Sacred Arias [Special Edition, CD & DVD]

Sacred Arias [Special Edition, CD & DVD]

by Andrea BocelliAndrea Bocelli


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Sacred Arias is a whole lot more than a Christmas album. Following up on his bestselling recordings of operatic favorites -- Viaggio Italiano and Aria -- Andrea Bocelli offers a richly varied recital of spiritual music drawn from the vast repertory of classical song, oratorio, and opera. Some of these selections are well known, like Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" (used in Walt Disney's film "Fantasia"), Charles Gounod's "Ave Maria" (based on a prelude by J. S. Bach), and the vocally challenging "Ingemisco" from Giuseppe Verdi's powerful Requiem. But who would expect to find Bocelli singing his heart out in Richard Wagner's song "Der Engel" (The Angel)? In fact, throughout Sacred Arias, Bocelli sings with passion and imagination. He starts Pietro Mascagni's "Sancta Maria" in hushed, trembling tones before letting his voice ring out in its full splendor. "Panis Angelicus" by César Franck has equal parts tenderness and strength. Bocelli performs the difficult Verdi excerpt with remarkable ease, and his heartfelt interpretation makes the most of the composer's awe-inspiring music. Even the rarely heard Wagner song (sung in its original German) finds the Italian sounding right at home. "Silent Night" (sung in English) and "Adeste Fidelis" are given in tastefully elegant arrangements, although the final "Gloria a Te, Christo Gesú" is opulently orchestrated, providing a suitably rousing finale for this uplifting program.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kevin Giordano

While his breakthrough CD Romanza confirmed that Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli could deliver extraordinary vocal performances, his DVD, Sacred Arias, shows why and how Bocelli came to stand among today's most beloved voices. The video cuts back and forth from a performance at the Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, in March 1999, to interviews and footage of Bocelli with his family and friends. Director William Cosel has captured Rome in wonderful, enchanting shots, while focusing closely on Bocelli and his favorite spots in the Eternal City. Drawing on his boyhood love for sacred songs, Bocelli performs 17 classics, including Verdi's "Va, Pensiero," Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," and Bach's "Ave Maria." Bocelli speaks about his early days growing up in Italy and attending church, when his love for this luminous music began to take shape. In performance, close-ups show Bocelli delivering fantastically difficult musical passages, while surrounded by the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma, in a spectacle befitting his vast talents. His music may touch hearts worldwide, but this is an ideal chance for Bocelli's fans to know him as a man.

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Sacred Arias followed Andrea Bocelli's successful mainstream effort Sogno by a matter of months -- a release strategy that suggests he wanted to shore up his classical audience after a pop-leaning effort. That's nonsense, however. For lack of a better term, Sacred Arias is a holiday album, released in November, just in time for Christmas. For much of Bocelli's audience, given that the arias are religious songs, they are holiday songs as well -- after all, "Ave Maria," which leads off the album, is an integral part of the holiday season, and "Silent Night" and "Adeste Fideles" are also here. But Sacred Arias is more than just a holiday record. It contains other arias that aren't specifically about Christmas, plus selections like Wagner's "Der Engel," which isn't religious. Nevertheless, the album holds together fairly well, since the arrangements are of a piece, and Bocelli performs each in his signature style. He may not offer new interpretations of these standards, nor is his phrasing particularly unique, but nevertheless, he does deliver spirited performances of strong, albeit familiar, music in a way that's accessible to a wide audience. That's reason enough for fans to add this to their collections, especially as it is his first collection of arias and religious music. [The 2003 edition of Sacred Arias includes a live concert DVD, filmed in Rome.]

Product Details

Release Date: 10/14/2003
Label: Philips
UPC: 0028947536024
catalogNumber: 000127500
Rank: 76254

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