July 25, 2010
Teatro del Silenzio, Lajatico, Italy
German poem and 2 English reports
Ich wollte bleiben und nicht geh`n
ich wollte schauen und alles versteh`n,
doch es konnte nicht sein, zu vieles
wartet daheim!
So werden sie sein in meinen Träumen-
die Hügel der Toskana mit ihren Gütern und Bäumen
und über allem die Stimme von Andrea Bocelli.
Wir werden sie hören an anderen Orten dieser Welt
wo auch immer sie unser Herz erhellt
es wird nirgends so sein wie im
Teatro del Silenzio-
in den Hügeln der Toskana, in Lajatico.

by Margrit Tischer

please read also Jesika's "Bocelli Experience in Tuscany" (with real fun photos)


The Final Magic: Teatro del Silenzio, 2010
In la bella Italia, there is music everywhere—in the lilt of the language, from the tolling bells of the church towers and the chatter of the birds, in the wind that sings through the boughs of the signature pines and stately cypress trees that delineate this landscape, and from the musicians who play in the narrow streets and piazzas for a few coins. On this trip, we had heard the music of the masters in famous places like La Scala and in simple outdoor concerts of a summer evening lit by candlelight in the old squares of small hill towns. But in the end, the only place for music that we really wanted to be was anywhere Andrea would be singing it… this time, for the last time at the Teatro del Silenzio, the enchanted hillside where the singular sound of his voice caresses the landscape of his beloved paese.
The Theme
Every year the first glimpse of the theater’s central sculpture that embodies the concert’s theme is eagerly awaited. This year, Swiss artist Kurt Laurenz Metzler, created the stunning monumental sculpture of the modernistic star as well as the metallic human figures in bright crayola colors that peopled the stone walls of Teatro del Silenzio and also graced the rooftops and piazza in Lajatico.
The star, dominating the area behind the stage, was a dramatic backdrop for each musical offering, changing color with the lighting to establish and underscore the appropriate mood, for example, shifting from deep violet to turquoise for Tosca, pink to fuchsia for the Ave Maria, vivid yellow and orange hues for the dramatic music of Norma and Carmen, stark white for the “Esultate” from Verdi’s Otello, and scintillating with multicolored dancing lights for the effervescent waltz from Gounod’s Faust.
Lights have always played an important role in these concerts as a counterpoint to the dramatic darkness that envelops the theater once the sun has set. But it would be difficult to outdo the evening’s most dramatic natural effect for this final concert—the full moon that emerged on cue from the clouds on the horizon and bathed the stage in its luminescence in a bright arch from left to right throughout the course of both evenings. Paired with the night glow of the distant medieval hilltop city of Volterra, the impression was incomparable.
Sunday Concert
Although the concert was scheduled for 9:00 pm, the theater opened early and people had begun the long and somewhat arduous task of reaching the hilltop hours before. Once the summit is achieved, the view is peerless. In the twilight, a dollop of white clouds floats above the horizon of the distant rolling hills. The earlier threat of rain had passed. Now the creams and golds and muted greens of the hillsides were burnished in the final rays of the setting sun, the aching beauty of the spectacle is soul-piercing. Clusters of people stand here and there entranced by the distant views of the hills and follow with their gaze the long, snaking lines of cars that still moved slowly toward this mecca. The journey here is something of a quest, a pilgrimage to experience the singular fusion of the heart and soul and land of the one we have all come to hear. But it is no easy task, fraught with choking dust, the treachery of loose gravel underfoot, and steep inclines.
As the evening deepens, the clouds above the graying hills are tipped with the luminescence of the sun’s final rays and sculpted into relief by the darker shades of evening shadow. To the west are wisps of mare’s tails in the darkening sky. The increasing chill of the breeze steadily coaxes out the fancy evening wraps and contributes to a brisk sale of the black blankets with white print proclaiming Teatro del Silenzio. People sip wine, from the vineyards of the surrounding hills. The languages of many lands fill the evening air. Seated beside us is a couple from Slovenia, and another from Korea. In front, there are two couples from Brazil. Gradually, everyone begins to take their seats, smiling and happy in anticipation.
