Music

Andrea Bocelli is 'very attached' to Christmas traditions

The Italian singer is a titan of the classical world, but what does he get up to at Christmas? We found out...

Image credit: Giovanni de Sandre

Superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli has opened up about faith, the power of music and how much he’s missed performing for an audience in an exclusive Christmas interview with The Big Issue. 

The legendary classical musician has dedicated his new album, titled Believe, to God. Speaking to Steven MacKenzie, the 62-year-old said music could bring us all closer to the divine. 

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“Music is an expression of the sacred, a bridge across which faith can be revealed to us beyond the veil of our noisy, everyday lives,” Bocelli said. 

“Like philosophy, music originates from wonder. Regardless of our religious preferences we can demonstrate our ability to live in harmony with the world, to live poetically – and therefore to live for good.” 

When asked about the leap of faith required to commit to religion, he added “rationality and logic” played a big part in his belief in God. 

“It is basic reasoning that allows us to choose the right path, at the first and fundamental crossroads, to believe or not to believe. Personally, I chose the path that seemed most logical to me, the one that my intelligence, however limited, identified as a path without alternative.”

In a year plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic, Bocelli explained how he had found hope in the most hopeless of times: “Fear, someone wise once said, is probably the only thing we should be afraid of. The challenge is to keep your calm and not lose your optimism. 

“Avoid the waste of energy and resulting attack on your immune defences that a panic and stress response produces. The darkest periods amplify the glimmers of light. Each crisis is a challenge as well as an opportunity – and also a great responsibility.”

The darkest periods amplify the glimmers of light. Each crisis is a challenge as well as an opportunity – and also a great responsibility.”

The Italian singer, who is a titan of the classical world, said he “greatly” missed performing in front of a live audience. 

“Maintaining a direct relationship – a real and intimate relationship with those who appreciate my music – remains a fundamental part of my life as an artist. I yearn for the energy that is established with the audience in a concert hall or in an arena,” he said. 

“The live streams that often replace a concert event these days are an interesting alternative for those who create art and for those who benefit from it. The wonder, the strength and the energy of a crowd are, however, something very different.” 

And how will he be spending Christmas? Bocelli said he was a fan of festive traditions and hoped to be able to be around loved ones. 

“I am very fond of and attached to Christmas traditions. I like that warmth, that intimacy that the Christian holidays evoke,” he added. 

“I hope to be able to spend it with my family and loved ones, in the desire to remind myself, and all of us, of the profound religious meaning that these holidays offer.” 

Read more from Bocelli on his new album, his earliest memories and being listened to 1,000 years in the future in this week’s Big Issue, available through our online shop and from your local vendor now

Andrea Bocelli’s Believe is out now on Sugar/Decca Records.

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