When we arrived in Oslo we looked for ads for the show on
Sunday night. Nothing. No ads in the paper. None anywhere really. Not even
on the Billboard outside the Spektrum. No mention of Bocelli anywhere. They
did have a short 3 minute interview on Norwegian TV Saturday night. The
interviewer spoke Norwegian and Andrea spoke in Italian. It was previously
taped in Forte dei Marmi and they had some film of Andrea's house. Some
inside shots and outside also.
re: concert Sunday night. As time went on, the arena filled up. I mean filled up. Full. The internet stated that the Spektrum can seat up to 10,000. Someone there told us there were about 7500 people in the audience that night. It was sold out. That we know. I only saw two seats empty in the row in front of me. No sign of any of the entourage or family. If they were there, they stayed out of sight and did not come out front to make an appearance, check the seats, or to greet anyone. Andrea entered from stage right (your left as you face the stage) and they had the area offstage covered with black curtains that did not move. You wouldn't have been able to see anyone there even if they were there. When Maestro Rota went offstage to collect his Tenor, it seemed as if he disappeared into nowhere, and then appeared from nowhere with Andrea on his arm. Nice effect. Security was very good. They watched every move. At one point Bitte left her seat at the end, to go up to the front and get a better shot of the *final bows*. She only had to move a short distance to the front, as we were in the 5th row. She was promptly stopped at the front and asked to return to her seat. No one stopped anyone from taking photos though. Flashes went off throughout the performance.
Andrea looked very, very sharp. Dashing. Dapper. Handsome. Bitte called him a *Hunk*. Armani tux. Hair long. Nice cut in the front, long in the back. Pearl, or mother of pearl studs/buttons in the tux shirt. White tie. The tie was very different. Kind of a trifold bow tie. There was something wrong with his collar in the 1st half. I kept looking at it but, couldn't figure out what the problem was. It was fixed after intermission. Perfect.
Although there were two large video screens, one on either side of the stage... I never saw a camera. No camera crews lurking in front of or on the stage to get shots. So nice as that can be so distracting. The only lens I noticed was the one directly in front of Maestro Rota. Occasionally they would shoot him head on, through a fishbowl lens and we would watch him conduct.
This is the first time I have heard the soprano, Paola Sanguinetti. What a lovely voice and demeanor. So polished. She exudes class. Beautiful vocally and visually. Lovely high pianissimos. I thought she was a good match for The Tenor and this made for very nice duets.
I'll put the list of songs sung at the end of this note. A few comments about some of what he sang. He was in very good voice Sunday night. He seemed relaxed through the whole program. I never saw a clenched fist and very often he kept time with his right hand. "A Vucchella" has always been one of my Tosti favorites. The last note Andrea sings could give a marble statue goosebumps. I never tire from hearing a well done "E lucevan le stelle." So strong, and so sensitive at the same time. More goosebumps on the pianissimo. And while we're on the subject of pianissimos. "Santa Lucia Luntana" - The last "ci" of "Santa Lu -ci -a" would have sent you right off the pier into one of Norways fjords. "Occhi di fata" - Andrea's fingers on both hands going 240 along with the violin intro. Again another goosebumpy pianissimo at the end... that he held... forever. Whew. I get goosebumpy just thinking about it. Can you tell I love those pianissimos? "O Sole Mio" was not a solo this time. Andrea was accompanied by the soprano on the chorus part. Bitte wanted to add that the 1st violinist was fabulous and when he played, many times Andrea would turn to face him. Especially in "Aranjuez." Then there was the fingering along with him in "Occhi di fata" that I mentioned.
They started the encores after the printed program was completed. But, before they did, Andrea said a few words. As Andrea spoke, everyone stopped making any noise whatsoever. Not a peep. Not a sound. Thousands of us quiet. He spoke in English and thanked everyone. "Thank you very much to be here with me." He thanked Maestro Rota and Paola Sanguinetti. He then thanked the doctors in Oslo for their kindness to him. He explained that they had treated him well the last time he was in Oslo. He apparently was having "big problems with the throat" and needed to be treated. I watched him sing on TV in Oslo for the Nobel peace concert and did not notice at all. I would never have known if Andrea had not said anything.
Maestro Rota did an exemplary job of keeping everyone in the orchestra on track. He is just... well. Cool. I mean that in a good way. Cool as in cool... not cold or unfeeling. The orchestra played with much energy and enthusiasm.
Most of the thousands of Scandinavians that attended were very well behaved. There was much applause and foot stomping. Some clapping in unison. A little whistling. There were a few people downstage left occasionally making loud noises. "Woo!! Woo hoo! Andrea!! Bravo! Brava! Bravi! Bis!" Geez. You would have thought they were fans from the US or something, or at the very least influenced by them. (wink)
Repertoire for European Concerts Feb 2005
Bizet: Overture, Carmen
Tosti: La Serenata
Puccini: O mio babbino caro, Gianni Schicchi
Bizet: Farandole, L'Arlesienne
Gastaldon: Musica Probita
Tosti: 'A Vucchella
Puccini: Vissi d'Arte, Tosca
Puccini: E lucevan le stelle, Tosca
Puccini: O soave fanciulla, La Bohème
Rossini: Overture, La Gazza Ladra
Lehar: Tu che m'hai preso il cuor
E.A. Mario: Santa Lucia Luntana
De Curtis: Tu ca nun chiagne
Denza: Occhi di Fata
Cannio: O Surdato 'nammurato
Lehar: Aria di Vilja, La Vedova Allegra
Mascagni: Intermezzo, Cavalleria Rusticana
Lehar: Tace labro, La Vedova Allegra
De Curtis: Torna a Surriento
Di Capua: O Sole Mio
Verdi: Brindisi, La Traviata
Dell'amore non si sa
Sempre o mai
Time to Say Goodbye
Bitte and Linda
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