To start with a bit of history. I first heard
Andrea sing in 1994 and
thought "here's a success waiting to happen". Obvious, wasn't it. I've
followed the career through the years from Andrea Who(?) to now. So when Andrea was coming to Manchester I knew where I had to be, even though the tickets were expensive.
On the night we took our seats and the anticipation could be touched. It really was excitement. The orchestra take their seats, Maestro Rota
appears, the orchestra as we knew it would be was excellent, everything begins and Andrea is lead onto the stage. He just stood there and sang and the violinist played. The whole audience were absolutely still, not a sound. Absolutely perfectly he sang and again and again in quite quick succession the songs came and he still had the audience in his hands. The back drop giving the next song.
The break came all too soon and the comments around me were "already." A lot of people felt as I did that the first half had been rushed through but we were looking forward to the next session.
Back come the orchestra and back comes Andrea. He just stood still for a lot of the time with an occasional wander, but the incredible thing is he fiddles with the microphone, is obviously uncomfortable on stage and wants to go home, but the audience still love him and he is still able to bring out this absolutely wonderful voice. The charisma is amazing. He just holds the audience absolutely still and silent.
In the second half there were some exquisite moments that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. All too soon the show closed and he sings his finale with the ever present Miss Borsi. The encores were much liked by a very enthusiastic audience who tried to keep him but "Time to say Goodbye" came around very quickly.
There are a lot of pretenders to his throne but it is safe at the moment but it was disappointing that after he sang to us in three languages nobody including Andrea could manage to say "Good Evening" in any language. No speech and no rapport from anyone on the stage with the audience did leave me feeling as if I was watching a live video.
But I will still look for the news he is coming back to the U.K. just to see
if I can get a ticket. I also hope he manages to find a suit to fit him
properly next time!
Well, what can I say from up here on my cloud of extreme happiness? You already know the content of Andrea's concert, so I will just say that it surpassed all the hopes and dreams I held before I went. His voice was just superb, he looked so relaxed ( I didn't see him clench his fist, but I have to admit I wasn't watching his fists all the time!), and everyone on stage was just superb.
The mix of songs was so good. I shed my first tears during the La Bohème duet, and then again during "Sogno" (my real no. 1 favourite) which I hadn't been expecting. Itwas all so perfect - I particularly liked the backdrop, which didn't distract from the performance but enhanced it. Putting the name of the song being performed up was good for anyone who might not have known it.
bought the old, out-of-date programme, but there was also a small leaflet detailing the current concert. And apart from the programme, there were most of the CDs (which I already have), opera glasses, a cap, and three tops. I bought a sweatshirt and t-shirt for myself. I think I will be frowned on when I wear my new top to work instead of "office attire", but I don't care.
Manchester arena was good, and the acoustics were excellent. I hope everyone showed Andrea (and his management) that it is a venue to be kept in mind for the future. What impressed me was that all the audience were so friendly - like a family coming together rather than strangers as at most concerts. A few people were in evening dress, but most were "smart casual", and everyone seemed to be humming or singing "Con te partirò" on the way out and to the car park. I wasn't surprised that we females were, but the men were as well, which is a tribute to the fact that Andrea reaches out to all.
I could go on and on all day, but you know it all, don't you? Suffice to say that I am so very, very happy. Now when I listen to my CDs I can close my eyes (except when I'm driving!) and see him there in front of me instead of just imagining. Today I start saving my pennies for a future venture into heaven!!
I was so looking forward to this concert as it was to be my first "inside".
Every other time I have seen Andrea in concert it has been in the open air - Pisa, Hyde Park, Dublin, Aarhus. Now, at last, I could watch Andrea in comfort and not worry about the weather. Just as well at the beginning of November. But I was also desperate to find out how different he would sound, what it would be like hearing him in an enclosed space. And as I had a seat in the second row, I couldn't wait.
The huge 15,000 seater (approx.) Wembley arena was absolutely packed I was delighted to see, and there was a real buzz of expectation as we took our seats. This feeling of expectation had increased a hundredfold by the time the lovely Marcello Rota went to collect Andrea for the first time, only this time the anticipation in the expectant silence, was so intense, you could almost touch it. The butterflies in my stomach were dancing around all over the place.
