‘Love in Portofino’ is a great live experience
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 23:10
The widely revered Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli released “Love in Portofino” yesterday. This album, following its release as a part of the PBS concert-video series “Great Performances,” released last March, puts Bocelli’s classical roots on hold for an orchestrated celebration of culturally diverse music. The live performance was shot and recorded in Italy’s Portofino resort village at a beautiful waterfront venue in August of 2012 (the audio CD is available for purchase in a bundle with the DVD in yesterday’s re-release of the concert,) to showcase songs from Bocelli’s most recent studio album, “Passione.”
Accompanied by his music director and keyboardist, David Foster, and a 40-piece orchestra, – who infuse Brazilian, Cuban and Portugese rhythms into his set – Bocelli explores his diverse musical background by sharing his many influences on stage. His warm but powerful vocal quality serenades the audience by way of six different languages throughout the entirety of the program: English, French, Italian, Neopolitan, Portugese and Spanish. The convergence of expert musicians Bocelli chooses to perform with on “Love in Portofino” (Chris Botti on trumpet in “Cinema Paradiso” and Caroline Campbell on violin in “Anema e cora,” to name a few) and songs he chose to cover while recording “Passione,” speak to the great variety of genres heard on his latest live release. The quality of content produced by this whirlwind of pristine musicianship produces an almost elevator music-esque sound, but not one which can be ignored or easily forgotten; no, it demands the emotional attention of its listener.
The world-renowned ballads written, covered and even translated by Bocelli for “Love in Portofino” (both on-record and live) maintain the attention of the audience and allow them to not only listen, but feel as if their personal culture has contributed to Bocelli’s inspiration. Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Celia Cruz and other monumental pop-artists (in their respective genres) have all paved the way for his rendition of “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás,” for example. The fully immersed listener can find and exploit a void in the artist-listener boundary which goes far beyond the physical confines of a fan’s headphones or speakers or recording devices used by Bocelli and his sound engineers. This rarely found acoustic ecstacy, apart from an actual first-hand concert experience, allows for a calming atmosphere and communal sense of connection to Bocelli’s live production. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender,” and Neil Diamond’s “September Morn” were all adapted and translated into different languages for “Passione” and are covered by Bocelli during the show. There is a strong influence from the American jazz movement, when coupled with the Latin and Hispanic rhythm of Bocelli’s compositions for each, allows for neither a Western or Eastern feel, but a completely unique one of his own: one that completely enthralls the classical or ethnic music aficionado.
Despite his retreat from the classical niche, Bocelli cements his legacy of passionate love songs by performing them on stage with other famous artists like Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose,” and even his own fiancé, Veronica Berti during their rendition of “Something Stupid.” Other notable songs performed include “Senza fne, Perfidia, Champagne” and “Tristeza.”