STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
ITALIAN tenor, Andrea Bocelli is due to star alongside British rock artist Elton John in a concert at the Son Moix stadium in Palma on 4th September and was speaking yesterday about the forthcoming event.

Bocelli's unassuming informality belies the fact that his career to date has included performances to mass audiences on an international scale and duets with other great singers outside the world of opera including pop stars Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Cristina Aguilera and Eros Ramazzotti. A duet with Elton John on 4th September, in a concert described as Europe's top musical event of the summer, has not yet been confirmed.

What can the public expect from your concert on Majorca?
It will be a tour through some of the most beautiful pages of Italian operatic scores. I still haven't got the progamme fine-tuned because I think of other details every day .... whether or not to add or omit pieces. But nevertheless, I will be attempting to sing some of the arias which are best loved by the public. I want people to enjoy themselves.

You're well-known for duets with other great singers.

Will you be performing with Elton John?
It's unlikely because our appearances are separate. He will perform first and I later.

And so the duet that so many people have been looking forward to just won't be happening?
At the moment, there is nothing planned. We'll have to see .... it's not for me to make the decision. I do know though that I will be singing with the Spanish soprano Saiona Hernandez, who has a delightful voice. We will be performing together for the first time.

I also have some pieces arranged with Div4, a group made up of four sopranos. I've already sung with them on previous occasions. The resulting combination is spectacular and I think it will create a moment of magic for the audience.

Will it be the first time that you have performed on Majorca? Indeed, will it be your first visit to the island?
No, I stopped off here on a cruise ship once. We only had a day to look around but we loved what we saw.

What do you remember from that fleeting visit?
I remember a carriage and a horse, and a wonderful ride through the small streets of the centre of Palma. It was an exquisite experience.
We've heard that before the concert you are going to go on a strict diet?
Of course, it's like being an athlete. A musician has to live as if he were a sportsman: to eat just a little, not to drink alcohol at all and to sleep a great deal.

And how will you spend your time here on Majorca? Don't our pristine beaches and wonderful regional cooking appeal to you?

I'm not sure if I will have time for that. On this occasion, I'm coming to take part in a concert and I will be absolutely focused on rehearsal and performance. It's a shame though.

You're clearly used to singing on stages to huge audiences. What do you think about the stadium where the concert in September is going to be held?
It's always a strange sensation to sing outside a theatre which is the natural home of music. When leaving it, it's as though I'm going to sing on alien territory. But times are changing and for a while now, musicians have been wanting to perform to massed audiences that are too large to be housed in a theatre or opera house.

It's a completely different sensation to sing in an open stadium where there are faces as far as the eye can see, in the same way that there is a radically distinct atmosphere at performances I have given at world famous sites such as the pyramids in Egypt or at the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Grand occasions appear to have accompanied you throughout your career. Do you enjoy doing things on a large scale?
No, I am not obsessed at all with planning the future. I am always thinking of the present and work only within the framework of realistic projects.

A few months ago you were awarded a star of fame in Los Angeles, how did you feel?
The truth is I didn't feel any different than I did before. Of course, it's a great compliment and symbolises the affection of the public for me. It is a reward for the complete commitment and passion I have in my work.

Your emergence as an artist began by chance through the Italian pop singer Zucchero. He was looking for a Pavarotti and he found his man in you.

What do you remember from your beginnings?
They are exciting memories for me because I had so much enthusiasm, so much drive to perform. And for the first time, I could test the reaction of the public to my singing.

You have two children in their teens. Are they as talented as you?
They also are studying music and piano.
Yes, they enjoy it and get a lot out of their work. But talent .... that will have to be seen over the course of time. Who knows?

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