Bocelli Rocks. The Audience, Not So Much.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from Andrea Bocelli’s concert at the Hard Rock Live Wednesday night. I knew he had sung a duet at one point with Celine Dion, and I was worried that the entire concert would be in that vein: cheesy, easy listening pop. I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down and looked at the program – of the 19 songs listed, most were opera. And when Bocelli came onstage in a black tux and belted out a song from Rigoletto, wow.

It’s not like I know anything about opera. But Bocelli’s voice was stunning. He sang numbers from La Boheme, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly – along with duets with the equally stunning Daniela Bruera, an Italian soprano, and Luis Ledesma, a tenor who has performed with the Palm Beach Opera.

The best song of the night was probably Ave Maria, although the audience -- especially the many Italians in the house -- went wild for Canto Della Terra. That was more in the pop vein, but hearing it live was impressive. The three encores were similar -- with all of the songs from his new CD, Vivere -- and Bocelli ended the show with his famous tune Con Te Partiro. I walked out a Bocelli fan.

The only downside to the evening: the audience. With ticket prices starting at $100 and topping out at $500, I expected the concert-goers to be well-behaved. They weren't. The woman next to me stomped her feet in time to the music throughout, as if she was at a hoedown. A guy three rows in back of me took a NEXTEL call in the middle of a song, and, unbelievably, a woman in front of me answered a cell phone call just as Bocelli began singing the first notes of Ave Maria.

-Tamara Lush

Photo by Marco Kornfeld

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