Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

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allf100
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Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby allf100 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:36 am

I enjoy the music of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli very much, though I don't understand Spanish and Italian and possible other language, except for English, in his albums. I feel the languages sound very beautiful in his music. Unfortunately the languages are barriers for me to enjoy further, but the flip side is I can fly with the music with my own imagination.

I wonder whether or not most of his audience are really polyglots if you know, or they just simply enjoy his music like I do.

Is Andrea Bocelli a household name in Europe to people who are even not into music?

Thank you!
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby aokoye » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:02 am

I don't know Bocelli in part because, while I'm a tenor, I don't actually listen to a lot of opera (I also don't sing opera). That said, I highly doubt most people who listen to opera understand all of the languages that they listen to opera in. I mean there are also professional opera singers who don't speak the languages they sing in. In contrast, there are examples of those who refuse to sing an opera if they don't speak the language and thus have decided to learn a number of languages. I think Jessye Norman falls into that category but I could be wrong (this also requires the financial stability and career security to be able to make that decision).

But yeah, I definitely don't know all of the languages that I listen to music or sing in. This includes pieces that I absolutely adore. For a choral singer especially, that's a very big and unrealistic ask unless they're in a situation where they almost exclusively sing in one language.
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby rdearman » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:50 am

I know a fellow who learned Italian just so he could understand opera. Lots of people do know Bocelli in Europe. Personally I used to listen to Il Divo a lot.
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby Kat » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:15 am

I don't know about other European countries but I'd say Andrea Bocelli is pretty well known in Germany. Maybe not so much for his operas as for his duets with singers like Sarah Brightman (Time to Say Goodbye) and Céline Dion (The Prayer). With these, Bocelli was able to reach a much wider audience than opera fans. He also appears on German TV from time to time, often in the context of charity events.

As for the different languages, I agree with Aokoye. The audience does not always understand the language of an opera. You can read a translated libretto to understand what exactly is going on and in the opera house you normally have supertitles in your native language.

Sometimes opera singers will perform an opera in a language they don't speak or don't speak well. I remember newspaper articles about Anna Netrebko singing a Wagner opera in German for the first time where they described the process. According to one of these articles, the singers learn IPA (the International Phonectic Alphabet) during their training. When they get an actual role, there's a coach to practice the correct pronunciation with them and, of course, they need to understand what they are singing to interpret it well.

Edited: typos
Last edited by Kat on Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby Ogrim » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:12 am

Yes, Andrea Bocelli is well known in most European countries I think. He is certainly popular in Norway, where he has given several concerts in the past. As Kat mentions, he is probably best known for his duets with other (pop) singers. Because of this, "serious" opera fans may underestimate his qualities as an opera singer, because he is seen as focusing more on "light" music, while actually he has appeared on 14 complete opera recordings, e.g. of La bohème, Werther, Il Trovatore and Turandot.

Although many opera singers can perform in a language they don't speak, nowadays most professional opera singers study the languages they are bound to perform in, in particular Italian, but also French and German. Here is an interesting discussion about this.
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby allf100 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:01 am

Thank you very much for your helpful comment, everyone.

Thanks to Andrea Bocelli, I had an impulse to basically learn Italian and Spanish while I was listening to his songs. I didn't know the languages sound beautiful before, maybe Bocelli just put a magic spell on them, and me. I had to say to myself, "Cool down", because I don't have that much time to learn them currently.

Honestly I don't have an ear for music, somehow his music makes me fly.

Have a good one! :D
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby aokoye » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:07 pm

All of the opera students I've known in university have had to take diction in German, French, and Italian and then also had to take one year of two languages (French German or Italian). That would put them at more or less A1 proficiency. Looking at other colleges/universities the diction requirement is similar but the foreign language one may or may not be there.

Diction is essentially learning IPA for the sole purpose of singing. I sat it on a few German diction classes while I was taking phonetics for my linguistics degree and it was interesting.

Edit - I will say, diction in singing more broadly seems to do away with the idea that people have accents within a given language. Take the first phrase in the piece Last Letter Home by Lee Hoiby. "I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you". If I were to transcribe that the way I say it it would be [aɪ sɝtʃt ɑl maɪ laɪf fɚ ʌ dɹim ænd aɪ faʊnd ɪt ɪn ju]. If I transcribed it the way I sung it, it would be [ɑ sɜtʃt ɑl mɑ lɑf fo:ɹ ʌ dɹim ænd ɑ fɑnd ɪt ɪn ju] spending next to no time on the /r/s and going directly from the [j] to the [u].
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Re: Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli and His Audience

Postby Versus » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:11 pm

Andrea Bocelli is well known in Serbia. I know a lot of people that enjoy his music but does not know Italian language.
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