Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside the arena, which
heartbreak to me, mostly because I was so lucky to get really
good seats this time - much better than the last time in Chicago
this past June! I was in the center stage floor section, and
whereas it wasn't a front row seat, I was about 15 rows back,
and I could see Andrea just as though he was standing across the
room from me. I was so excited, I think I floated about a foot
off the floor the whole time! It doesn't take much coaxing to
persuade yourself to think that only you and he are in the room
together. It was very intoxicating.
I had the chance to chat with a number of the people right
around me. I wasn't surprised to find that one couple had come
from Kansas, another from Philadelphia, and then of course,
there was me - from Texas. It's amazing how we will travel so
far just to hear his voice for a couple of hours. But even if he
sang all day, it would never be enough.
His voice was bold and beautiful, more so than ever. He was so
and he just seemed to be having so much fun himself! He was
personable, humble, and accommodating. At one point, in a quiet
moment, one lady in the audience shouted out the usual, "We love
you, Andrea." He leaned over to Maestro Mercurio, and said
something bashfully to him. Then the maestro looked in the
direction of the comment and said, "He says thank you . . .and
so do I. We love you too."
I was thrilled that he sang four (4) cuts off of the Sentimento
CD, and Ms. Baich played the violin as though it was a part of
her own body. She was so expressive with it, and it just seemed
to sing back to her every caress of the strings. Ms. Borsi was
also very entertaining. She, too, has a bold and lovely soprano
voice. She made a lot of facial expressions, and had a lot of
movement, which added to the story in each song. She and Andrea
seemed to be so at ease with one another. Last June in Chicago,
Andrea and Ana Maria Martinez, did not have nearly the same
"chemistry" as Andrea and Ms. Borsi had. Together, they seemed
to be acting out short scenes from the opera selections they
were giving us.
>From the Sentimento CD, Andrea sang "Aranjuez," "Occhi di
Fata," "Musica Proibita," and as a variance from the program,
sang "Plasir d'Amour," rather than "Sogno d'Amore." Then there
was the wonderful sacred aria, "Panis Angelicus."
Of course, Maestro Mercurio was his usual entertaining, animated
self! Sometimes, I got so engrossed in just watching all of his
gestures and his facial expressions, his jumping around his
platform, that I nearly lost the thought that he was conducting
a large orchestra. He seemed to be coaxing and commanding the
music from thin air! I have never seen Andrea with any other
conductor, so I don't really have a reference point. But he and
Andrea seem to have such a friendship, such a connection, like a
second sense of what each other is doing or is about to do. They
compliment each other wonderfully.
The audience seemed very polite at first, but as the concert
went on, their reactions became more and more emotional, and
before long, you could hear the cries, "Bravo, brava, and bravi"
coming from all over the auditorium. As I understand, it wasn't
a total sell out. I had heard 7,000 tickets out of an available
10,000 (although, I sure can't understand why). But once the
crowd got warmed up, they absolutely filled the room with
accolades for each of the performances.
And there I was, with my little "cowgirl" Texas self, yelling
the equivalent in Texan, being, "Woo Hoo and Yee Haww!!!" Hahaha
- I'll bet he could hear me from the stage, because it sure
didn't sound like anything anyone else was shouting. And Heaven
only knows, I couldn't keep myself in my seat. I was up on my
feet about every time I turned around. Honestly, I was on "cloud
The last selection of the evening was "Brindisi" from La
Traviata, sung by both Andrea and Ms. Borsi. They all left
the stage. Then the fun really began. The crowd cheered,
whistled, coaxed and pleaded until Andrea came back out, grabbed
a flute and began playing "Melodramma." After each selection, he
left the stage, and we all began to chant, cheer, and plead. He
thrilled us with four wonderful encores. The second time he sang
an all Italian, solo version of "The Prayer." Then, the stage
hands rolled out a piano, and Andrea came back out with Frank
Sinatra's "My Way," and the crowd just went wild. Then everyone
came back out on stage, the entire ensemble was on the stage for
his signature good-bye, "Con te partirò."
At last, the entire ensemble came back out again for a final bow
and presentation of roses. Of course, when it was all over, I
was both happy and sad. I had waited for so long to see his
performance, and then it was all over within a couple of hours.
But what a couple of hours!
About two seats away from me there sat a lovely blonde-haired
lady with a boy about 8 years old. She was wearing a tag around
her neck that gave her full access to the arena. I overheard her
talking to the lady in front of her, telling her all about how
she had been a personal friend of Andrea's for about 4 years,
and that she was going back stage after the concert. Then lo and
behold, when the time came, she even took the lady that she had
been talking to with her. My jaw just dropped. How I wish I
could have been in her place!
Now, here is the amazing part. Just to show you how the Lord was
smiling on me that night. I bought my souvenir T-shirt, the one
that has the black and white portrait of Andrea from inside the
Sentimento CD, where he has his hair combed back, and his head
nodded forward, as in prayer. I tucked the shirt inside my
purse, but then, of course, it was so full, I couldn't close it.
I went over to the Omni Hotel, where dozens of us had gathered
to find a cab back to our own hotel.
A tall man with a top hat was hailing cabs left and right. He
us inside in groups of anywhere from four to 12 people,
depending on the size of the cab. I was put into a cab with 11
other people, and off we went. Well, much to my dismay, when I
arrived at my hotel, I found that my 'so very precious' souvenir
was missing. I was frantic, I was mad, my heart was just broken.