They had done a great job with the huge backdrop, using pictures and images from the CD and of course, roses everywhere. During each song they also had the title displayed up there, again straight from the CD, you know the almost indeciperable writing, which we all love I'm sure! And the usual huge screens each side of the stage. The orchestra were also on stage, adding not only to the scene, with the beautifully dressed people and the gleaming and shining instruments, but also allowing the seating to be much nearer to the stage. So, the setting was perfect, now all we needed was the man!!
He was worth waiting for - he looked divine. Black tux of course but no tie this time, just a simple black shirt with a high collar. Bellissimo!
Wow, what can I say? He was absolutely fabulous. In my opinion he gave the performance of his life. I have never seen or heard him so good. He seems to get better and better with every performance. Just when you think he is perfect, the next time you see him, he is better still. But he really does seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment. He was masterful, confident and held that huge audience in the palm of his hand. His voice was strong and loud and powerful - let no-one ever criticise him for weakness of voice again. His voice was sure and steady and pure, and oh so sweet. He was pure bliss. Even this reserved British audience left him in no doubt about how well loved he is. At the beginning the applause was loud and long, but it was mainly that on the whole - applause. (The majority were British after all!!) But by the second half and certainly during the encores, they were roaring for him. That's the only way I can describe the noise. Shouting, whistling, stamping and absolutely roaring for him to come back. It was fabulous to hear that noise come rolling like a wave from the back of the arena right up to the stage. We were in the second row so could hear I imagine what Andrea could hear. You could have been mistaken for thinking that you were at a pop concert. Isn't it amazing? What must Andrea think of that when he is treated like a pop star. Whoever heard of an opera singer being treated in this way? There were even comments being shouted out to him while waiting for songs to begin, which made everyone laugh - "sexy Andrea" "come ON handsome," wolf-whistles, the lot. And from Andrea, nothing, no reaction - I think he was so wrapped up in his music and waiting for his cue that he didn't even hear. But I have to say that out of the few times I have seen him in concert, this had to be the best and most amazing evening of my life.
We also seemed to me to get an awful lot for our money this time. I don't know how but they seemed to fit in more songs than usual. Or perhaps it was just my imagination. I have to say that in the past I have often felt the opposite, and usually the evening seems over so quickly. But, wonderfully, this one seemed to go and on, and I never wanted it to end.
It was incredible to be hearing live for the first time (for me) the
beautiful haunting songs from Sentimento. After the noise of that initial
applause had died down, into the hushed expectant silence came the haunting first notes of "Aranjuez." And that strong, clear, beautiful voice. Shivers went rushing down my spine. You can imagine the effect............! It was stunning. Those beautiful songs came thick and fast and by the end I felt absolutely drained, I don't know about AB. Looking around me I saw so many people wiping tears from their faces. But that was how he made you feel. And of course there were the usual beautiful duets with Maria Luiga Borsi - including the Merry Widow, La Boheme, etc. I still cannot quite get used to O Sole Mio as a duet, but we were treated to that too. Encores included "Sogno" and of course, "Con Te Partirò" to finish.
I ought to say a little bit about the performers - Andrea, well, Andrea.
I think I have already covered Andrea's performance - he was the ultimate performer, totally, totally fabulous. Maria Luiga Borsi was very, very good indeed. I saw her for the first time in Aarhus and I wasn't sure what to think, but this time she seemed much more accomplished, more experienced and definitely more confident - and has an extremely lovely voice, which complemented Andrea's wonderfully. Their duets were absolutely beautiful, and Maria's solos were also excellent - powerful and captivating. She too was very popular with the audience. And the solo violinist, Lidia Baich was absolutely breathtaking. She not only played beautifully and expertly of course, but she was also stunning, standing in a fantastic red clinging strapless dress (at most a size 8!!!) so elegantly beside Andrea while playing. The whole concert was not only fantastic to listen to but also very beautiful to watch.
It was the most fabulous evening I have ever experienced and it will stay with me for the rest of my life. And if he continues to improve with each performance the way he has been, I cannot wait for the next time. But how can you improve on perfection!
short report on Andrea's London concert last night. I understand he did just
as well in Manchester as he did in London. Must've been a good weekend of
work for him. The concert was essentially much the same one as he did in
Rotterdam with little change.
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