Packed with swooshy, syrupy strings, romantic orchestration and simple melodies that do not overly tax his technique.
Andrea Bocelli: Incanto
If you are a die-hard opera lover, the chances are that you will be a naysayer of the singing sensation Andrea Bocelli. Most famous for the rather menacingly titled Time To Say Goodbye - a duet with fellow classical/pop crossover star Sarah Brightman - Bocelli is adored by legions of fans and abhorred by music critics. That a singer who hasn't paid his dues with strict classical training and years of hard graft on stage should nevertheless be wildly successful is one thing. But for such an artist to have the impertinence to attempt operatic leads is, to traditionalists, insupportable. And in the past he has proved them right: the physical stamina and vocal discipline required to perform two-hour stage roles, unamplified, should never be underestimated. Few people in the world can carry such a feat off, and Bocelli is apparently not one of them. For those with lighter tastes, though, Incanto is the perfect vehicle for him. A selection of his favourite Italian classics - the sort of catchy numbers sung in the past by Mario Lanza and Enrico Caruso - it is packed with swooshy, syrupy strings, romantic orchestration and simple melodies that do not overly tax his technique. Tarantellas, comical classics such as Funiculi Funicula and some agreeable duets make this a lively album that will keep his fans extremely happy. After all, though he may only have two dynamics - loud and louder - and even given the fact that his upper range is somewhat strangled, Bocelli's voice has the kind of tone that, if you can suspend your critical faculties for an hour, is, dare we say it, quite enjoyable.