Andrea Bocelli Concerto – One Night in Bahrain

Andrea Bocelli performed his One Night in Central Park Concert last night.  As the solar flares whipped around our sun, the energies of cultures, music, eras and beliefs mixed in the air next to the sea.

Italian Andrea Bocelli was the headliner, but the young Bahraini woman with the bobbed hair and boots sitting behind me did not seem to understand the concert was not just Andrea singing.  The renowned Russian State Hermitage Orchestra conducted by veteran Eugene Kohn was FEATURED.  And Soprano Paola Sanguinetti who has performed with Bocelli for over ten years was more than arm candy.  But each time Bocelli was walked on and off stage, the audience held their breath wondering whether HE was going to come back.

My neighbor thought when Bocelli was not on stage it was a mini-intermission so she laughed and chatted with her friends.  After Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours, I finally turned around and said “your laughing is distracting” and suggested that she save her comments for between the movements.

She said “I will try.”

The program’s second half gave the audience some operatic relief.

During his famed rendition of Shubert’s Ave Maria, the stage screen featured a video of Bocelli standing at the foot of a four-foot tall Virgin Mary covered in a floor length veil.  Muslims respect the Virgin Mary.  There are more passages devoted to her in the Koran than in the Bible.  But as Bocelli placed a white rose at her feet and the Virgin’s veil was gently pulled from her face, the Islamic tenet that idol worship is forbidden came to mind.  When the song ended, half the audience clapped and Mojo leaned over and whispered, “oops”.   Already MPs had been calling the Spring of Culture “immoral”.

The Incanto favorites Mamma and Funiculi, Funiculi did not relieve the discomfort hanging over the audience.

Bocelli left the stage and the orchestra played a suite from Romeo and Juliet.  Excerpts from Zeffirelli’s 1968 film’s balcony scene were projected behind the orchestra.  I heard tongues clucking when the blue-eyed, 17-year old Leonard Whiting snuck into 15-year old Olivia Hussey’s window and kissed her.  I don’t think anyone told the producers that in the Bahrain cinemas even Shrek’s first kiss with the princess-turned-ogre Fiona was cut out.

Ultimately it was Elvis, a showgirl and the Las Vegas crooners who saved the night under the Lenten moon.

When Bocelli sang Elvis’ familiar Can’t Help Falling in Love, the mood began to lift.  The audience cheered after he gave his young guest artist, Ilaria Della Bidia, a big hug between their duets.  The audience went wild over his New York New York encore and gave him a stomping ovation for this Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra staple.

Just as earth lucked out without any power grid disruptions, the Spring of Culture‘s Bocelli concert ended on a HIGH NOTE.

And the audience bundled in their winter jackets and scarves proved the concert did not simply “please semi-naked women” as the MP claimed.



Tales by Chapter

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