by Janet in AZ
We knew it would be a special experience but not how
special! Last night, we saw Andrea Bocelli and Cecilia
Gasdia give a tremendous performance in concert at the
Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were accompanied
by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marcello
This special event really began for us as soon as we
arrived at the airport. The city was clearly ready for
Andrea and very eager to show him off to all who were
visiting or passing through. Everywhere we looked, there
were "larger-than-life" images of the handsome tenor on
giant posters or video billboards. He was at the airport,
along the Strip, and at the Mandela Bay. The images were
the of the cover photo from the Verdi CD and clips from
The Mandalay Bay pulled out all the stops for this event.
As we entered the hotel to check into our rooms, we were
greeted by the biggest and most beautiful "welcome mat"
I've ever seen! There, in the front of the lobby entrance,
was a huge woven carpet which read "ANDREA BOCELLI."
Inside, a sweet aroma filled the air. The lobby was
decorated with thousands of deep red roses. Beautiful
long-stem ones in large vases on grand tables and thick
garlands of roses hanging down in spirals from the
ceiling. We even received one long-stem red rose each from
the registration clerk. There were also tasteful gold
fabric banners which read, "One Night, One Voice." When I
commented on all this to the clerk, he replied, "Yes, I
think we have done more for Mr. Bocelli than we did for
the Three Tenors." As well they should!
The Event Center was huge (we were told 12,000 seats) and
filled to capacity. Even the seats behind the stage were
sold out! There were numerous large video screens which
projected images of the performers on stage and, during
certain numbers, faded in and out with scenes from the
Arias and NIT videos. (Including the clip of Andrea riding
his horse in the surf.)
The concert began with the orchestra playing the overture
to La Forza Del Destino. The audience applauded
appreciatively but you could tell from the restlessness of
the crowd that the anticipation was mounting to see
Andrea. As he appeared and approached the microphone, the
crowd gave him a rousing welcome and burst into loud and
sustained applause. This he acknowledged with a smile so
big and bright it outshone the lights of Las Vegas!
Andrea began with a powerful and convincing "Di quella
pira." His voice was agile and strong and the high "C" at
the end was brilliant. He sang with great confidence and
energy. This would set the tone for the rest of the
He sang several numbers that were new (to me, at least).
Among them were "La mia letizia infondere," "Tra voi,
belle." and later on, "Marechiare" and "O' surdato
'namurato." It was good to hear a different repertoire and
they were beautifully done. The audience was clearly
pleased but seemed to be a bit slow warming up with their
response. It was not quite as enthusiastic as I expected.
I wondered if it might be because of unfamiliarity with
the selections or perhaps the fact that the first three
sections seemed to be primarily reserved for high rollers
and VIPs, many of whom might be hearing Andrea for the
first time. In any event, it didn't take long and half way
into the first hour of the performance the crowd became
much more expressive.
Cecilia was lovely in a slim fitting, charcoal/silvery
beaded dress. She sang "O mio babbino caro" and then
"Vissi d'arte." The latter was especially beautiful. She
sang with much drama and expression.
Andrea and Cecilia appear to be good friends and to enjoy
performing together. In their first duet, from Tosca, they
whispered to each other, smiled, and occasionally held
hands. Their voices blended well and they were wonderful
Next, it was the orchestra's turn to shine and that they
did! Maestro Rota's style was somewhat reserved and formal
but he certainly was able to get a lively, brilliant
performance from the orchestra with "Farandole" from
L'Arlesienne. It was absolutely beautiful.
For their last selection before intermission, Andrea and
Cecilia performed a duet. I had hoped for "O soave
fanciulla" as the program indicated but was not at all
disappointed with the substitution of "Brindisi."
After the intermission, Andrea raised his wonderful
performance to an even higher level. His "Ave Maria" from
Cavalleria Rusticana and "Domine Deus" were sung
with great reverence, depth, and richness. His
interpretations were more varied in emotion and the
contrasts from forte to pianissimo were incredibly
beautiful. His "Santa Lucia Lontano" was emotion packed.
It was soulful and passionate -- contemplative then
dramatic. The crowd went wild.
Cecilia joined Andrea to sing "Tace il labbro" from The
Merry Widow, which the audience really enjoyed. It was
followed by the orchestra which again distinguished
itself, playing a bright, crisp rendition of "Slavonic
Dance" by Dvorak that really made you want to dance!
Andrea followed with several Neapolitan songs. The first,
"Marechiare," was mysterious and beautiful. He was in top
form and his voice was smooth and rich. He also sang "I'te
vurria vasa" and "O' surdato 'namurato." Both were very
Cecilia performed two more solos. "Non ti scordar di me"
and "Tu, 'ca nun chiagne." The latter was exquisite! Her
years of experience performing on stage really showed here
as she performed with great dramatic interpretation.
For the final selection, Andrea and Cecilia performed "O
Sole Mio" and they received a standing ovation. After they
waved and left the stage, the thunderous applause and
shouts for more from the audience brought them back.
First, Andrea appeared and sang"The Prayer." Then, "Con Te
Partirò," which became "Time to Say
Goodbye" once Cecilia came to join him. There were bursts
of applause and shouts of appreciation and affection
throughout both songs and the crowd gave them two more
After the lights came up and the orchestra began to leave
the stage, the crowd seemed to linger, not wanting the
evening to end. At least not so soon.