Italian tenor sensation Andrea Bocelli has become an annual holiday tradition in Las Vegas, performing yet another sold-out concert, “One Night in Las Vegas,” at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night, and it was a truly global affair.
Bocelli shared the stage for two hours of opera with Cuban soprano Maria Aleida (who nearly stole the show, but what soprano doesn’t), Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins (who TV viewers should recognize as the runner-up in last season’s “Dancing With the Stars”), a choir and conductor Eugene Kohn and his full orchestra.
Bocelli’s tour set list includes “Donna Non Vidi Mai” from Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut,” “Di Quella Pira” from Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” “Ange Adorable” and “Ah, Leve-Toi, Soleil!” from Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette,” “Verranno a Te Sull’Aure” from Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lamermoor,” “Brindisi” from Verdi’s “La Traviata,” “O Surdato ’Nnammurato,” “Mamma,” “Funiculi, Funicula” and “Non Ti Scordar Di Me” from De Curtis’ “Incanto” and the waltz duet “Tace Il Labrro” from Lehar’s “The Merry Widow.”
But it was the final third of the show that was the crowd-pleaser and most familiar: “Ave Maria,” in which Bocelli played the flute; “Amazing Grace,” sung in English; and “Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful),” performed in Latin. For the encore, it was “The Prayer” with Jenkins (he didn’t perform this fan favorite last year); “Nessun Dorma” (also not performed last year, and one of my favorite compositions); and “Time to Say Goodbye” with Aleida. The three performances received rousing ovations.
After “The Prayer,” Bocelli addressed the audience at MGM Grand for the first time, saying, “Thank you very much. My voice is almost finished.” He thanked the musicians, the choir, Kohn, Jenkins, Aleida and his fans (some of whom shouted, “We love you, Andrea!” throughout the night) before launching into “Dorma” and “Goodbye.” The orchestra, choir, Aleida and Jenkins also were featured solo throughout the evening.
Full disclosure: I am not well versed in opera, nor do I know Italian. This was likely the case for most of the audience at MGM Grand, but it didn’t lessen the enjoyment in what was a phenomenal evening of opera. (Still, subtitles wouldn’t be the worst idea ever.)
It was a classy and elegant evening at the opera with thousands of people in an arena that was rocked by Rush the night before, and the performers were dressed for the occasion, Bocelli and Kohn in tuxedos, Aleida in a plum-colored, sleeveless, floor-length gown and the stunning Jenkins in a glittering-gold, sleeveless, floor-length gown whose sparkles could be seen from the rafters. (I’ve been listening to Jenkins’ new holiday CD for the past few weeks; it’s terrific.)
Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery of Bocelli, Aleida, Kohn, the orchestra and the choir during the glorious evening. (Donoghue was only allowed to shoot during the first part of the evening, which is typical of concerts, so there are no photographs of Jenkins because she performed after the 20-minute interval.)
Until next year, Signor Bocelli.
Don Chareunsy is editor of VegasDeLuxe.com and senior editor, arts and entertainment, of LasVegasSun.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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