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Andrea Bocelli (top) and Jose Carreras (above) will give concerts in Shanghai. Photos provided to China Daily
Two of the world's top tenors are performing in Shanghai in the last week of April.
The biggest-selling artist in the history of classical music, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will give his one and only concert on the Chinese mainland this year, at Mercedes-Benz Arena on April 30.
Jose Carreras, one of "The Three Tenors", will perform a solo concert in Daning Theater in Shanghai on May 2.
Carreras, from Spain, together with his fellow countryman Placido Domingo and Italian Luciano Pavarotti, toured extensively from 1990 to 2003 under the banner "The Three Tenors", achieving global recognition and commercial success.
Bocelli was born in 1958 and is 12 years younger than Carreras. He was sometimes called "the Fourth Tenor". Pavarotti, who died in 2007, was known to say of Bocelli: "I will not sing better than him".
Bocelli, however, did not like to make comparisons. He told China Daily that the last time he saw Pavarotti: "He was already very ill, we spent the whole time speaking of music, of voices, of performances.
"The most important lesson I drew from his advice is about technique. He taught me how to pursue the goal to sing effortlessly, so as to use the voice like an instrument capable of giving the best, without ever encountering trouble. A fundamental point, because if you do not acquire it, at my age you may run the risk of damaging your instrument beyond any hope."
Both Bocelli and Carreras have long ties with China. Bocelli performed solo concerts in Shanghai and Beijing in 2003 and 2004. He sang at the opening ceremony of the World Expo Shanghai in 2010, and in 2011, he held two concerts in Beijing as part of his tour of Asia. Carreras has also performed in China multiple times and recorded a Chinese folk song In a Faraway Place for one of his albums.
Bocelli chose Shanghai for his 2013 concert tour as "the result of a series of more complex contingencies", but said he was happy to return to the Chinese city.
"I am eager to meet once again those wonderful audiences that have already shown so much affection for me, and at the same time re-live the magic of a unique town, a mixture of East and West, futuristic architecture and traditional pagoda houses," Bocelli says.
Daning Theater where Carreras will perform has about 1,100 seats, while the Mercedes-Benz Arena, Bocelli's concert hall, can host up to 10,000 people.
The management of Daning says the medium-sized theater will present the best sound quality from the artist while also giving the audience a view of the stage. The new theater will celebrate its second birthday with Carreras' concert. A big-name performer such as Carreras will hopefully introduce the theater to a broader audience, according to the Daning management.
While Carreras declined to reveal the program for the Shanghai concert, Bocelli says songs from his new album Passione will be a highlight of his show, as well as songs from operas by Giuseppe Verdi, such as Rigoletto and La Traviata.
Passione consists of pop songs, folk ballads and modern classics that "accompanied my youth", says Bocelli.
"I do not reject pop, but I prefer opera: My life is entirely permeated with this form of art, that I love calling 'the paradise of music' which was invented more than four centuries ago in my Tuscany, the Italian region where I was born and raised," Bocelli says.
Bocelli was born with eye problems. He had 26 surgeries as a child, but still lost all sight at the age of 12. In the hospital he fell in love with music, which relieved his distress at being in hospital.
Bocelli shared his insight with young people aspiring to a singing career. "You need skill, will, spirit of sacrifice, perseverance and also a bit of narcissism but also a lot of luck," he says.
"Besides, a suggestion I would feel like giving is, that in order to sing well you must have many passions, you must learn how to develop a passion for life. If you want to sing and give emotions to those who are listening, you must have something to tell through your singing."
(China Daily 04/19/2013 page18)