Andrea Bocelli talks Las Vegas, Celine Dion and the importance of opera

We sing the masterpiece of art that is inside us (the mirror, for a believer as I am, of the wonder of creation), we celebrate the beauty that we can grow and live every day.” — Andrea Bocelli

Great interview with Andrea Bocelli by Robin Leach in the Las Vegas Sun News:
Q+A: Andrea Bocelli talks Las Vegas, touring, Celine Dion and the importance of opera [Las Vegas Sun News; Dec. 2, 2013].

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Master of Voice: Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli received a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, from the Giacomo Puccini Conservatory in La Spezia, Italy. His CD/DVD, Love in Portofino, was released the same day. The 55-year-old Italian tenor also has a degree in Law from the University of Pisa.

See Also:
Bocelli Gets Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance [Italy Magazine; October 26, 2013]

40 Years On: From Abbey Road to Woodstock

Saturday, August 7, 2009, marked 40 years since the 1969 photo shoot for the Beatles’ iconic Abbey Road album cover. In commemoration of the event, hundreds of Beatles fans from across the universe had come together at the famous zebra crossing. Those who could not be there were able to watch on their computer monitors thanks to a live web cam, something not possible when the Beatles crossed that street 40 years ago. Oh the times, they are a-changin’.

The year 1969 was pivotal in the evolution of popular culture. Promoters of a festival billed as “three days of peace and music” sold 186,000 tickets to the August 15-17, 1969, event at Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York. Over half a million people showed up. Heavy traffic caused as many as a million more to turn back and miss the event known as Woodstock. The rain and mud-soaked attendees were entertained by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Ravi Shankar, Joan Baez, Mountain, The Band, Richie Havens, and a break-out performance of the Beatles’ hit With A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker.

The Daily Mail takes an amusing look back in, Forty far-out facts you never knew about Woodstock. One of my personal favorite facts is this one:

23. Off-duty police officers were banned from providing security, so a New Mexico commune known as the Hog Farm were hired to form a ‘Please Force.’ The Hog Farmers were led by Wavy Gravy, a toothless former beatnik comic, who put on a Smokey-the-Bear suit and warned troublemakers they would be doused in fizzy water or hit with custard pies.

In 1990, I met Wavy Gravy in a coffee store in Berkeley, California. He was running for Berkeley City Council (he lost), and he gave me a silk-screened campaign poster! His campaign slogan was “Let’s elect a real clown for a change.” Hmmm. Change we can believe in?

Madonna’s Second Date in Israel

Madonna will resume her international Sweet & Sticky Tour in London on the 4th of July. The tour will end in Israel. After the September 1, 2009, concert in Tel Aviv quickly sold out, a second performance date was added for September 2, 2009. It has been 16 years since the pop diva last performed in Israel, although she has been a visitor to the country a couple of times since then.

While in Israel, Madonna plans to go to the Wailing Wall with her children, including her newly adopted Malawi daughter Mercy, age 3 or 4, and adopted Malawi son David Banda, 3.

The Israeli tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth reports that Madonna’s friend Justin Timberlake will be joining her in Israel. The two share an enthusiasm for Kabbalah. Mr. Timberlake has been studying the esoteric Jewish mysticism at the London Center with Madonna.

There have been no announced plans that Mr. Timberlake will perform on the Sweet & Sticky Tour, but it is rumored that there may be some onstage surprises.

Hollywood Walk of Fame 2010

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce released the names of the 28 celebrities who will be honored with a pink terrazzo five-pointed star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010, the Walk’s 50th anniversary.

The 2010 Hollywood Walk of Fame recipients are:

  • Motion Pictures:
    James Cameron, Russell Crowe, John Cusack, Colin Firth, Gale Anne Hurd, Alan Menken, Randy Newman, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson and Mark Wahlberg
  • Television:
    Chris Berman, Jon Cryer, Peter Graves, Jimmy Kimmel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bill Maher, and Sam Waterston
  • Recording:
    Bryan Adams, The Funk Brothers, Alan Jackson, Chaka Khan, Van Morrison, Marco Antonio Solis, Ringo Starr, ZZ Top and posthumously Roy Orbison
  • Live Performance/Theatre:
    Andrea Bocelli and Cirque Du Soleil/Guy Laliberte

Flatpack: An IKEA Opera

The opera “Flatpack” sets Swedish furniture names to song while it poses the musical question, “What is domestic harmony?” It “explores issues encountered in everyday modern life and how our consumer decisions and domestic interaction with others are indicators of more profound life choices and personalities.” Performed live by Mammoth Music Theater at IKEA Wembley for four nights (June 2, 3, 9 and 10, 2009), it features four singers accompanied by a cello, piano, accordion and percussion, with a cast of actors and dancers dressed in traditional IKEA yellow and blue.

“Flatback” was composed by Tom Lane. The IKEA Wembley production was directed by Rebecca Lea.

See Also:
Ikea’s In-store Opera Shows Drama of Home Assembly [Advertising Age; June 4, 2009]