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Miami, Florida
American Airlines Arena
December 4, 2002
How can Andrea's voice get better and better!? His voice is BETTER than the Sentimento CD! I've never really liked his "Because"...I always felt that he was straining and reaching for it. BUT last night, his high notes were so rich and full bodied in this song and the whole repertoire...so...so...there's no other word to describe it accurately except for one word: breathtaking...LITERALLY breathtaking!

He was totally, totally relaxed. His interaction with Maria Luigia Borsi was beautiful! In "Gia nella notte densa" he held her in his arms, they sang to each other, facing each other closely, so closely that when they sang "baci, baci," I thought they were going to kiss. It was so romantic and sexy! And what I noticed is that Borsi didn't have to prompt him to initiate the gestures, he reached out for her and she came willingly on cue. It was beautifully rehearsed and executed. In the
past, his gestures in these duets are a little off cue sometimes because
he is concentrating on the note or phrase he's singing. Not last night! He moved and emoted according to what he was singing. That duet was absolutely beautiful! Not as lyrical as the ones we love so much (Puccini's), but very dramatic and lovely.

When they sang "O soave fanciulla" they really acted it out. He leaned over into her for the "e al ritorno?" and she waved her index finger at him when she sang "curioso." The last notes were astounding! She hit it
beautifully! That duet brought the house down!

He opened the concert with "Aranjuez." Usually Andrea is a little reserved in the first few minutes of the concert, but he came out and sang this with so much emotion! His baritone and middle range pulsed and flowed out like warm wine. The violinist Lidia Baich was wonderful and so very beautiful! She wore two different gowns that shimmered and glittered next to Andrea's new dark and classical tuxedo. As they stood side by side, their outfits were perfectly matched and in harmony with one another. The whole production is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, even down to this detail.

His "Lucevan le stelle" was brand new! He sang the torture, he gasped in remorse and longing! I've never heard Andrea sing with so much drama in his phrasing. It's not overly done or melodramatic. It's as if in that moment he transports himself on to the opera stage and in the middle of the concert we find ourselves, not in an sports arena, but in the middle of Act 1, Scene 2 of an opera and Andrea is in character. All that's missing are the costumes.

He really gave it his all when he sang "Core 'ngrato." His shoulders bent forward slightly in the emotion, his shoulders danced up and down and the cry in his phrasing made me sigh!

Steven Mercurio was flying high too! He was out of breath when he finished the "William Tell Overture." He actually bounced off his feet when conducting this. When Andrea came back out on stage, Steven took the mike and said a few words, and he explained that he was really catching his breath, which made the audience laugh.

The house went wild when Andrea was handed his flute for "Melodramma," and after that it was pandemonium when the piano was rolled out for "My Way." The audience could not stop themselves from applauding after every stanza, applauding in agreement to the lyrics that apply to Andrea so perfectly. I don't think Andrea will ever be able to sing this song straight through without such a reaction from the audience, and it's because when he sings this song, you can hear him personalize it and apply it to himself. He is really singing this song about his own life, and he lets you know that as he sings it.

The jumbo screen is huge! And the beautiful photos of roses and Andrea are wonderful. The program and song titles are flashed on the screen in beautiful settings before the songs begin. And the camera action was great, fading in and out, catching the expression of the musicians as they played their hearts out, and Andrea's passions and emotions as he sang. We saw Steven's back towards the audience, and all you had to do was look up at the screen to see the view the musicians had of him, that strong, determined face and that baton pointing at them...at you, it seemed...as he conducted! This is a wonderful feature that he has brought to this concert. It was like watching a TV production on PBS! Very professionally done. No shaky camera images or angles. Each camera angle flowed gracefully from one into the other.

This "Sentimento" tour is not just a classical concert. It is a Broadway production! It's beautiful, it's romantic and sensual, and Andrea is at his very best. He is at his peak musically, physically and emotionally. You can hear it in every note, see it in his stance. He is the maestro, and we are the grateful recipients of this beautiful gift he gives to us all with so much love. It was a memorable night!
- Nilsa Pagan/"Piccina"
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