rather painful screaming.
In this new disc with mainly popular tenor repertoire from yesteryear he challenges most of the great names from more than one hundred years of recorded singing – and by and large he is again the loser. Singers like Caruso, Gigli, Schipa, Björling, Del Monaco, Di Stefano, Bergonzi, Pavarotti, Domingo and more recently Alagna have all offered us this or similar repertoire with much more finesse. The opening song, Un amore così grande, with some vocal contributions from his fiancée Veronica Berti, finds him singing at a constant fortissimo. His wish to sound impressive mars the tone so that he sounds very strained. In ‘O surdato ‘nnammurato he is more nuanced and the tone becomes more agreeable. The tessitura is lower and he amply demonstrates that his baritonal register is full and rounded and expresses warmth. But his scaling down the tone is more the exception than the rule and in the old favourite Mamma he shouts almost mechanically. Santa Lucia has a couple of sensitive touches. In the second verse he sings ‘cosi soave’ rather suavely and the final verse, ‘O dolce Napoli’ is taken considerably slower and sung with some feeling. Even so, too much is taken in the highest gear with a lot of shouting and extremely drawn out high notes. Vieni sul mar! has some sensitive phrasing and he ends beautifully.
Basically he has a fine voice, which is not unlike the young Pavarotti’s but unfortunately he has adopted the vices that crept into Pavarotti’s singing when he grew older. In Era di maggio Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus joins him but like his fiancée on the first track she is relegated to a backward position while Bocelli fills the aural picture.
The orchestral arrangements are often rather overblown and I wish that someone would be brave enough to record this repertoire with only piano accompaniment. Bergonzi once did and Alagna recorded some serenades with guitar accompaniment from his brothers. Shunning the orchestra automatically creates a more intimate atmosphere.
There are no timings for the individual songs or for the album and the composers and the authors for each song are inconsistently presented: sometimes the first name is the composer, sometimes the second name is the composer. I had to do some research to find out who was who and also find the birth and death years.
I suppose that this disc will sell, whatever my verdict is. I simply hope that Andrea Bocelli one day will issue a record where he shows the same sensitivity when singing popular songs as he did quite frequently on the Werther recording. I doubt that I will play this disc again but will still keep it for reference purposes.
Göran Forsling


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