This month music is set to fete the internationally renowned operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli with the seven-disc The Classical Collection, which includes six discs of Bocelli’s greatest studio classical albums plus a new collection of rarities and heretofore unreleased outtakes. The Classical Collection offers 7 albums, each in its own digipack, presented in a deluxe matte black outer box featuring hot-foiled gold.
Andrea Bocelli is widely recognized as having been blessed with a full, powerful timbre, and time and again, he displays a rare versatility and mastership of styles, whether it be his signature approach to the fine tradition of bel canto or the furor of verismo, or how he undertakes the acknowledged, sacred repertoire and popular ballads. The man also possesses a unique sensibility that enables him to excel in his interpretation of lyrics and displays an uncanny perception of the subtleties of musical expression.
Kicking off The Classical Collection is Bocelli’s first classical recording, 1997’s Viaggio Italiano, undertaken with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra. Aria – The Opera Album came next in April 1998, featuring the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as directed by Gianandrea Noseda, with its contents spanning Bocelli’s inherent mastery of material from Puccini to Schubert, and Verdi to Donizetti. On the cusp of the new millennium came Bocelli’s November 1999 recording of Sacred Arias with the Orchestra and Choir of the National Academy of Saint Cecilia, as conducted by Myung-Whun Chung. Sacred Arias remains one of the tenor’s most shining artistic productions — and it also has the distinction of being the best-selling classical album ever released by a solo artist, with over 5 million copies sold to date.
Under the baton of Zubin Mehta, the start of the millennium welcomed the release of Verdi in September 2000. Then, in November 2002, Bocelli combined his energies with those of Lorin Maazel, with whom he undertook a very special project: Sentimento, a collection of romantic pieces from composers such as Tosti, Denza, and Gastaldon. Sentimento was arranged for orchestra by Maazel, who also accompanied Bocelli on violin. The Sentimento project was an enormous success, earning Bocelli a double nomination at the 2003 Classical Brit Awards, where he won both Album of the Year and Best-Selling Classical Album of the Year.
Meanwhile, November 2008 saw the contents of a new album, Incanto, serve as a deeply personal tribute to many of the Neapolitan songs from Bocelli’s youth. Finally, this collection’s Raritiesdisc is an undeniable treat that no true Bocelli fan will want to miss hearing.
No matter where you enter into the full classical musical tapestry that comprises The Classic Collection, one thing is crystal clear: Andrea Bocelli’s richly defined tenor is a voice for the ages.