andrea bocelli o2

Live Review: Andrea Bocelli at the O2

Live Review: Andrea Bocelli at the O2

The world’s most beloved tenor returns to London for the first of two spellbinding shows at the 02 Arena. Adam Davidson reviews.

Back in the capital after his performance at the Party in the Palace for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, Andrea Bocelli brings the glamour of the opera to the biggest of stages joined by family, special guests and accompanied by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 

The show started with a warm up by the Royal Orchestral Movement before Andrea Bocelli came on stage to perform ‘La donna è mobile’ and instantly hit the audience with his rich voice that brought an eruption of applause.  

There was a series of special guests throughout the show including Czech soprano Zuzana Markova for a moving solo performance of Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro.’ It was a beautiful and delicate performance that was a great contrast to the rich and powerful voice of Andrea Bocelli earlier. 

There was also a reimagined rendition of The Police’s Roxanne by Ayanna Witter-Johnson on the cello. Italian singer-songwriter Elisa performed her song, ‘Silent Song.’ 

It was then a family affair at the 02 Arena as the tenor brought out his 10-year-old daughter Virginia Bocelli to perform a duet of ‘Hallelujah.’ 

Performing in front of 22,000 people is a daunting prospect for any performer, never mind one who is only the tender age of 10. Her father comforted her by saying ‘pretend you’re at home, you’re alone’ before a beautiful rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic. 

Andrea Bocelli went off stage as Virginia stayed to perform a solo rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ The audience was amazed by the talented young singer and gave her one of the biggest applauses of the night.  

Next to join Bocelli onstage was Mateo, his son for a section of the show which promoted their upcoming Christmas album ‘A Family Christmas’, set for release on October 21.  

The festive spirit was brought to the O2 as Mateo sang John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’, although it is perhaps far too early to start thinking about Christmas in September. 

One of the highlights of the evening was from one of the hotly-anticipated special guests, Nicole Scherzinger. The pop singer performed a beautiful rendition of ‘Memory’ from Cats, a musical she starred in at the West End in 2014/15. 

The crowd cheered, applauded and even shouted ‘love you’ to the Ex-Pussycat Doll as she walked on stage in a sparkling silver gown but when she started to sing you could hear a pin drop as the arena was rendered silent, stunned by the powerful performance.  

Scherzinger was then joined on stage by Andrea Bocelli for a duet of Can’t Help Falling in Love. 

The show was rounded off with an encore that included ‘Con Te Partirò’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’, songs that have cemented Andrea Bocelli’s legacy as one of the greatest living tenors. 

It was an incredibly moving part of the show as the live orchestra gave the performance that added an extra layer of emotion and alongside the powerful voice of Bocelli, it created a beautiful moment to remember and got a standing ovation.  

Andrea Bocelli’s shows in London were quite different as an arena show. The tenor is not reliant on special effects to captivate an audience but instead puts on display his raw talent and shows the power of classical music. 

Image: Andrea Bocelli – credit Mark Seliger, Decca Records