By Iride Aparicio

Pictures by: Brandon Magnus


 SAN JOSÉ, CA – The only Italian  word  that could describe Italian Tenor ANDREA  BOCELLI’s  first concert in his 2018 US TOUR .  is  “Meraviglioso” ( marvelous).  On June 16th inside a full  SAP Center in the city, “The World Most Beloved Tenor”, offered  his fans, two hours of entertainment that, aurally and visually was unique.

Under the masterful  baton of Music Director EUGENE KOHN (Former accompanist of the late soprano MARIA CALLAS) the music came alive.  Each note was played correctly, and it sounded at a volume which allowed the audience to hear the singers clearly over the "special" orchestra.

The SAN JOSÉ FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, is "special" because it is composed by the most prestigious musicians in the Bay Area. Its membership includes: theater musicians and members of the Skywalker Symphony, the S. F. Opera orchestra, and S.F. Ballet orchestra.

Virtuosi Violinist Caroline Campbell

Among the instrumentalists, we should mention Guest  soloist  CAROLINE CAMPBELL a violin virtuosi  who is called “The Angel with a Bow” for a reason. Seeing her play her violin is unbelievable. The dexterity of her left hand fingers pressing the strings of her violin, is so fast that she can, accurately, play melodies at high speed.  CAMPBELL has  recorded  many duets with different artists, including Tenor BOCELLI, and played in film music.

The timbre of the voices of  the two female  Guest  singers on the concert LARISA MARTINEZ, and HEATHER HEADLEY  had quality. Their singing styles, however, are different. Each one is a winner in her field.

MARTINEZ, (from Puerto Rico)  is a  lyric-coloratura  soprano  with a crystalline timbre of voice and flute-like sounding high tones. She can go up and down her scales with ease and puts a lot of feeling in her songs. The Soprano was the winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition PR district in 2016. Most of her repertoire is classical: On that night she sang Arias from operas and duets with tenor BOCELLI.

L-R  Larisa Martinez. Tenor Bocelli, and Director Eugene Kohn

HEATHER HEADLEY  is better known as a Record and stage entertainer, who in addition to other awards  is a Tony and Grammy Award Winner for Best Actress (l997) for her role of  Nala in the original Broadway cast of  TIM RICE/ELTON JOHN the “Lion King,” and for her role as  the Nubian princess in “Aida,” the writers’ duo second venture

The singer From the Island of Trinidad, possesses  a unique timbre of voice. She has complete control of her vocal instrument, and her vocal  technique astounds with its intensity.   Her style, adapts better to  “Contemporary Music" which she she sang alone at the concert, and in duets with Tenor BOCELLI. She also sings Gospel, and in 2009 won the Grammy-Award  for  best  Contemporary R&B Gospel Album.

L-R Heather Headley and Tenor Andrea Bocelli 2018 USA Concert

And adding evem more quality to the sound on that night were the male and female voices of the SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY CHOIR, which is considered one of the Preeminent university choirs in the United States.

One of the visual aspects of the concert that night, was provided by ballet dancer BRITTANY O’CONNOR who during the singing of Granada danced an stylized Flamenco dance , and a tango during another song.

The best visual effects in the program, however, were the spectacular film projections back stage, enhancing every song. They looked so realistic that  we actually, felt the heat of the flames of the burning buildings, the cool brease of the  Mediterranean sea, the chill of being at the pinnacles of  snow-covered  mountains,  the reverence of entering  a Gothic church, and the exhuberance or  standing at Times Square in New York, walking on the streets in Italy observing the multi-color painted houses or just observing the snow fall fall gently on the ground  a few feet away from The Eifel Tower in Paris as we listen to the notes of  PUCCINI's LA BOHEME in the background.

Tenor Bocelli singing in front of a projection representing a starry sky

The Program of the concert has two parts: The first part which started with a Choral Medley of DONZETTI's Lucia di Lammermoor, was classical. Twelve operatic arias sang by Tenor BOCELLI alone, by soprano MARTINEZ, or by both singers representing a duet in an opera scene. Looking thinner, smiling more often, speaking perfect English, and singing with a more mature and fuller tone of voice Tenor BOCELLI entranced the audience in that part.

The second part of the program started with a blast. SOUSA’s march Stars and Stripes Forever, played with fanfare. The songs in this part of the program included Italian songs, Hispanic songs, and American songs which the tenor sang in their original language.

This was the part of the program that kept the audience clapping for a few minutes after  hearing BOCELLI's version of “Amapola” (LACALLE)  “Granada” (AGUSTIN LARA)   “O Sole Mio” (DI CAPUA) and Maria (BERSTEIN from West side Story) which he sang with sights from the film projected in the background. This particular song was interpreted with so much feeling by the tenor on that night, that it was the program's most applauded.

The show was suppose to end with SARTORI's “Canto della terra”  but with the audience standing on their feet applauding, there were several encores.  As said before, the concert was Meraviglioso.