In what I thought was a desperate attempt, I called back over to
the Omni, and asked to speak to the bell captain. I explained my
predicament to him, and to my absolute surprise, he said, "Oh, I
remember you very well!" And he gave me the phone number of the
cab that he had put me in (can you believe a memory like
that??). I called the cab, and the driver, Rondell, answered.
Once again, I explained my predicament. Again, he said, "Oh
sure, I remember you." He told me that when he found a stopping
place, he would check the cab (which was a large van), and if he
found the shirt, he would return it to my hotel front desk. Even
though I was in utter amazement that I had even gotten this far,
I was still very pessimistic about getting the shirt back. I
thought for sure that one of the many other passengers would
just 'adopt' it.
After about 15 minutes, I just couldn't stand it any more, and I
called him back. Well, what do you think? He had my T-shirt in
his hand, and he was on his way back to me. I was in total
amazement. When he arrived, I hugged his neck, and told him how
very grateful I was. Then of course, I gave him a nice tip.
I was shocked, but also pleasantly surprised at how helpful all
of the people in Atlanta were. I even asked our front desk clerk
if this is the way they always are in Atlanta, and he gave me
one of those 'are you kidding me' looks, and said, "Oh, no dear,
you were just very lucky!" Of
course, I knew that luck had nothing to do with it. It was my
sweet and ever faithful Lord watching out over me on one of the
very best nights of my life.
Barbi J. Stapleton
Atlanta Concert was much more than just a concert to me. It was
an adventure. I was very worried about the weather in Atlanta.
So worried that I forgot about the weather in Pittsburgh. So, I
woke Thursday morning to a tremendous snowstorm. I had no choice
but to drive to the airport. A 40-minute trip was now a 2-hour
drive. The authorities were closing the interstate but I was
driving because I was on a mission. I arrived at the airport and
my flight was cancelled. But, I managed to get another flight
out of the airport and I was on my way. Now to make my
priorities clear, I would have not attempted this for business,
after all I am not crazy.
The day of the concert the hotel was filled with excitement and
high energy. One could spot a Bocelli fan by the sheer look of
excitement on their face. We were ready. A dinner had been
graciously organized by a couple of Bocelli fans. The hard work
paid off as we enjoyed a very nice dinner along with great
conversation. Of course the talk was of the Maria Luigi Borse,
Steven Mercurio and ANDREA BOCELLI. I have often wondered if he
knows how much he is loved and how many people from all over the
world have been brought together in his name.
Concert time arrived and once seated in the Philips Arena, I
knew the event was on hand.
Steven Mercurio opened the concert with the playing of the
National Anthem. Maestro Mercurio then presented us with the
overture from La Forza del Destino by Verdi. Now I
prepared for the entrance of Andrea Bocelli. This was the climax
to all of the planning, and waiting. This was it. Andrea walked
out onto the stage, in a black on black tux. No tie. A different
look. His hair combed back behind his ears. Seemed longer in the
back. What I like to refer to as the "new look," but as we know
it has been here for a good while. He looked sharp. He smiled
his first nervous smile and then I could hear the music. I have
come to recognize and love this from his appearances on American
Television as well as from the CD Sentimento, "Aranjuez."
How appropriate. His voice was full and stunning. He seemed
relaxed and confident. Lidia Baich took her place next to Andrea
and the stage was filled with the heartfelt sounds of
world-renowned talent. Andrea Bocelli continued to thrill the
audience as applause erupted almost before each selection was
complete. One of my particular favorites almost took my breath
away that evening. As the orchestra began "Panis Angelicus,"
Andrea lifted his hands to his chest. I now take the time to
apologize to Sally sitting to my left for the black and blue
mark I know I must have made on her arm when I nudged her. I
truly love this song and Mr. Bocelli was paying such respect to
it. Because was a hit with the audience as we voiced our
collective approval at the completion of the song. But to move
on. Ms. Borsi preformed "Je veux vivre" from Romeo & Juliet
and oh with such splendor. She truly is a very talented woman. I
really didn’t want the concert to end but I did so want to see
the flute again, and I knew this wouldn’t happen until and
encore. "The Prayer," "Melodramma," "My Way" and "Time to Say
Once again Andrea Bocelli gave his fans exactly what they came
for. The visuals were stunning, his voice strong and pure, his
notes clear and confident. The Maestro, soprano and violinist
all a wonderful compliment to this man and his voice.
I was out of my heart when I got tickets to the Andrea
Bocelli Concert even if I had to travel some thousands of miles
to see him. As the hour drew near I grew frightened. You see, I
have myself a bit of a wild imagination having growing up with
Broadway and opera. This was my very first concert and
disappointment would be heartwretching. Finally we'd met and not
in the so-near-so far circumstances of television. He entered
amidst wondrous applause, simply lovely a sight to behold and
then the voice...It is real and monstrously beautiful and I love
I really wanted to hear Sogno d'Amore still I was overwhelmed
with his 'Because'. He absolutely nailed it and let me in tears.
I personally don't care for public crying but this man broke me
Ms. Borsi was absolutely wonderful. Her solo "Je veux vivre" was
marvelous and Ms Baich is the luckiest and talented violinist. I
intended to pick up the violin very soon.
Maestro Mercurio was a marvel to watch. Absolutely eccentric and
wonderful and funny and handsome and talented. It says alot that
he loves the music as much as he does and isn't afraid to show
it. I love him.
But the night belonged to Andrea. Three times he had to come
back for an encore to standing ovations. The audience refused to
let him go; the sighs of disappointment when he let the stages,
shouts of joy when he returned, sighs again at the romancing of
his voice then calling again for his return.
BRAVO MAESTRO BOCELLI untill we meet again.