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Andrea Bocelli Biography

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Andrea Bocelli (born September 22, 1958 in Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy) is a singer, writer and music producer. He is a classical crossover and operatic tenor, and has recorded four complete operas (La Bohème, Il Trovatore, Werther and Tosca) besides various classical and pop albums. He has two sons: Amos (born in 1995) and Matteo (born in 1997). He was married but has since separated from his only wife, Enrica. Bocelli was born with congenital glaucoma,

As a child Andrea played the organ in church, and at the age of 12 he won the Margherita d'Oro in Viareggio with "'O Sole Mio", his first win in a music competition. After working for one year as a lawyer (he graduated as a Doctor of Laws from the University of Pisa) he undertook singing lessons from maestro Luciano Bettarini, taking up music full time.

In 1992, the Italian rock star Zucchero Fornaciari first auditioned Andrea while scouting for tenors to duet with him in the song "Miserere"; upon hearing the recording, tenor Luciano Pavarotti urged Zucchero to use Andrea instead of himself. The song was finally recorded with Pavarotti but Andrea Bocelli accompanied Zucchero in his European tour.

In 1994, Andrea performed the winning entry "Il mare calmo della sera" at the Sanremo Festival, which led to his first gold record. That year he debuted as Macduff in Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth, sang at Pavarotti's benefit concert in Modena, and performed for Pope John Paul II on Christmas.

In 1995, Andrea's song "Con Te Partirò" came fourth at the Sanremo Music Festival.

In 1996, he sang with the English soprano Sarah Brightman a duet version of "Con te Partirò", entitled "Time to Say Goodbye", which broke sales records and stayed in the German top ten for nearly six months. In subsequent years Andrea performed at Paris, Bologna, Torre del Lago and Vatican City. He released further albums until entering the American market in 1998 with a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. and a White House reception. Both that year and in 1999, Andrea embarked on tours to North and South America and duets with Céline Dion, and performed the first Internet live opera broadcast in its entirety from the Detroit Opera House, with Denyce Graves.

In 2002, Andrea repeated his America tour, winning two World Music Awards. Since then, Andrea has continued his career with concert appearances throughout the world, including singing during the NBA's 2006 All-Star Weekend in Houston. He sang "Because We Believe" from his 2006 album Amore, during the Closing Ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

In 2006, Bocelli worked with the six finalists of American Idol to help them sing the week's themed songs, "classic love songs". He was especially impressed with Katharine McPhee. She accepted his offer to perform with him on the 3 California dates of his US tour: Sacramento, San Jose and the Hollywood Bowl, June 9 - 11, 2006.

Though Bocelli frequently sings in operas, some music critics and opera fans consider him a pop singer who has neither the training nor the voice quality of a true opera singer. Supporters of Bocelli often counter that his stage presence and heartfelt emotion he puts into his singing make up for any perceived lack of technical proficiency.

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