When the appointed moment arrives, a long celebratory pealing of bells, at once joyous and reverent, calls us to attention. The call of the bells to gather is a hallmark of Andrea’s concerts here, and fittingly marks the beginning of the evening’s entertainment. The audience is hushed. Then, in the expectant silence, the actor Andrea Giuntini takes the stage and recites the poem of Dino Carlesi that evokes the intense connection between the basic elements of the earth and mankind. Here is a bit of it (loosely translated).
We tread the Earth,
Breathe the Air,
Taste the Water’s freshness,
Burn ourselves with Fire,
In the Air, our words resound, the stars shine
In the Air, sounds are born and die…
The Earth is within man,
here he is born, here he lives, here he dies;
he lives festivity and sorrow,
he sends out his songs, commits sin, creates culture, traditions, and History.
The Earth is scent and memory.
I am earth
and carry it within
like a soul….
The Program
Befitting this year’s theme, Stelle, Andrea chose the brightest stars from the firmament of the operatic repertoire, several performed by him for the first time—and he was in heavenly voice from start to finish. As a whole, the chosen pieces united and underscored all the important themes emphasized through the five years of the concerts here at the Teatro del Silenzio: love, passion, exultation, exuberance, yearning, faith, hope, defiance, courage, humanity, fidelity to the land.
From the concert’s first moment, Maestro Eugene Kohn established a presence, taking the stage with an energetic step, giving a confident and gracious nod of thanks for the audience recognition, and thoughtfully acknowledging the concert master and second violinist with a considerate handshake before taking the podium. At the prova generale the day before, he had proven himself a patient but firm guardian of the classical repertoire, detecting small imperfections and calling for repetition and review of difficult or still rough passages. In one case, he eventually rejected the piece from Verdi’s Otello because the chorus simply did not have the rehearsal time needed to manage the difficult timing. It was a sad loss because Andrea sings the “Esultate” with flair and firmness, and it showcases his vocal control.
The first notes of the evening were from the brisk march, “Marcia ungherese,” of Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, which was paired with the exciting appearance of the beautifully matched Friesian horses adorned with red ribbons and smart white-clad riders performing movements in time to the musical cadence on the circular track behind the stage. If you look up the characteristics of this breed that Andrea has recently fallen in love with, you might find this typical description: “A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry itself with elegance.” Does that bring to mind anyone else you know? Evidently, it was a match made in heaven. Andrea’s own stallion Tieske and others he owns were among the powerfully muscled black beauties with thick mane and tail and “feathered” lower legs that provided such an impressively graceful accompaniment to the evening’s entertainment.
Andrea’s first entry onstage brought a wave of delighted response and a slight gasp from the audience, so handsome was he in his impeccably tailored, three-piece, dark-gray suit tailored by Corneliani. Bello boy!! Without hesitation, he began the striking aria from Bellini’s Norma, “Meco all’altar di Venere,” shaping it with dramatic color—a plaintive cry in the word “pianto” and the sound of dark foreboding for “orrore.” It was grand to hear the triumph of opera in his voice again—this is where he shines. This is his glory.
For me, there is no more ravishingly beautiful duet in the whole lexicon of operatic gems than the one from Act 1 of Puccini’s Tosca. The spell is instantly cast, with Andrea’s heart-melting portamento on the first lush notes of “Son qui.” The entire musical dialogue makes me limp with its entrancing beauty, and I was not alone—it brought the house down. Andrea was tenderly responsive in gesture and demeanor to his partner. It was difficult to ignore the handsome dark tan of his strong hands placed gently on the pale white arm of the lovely soprano Nadia Vezzù, clad in a striking red gown.
