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Andrea Bocelli's hugely popular album Romanza showed him at his best — passionately singing songs that had the kind of pop-vocal arrangements that made the most of his emotive, if not entirely rich, voice. Immensely popular around the world more because of the romantic aura that surrounds him than his vocal ability, Bocelli manages to seduce the listener into thinking that he or she is listening to a great opera singer, even if his performances taken by themselves prove otherwise. That is why Viaggio Italiano is not a great album, and also why it doesn't matter. Bocelli begins the album with such iconic opera arias that most of the people who buy his records will focus on the beauty of the songs themselves, rather than his execution of them. By the time he gets to the second half of the album, where he sings the Italian folk songs that are a little more in his league, the listener has already been hooked. Throughout the album, the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra provides subdued accompaniment that draws little attention to itself, allowing Bocelli, and the legend that surrounds him, to shine. [The 2004 Philips U.K. Special Edition featured two bonus tracks.]
Born: 22 September 1958 in Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy
Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s