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Sacred Arias followed Andrea Bocelli's successful mainstream effort Sogno by a matter of months — a release strategy which suggests that 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 collection, especially as it is his first collection of arias and religious music.
Andrea Bocelli has the voice of an angel, the perfect voice for the Christmas season.
Born: September 22, 1958 in Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy
Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s