a little something extra

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bocelli and Friends

Lots and Lots of Friends.

Last night's concert, held in a hockey arena (seriously, the home of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks), seems to have gone well. Signor Bocelli sang about half the program solo, but the lineup also included three orchestral pieces without any vocal component, and a number of additional musicians.

There was a soprano who did "Ah, je veux vivre" from Romeo and Juliet, and a baritone who sang the Toreador's Song from Carmen. They both sang duets with Bocelli, and the three of them performed a trio that concluded the first half of the program.

In the second half, which included more pops selection and promotion of Bocelli's recent album Amore, the album's producer David Foster came onstage and played the piano part of a song the two men had written together for the album. A beautiful pop singer came on to sing Heather Headley's part of the duet "My Prayer," also from that album.

And then there was Paul Anka.

Yup. Paul. Anka. He appeared to sing "My Way" with Bocelli. The combination was moving at times, comic at others. Anka started repeating and riffing on the lines Bocelli sang, and then Bocelli started doing the same back to Anka -- Bocelli's English deserves praise, it is not easy to joke in a second language!

Conductor Steven Mercurio kept the evening moving, including many trips to the stage door to guide Bocelli (who has a vision impairment) to or from his place at the microphones. Mercurio's conducting style is very loose -- I do not want to see that man's golf swing -- but he does a great job using gravity to emphasize his downbeats. Sometimes with his entire body. Watching him, I was reminded of some of Mickey Mouse's gestures in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

The choir held up, despite the fact that half the time we didn't have light on our music. I think some changes in the order of the program might not have made it to the lighting world in time.

And it only took me 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot. Given the thousands of people who came to the show, I thought that was pretty impressive.


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