A lighter moment followed these two serious opera offerings. Désirée Rancatore, who had appeared previously with Andrea at Taormina, took the stage in the charming costume of the mechanical doll Olympia, to present the aria “Les Oiseaux” from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann. This piece is a tour de force of vocal control and acting, imitating the doll’s mechanical gestures both physically and vocally and convincingly achieving the effect of the toy’s winding down and restarting. Désirée seems to be a natural comedian, and Eugene Kohn revealed his playful nature interacting from the podium with her little quirky gestures and winding her up with a gigantic key when she needed recharging. It was all brilliantly done, and Désirée produced notes I didn’t know existed. She earned every minute of the extended applause she received.
In his concert repertoire, Andrea rarely fails to pay tribute to his frequently expressed devotion to the Virgin Mary, most often favoring Schubert’s Ave Maria sung in Italian. The straightforward beauty of his voice and his ardent faith infuses this compelling melody with a plaintive intensity that is at once gently touching and emotionally charged. Anna Tifu’s simple violin accompaniment was the perfect setting, and the dancer Giuseppe Picone lent his ballet accompaniment.
Next came the moment when José Carreras took the stage for the first time, introduced by Andrea with obvious pride. Long and affectionate applause greeted this operatic legend. At an earlier press conference, Carreras had referred to the Teatro as “a splendid place” and acknowledged that “to be here with Andrea Bocelli, of whom I am a great friend, is a great satisfaction for me.” He looked trim and fit in a dark suit and his voice was strong as he sang Valente’s “Passione,” famous in the repertoire and sung by such greats as Gigli and del Monaco, and more recently Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Carreras’s dramatic and rather theatrical style suited him as naturally as does Andrea’s more serene and inwardly contemplative onstage presence. There was extended applause from the audience that clearly had looked forward to this highlight of the evening.
Next Andrea returned for “Di Quella Pira,” the studly aria from Verdi’s Il Trovatore! Firmly, confidently, Andrea manages it as he might master a proud and headstrong stallion. Tonight a beeeeeg smile indicated his satisfaction with the ringing climactic high C that he achieved with deceptive ease. What a thrill to have it wash over us with the cool breeze of the night air.
Immediately this passionate spell was expanded as Andrea was joined by Vezzù for the climactic denouement of the first half of the concert, “Vicino a te” from Giordano’s Andrea Chénier. In Bocelli lore, this opera is known as the earliest inspiration of Andrea’s childhood, and this is as emotionally stirring as a duet can be, with cascades of melting melody from tenor and soprano, one echoing the other. Tonight there was a stunning surprise. On cue, at the fever pitch of the lovers’ final blended notes of utter triumph in the face of death, a fleet of miniature floating lanterns was released into the night sky. It was a breathtaking moment of unexpected enchantment. We watched entranced as each flickering sphere rose higher and higher and finally winked out one by one in the inky blackness. It was almost as if the spirits, past and present, of the Teatro itself were ascending into infinity.
After the intermission, Anna Tifu, the slender and dynamic young violin virtuoso from Cagliari, electrified the audience with her solo rendition of Bizet’s “Carmen Fantasy.” This was followed by the orchestral rendition of the joyously effervescent waltz from Gounod’s Faust. The second act duet from Faust, “Il se fait tard,” reunited Andrea and Naddia Vezzù. Again, Andrea imbued the aria of pleading between the two lovers, Marguerite and Faust, with plaintive, tender emotion, intense and heartfelt.
For this second half of the concert, Andrea had donned a three-piece summer-white suit with the most elegant brocaded vest I have ever seen. Honestly, tanned and handsome, his gleaming presence easily eclipsed the evening’s moon.
The sultry strains of “Aranjuez” came next. This mesmerizing melody provides an ideal opportunity to simply drink in the soulful beauty of this man as he weaves a vocal spell that is irresistibly romantic. The tenor has his way with the final note, building a controlled crescendo from low to high volume that sends chills up the spine!
Carreras followed with the romantic “Pel teu amor” (“For your love”) by Ribas, an early 20th century classical Catalan composer. “With the light of your glance, you have filled my life.” This man is so impressive to be singing as strongly as he does at this point in his long career. What a privilege to be in his presence and share Andrea’s pleasure in presenting him to us!
At this point, Andrea offered a special personal poem dedicated to Lajatico and the Teatro del Silenzio. Giuntini returned to recite it, accompanied by Andrea at the piano, who softly played “Melodramma.” Sadly, it was somewhat beyond my Italian capability to translate adequately in the few moments it was available onscreen. But hopefully it will find its way somehow to the Internet so that all can share.
Now with a shift to the realm of popular music, Andrea introduced his friend Zucchero to a crowd that roared its delight at his first appearance, emphasizing the fact that he owed this man a great deal. As much as “Con te partiro,” it was their collaboration on “Miserere” on tour in 1993 that helped to launch Andrea’s career. But it was with “Diamante,” another of the bluesman’s recognizable hits, that he opened his set, while Andrea, looking happy as a clam and very much at home, played back-up for the long-haired soul singer, who was clad in his characteristic Sgt. Pepper-like braided jacket. With a parting and clearly affectionate embrace, Andrea left the stage to Zucchero for “Nel cosi’ blue.
When Zucchero finished, to enthusiastic applause, there was a decided change of mood with the offering of the four young sopranos known as Div4s (“quattro dive”), who blend in close harmony to achieve a kind of feminine operatic-pop offering similar to that of Il Divo. Clad in identical, close-fitted flashy gowns, they sang “Nella Fantasia,” an Italian song based on Ennio Morricone’s theme “Gabriele’s Oboe” from The Mission, and were accompanied by the graceful balletic interpretation of Anna Manes and Francesco Annarumma. The lyrics of “Nella Fantasia” are suited to themes close to Andrea’s heart and this enchanted evening: “In my imagination I see a bright world, Even the night is less dark there. I dream of souls that are always free, Like clouds that fly.”
With the moon now high over their shoulders, Andrea and Zucchero strolled comfortably arm-in-arm back to the stage for a truly special moment of the evening. “Miserere” is a repository of Bocelliana. Momentarily, I flashed back to the image of these two in concert at Pisa’s Piazza dei Cavalieri when they recorded that historic “Night in Tuscany,” my first encounter with the Tuscan tenor who has made such an impression on my life. Most certainly I was not alone in this flashback experience. The blend of the two distinct vocal types, Andrea’s soaring tenor and Zucchero’s coarse-spun baritone, satisfies like the combination of vinegar and oil…only the best balsamic of Modena and a rich extra-virgin olio d’oliva of the first pressing, of course. Hearing, for the first time, this iconic melody live from these two masters of their trade was a moment of purest magic!! When they had finished, to another resounding wave of applause, it was sweet to see them leave together, two old friends each with their arm around the other.
The rousing “Libiamo, traditionally the way to end an evening of classical music, brought all of the performers onstage together. Andrea extended final thanks to the orchestra, the divas, Maestro Kohn, the wonderfully graceful dancers and his two major stars. But the audience had other thoughts. We begged with applause and lured Andrea and Carreras out again for a wistfully beautiful duet of “Non ti scordar’ di me.”
When Andrea returned for the next encore, it was to sing “Melodramma,” his anthem of love to the land. If there is one song in Andrea’s popular repertoire that is intrinsically linked with the landscape and soul of this place that dominates the undulating countryside, it is “Melodramma,” and he never fails to endow it with his most heartfelt emotion. This evening was no exception. I couldn’t help but wonder what thoughts might be going through his mind knowing this would be the last time his voice would ring out here over these Tuscan hills.
Then the familiar strains of the song most of the audience knew was inevitable resounded into the night. “Con te partiro.” We could sing it in our sleep, and many did accompany Andrea in this emblematic song of his career…one final time here at Teatro del Silenzio. Even then we couldn’t let him go.
Only one song remained to make a perfect constellation on this enchanted Tuscan evening. When the planets are aligned just so, and Euterpe the muse of music smiles on us, and our tenore is feeling his operatic oats, we are sometimes granted the benediction of his interpretation of the great “Nessun Dorma.” If ever there was a night that offered the perfect setting for the climactic “vincero,” it was this final farewell to the Teatro del Silenzio. Yet, our hope dimmed once the usually definitive closure of “Con te partiro” had been sung. Nevertheless, the continued and undaunted applause drew Andrea back to us. Then, the unmistakable opening notes of Puccini’s transcendent aria filled the night. It was brilliant! Delirious with joy, I realized that no longer would my dear friend Carolyn—loyal fan of long standing—be the only human being on earth who had not received Andrea’s precious gift of this vocal treasure. And fitting it was, indeed, that the final word and ultimate note of the last edition of this limited edition set of enchanting concerts should be Andrea’s gloriously confident “vincero”!!
Before he even closed his mouth, a virtual blizzard of celebratory golden confetti was blasted from the sides of the stage, all but obscuring Andrea. Then the entire cast had their final bows together. A lovely Veronica, clad in a gown of sunflower yellow that was short in front and gracefully trailed to an elegantly longer length behind, lovingly presented Andrea with a congratulatory bouquet and kisses of shared triumph. For a long time, the standing ovation rang into the night, but finally, it truly was time to say good-bye.
The Morning After
On Monday morning, the papers were filled with variations on the same headline—“The Last Magic of Bocelli” “Bocelli, the last concert ‘in casa’” “Bocelli, the final magic in the Teatro del Silenzio” “With Carreras and Zucchero I closed my theater” “After five editions, the event that made the Alta Valdera known to the world is filed in the archives” “An unprecedented trio closed the structure, Goodbye to Teatro del Silenzio: Bocelli, Carreras, and Zucchero” “A delirious Lajatico bows to its Bocelli” “Silenzio, it is Bocelli who lights up the magic of the starry night” “Bocelli closes his theater, ‘It was a magnificent binge’”
At a press conference the day before the concert, Andrea had commented extensively on this final episode of an extraordinary happening (Il Tirreno):
“Beautiful things must have a beginning and an end. For this reason, this year’s edition of the Teatro del Silenzio will be the last…The Teatro del Silenzio was born to last for five editions and we want to adhere to this concept. To continue would mean that a level of quality should be maintained that would be difficult to manage each time. We would like to leave a beautiful memory for those who have been present at these five editions.” He commented that the teatro was a “magic place that will now be restored to the countryside.” He went on, “I know that this event offers a particular fascination. It springs from the classical values of singing, but also represents a sign of the times. Today, making music is not only done in so-called normal theaters but also where one can achieve a special magic. And it is this that has captivated people.” Referring to a higher purpose of the teatro, Andrea said he wanted to “offer to my compatriots the opportunity to have contact with different cultures and languages. Only in this way can world collaboration, of which there is such a great need, be achieved.”
This Andrea undoubtedly accomplished. This year, from all over Europe, the United States, and other continents, 10,000 spectators (nearly ten times the population of little Lajatico) made their way to the hilltop teatro.
Theater of Silence
From its inception, the Teatro del Silenzio has represented many things—Andrea’s deep roots in la terra, the Tuscan fields of his birthplace; the reciprocal love and support of the people who have watched him grow, not only from a small boy to manhood, but from an unknown man with a dream to one who reached the heights of celebrity. Though he may be in constant voyage around the world, in Lajatico, for Andrea, everything is different. Here he is a casa—the small curving streets and tiny piazzas he has walked in from childhood are filled with friends, young and old, who know him.
The concert at Teatro del Silenzio cannot be repeated elsewhere. It is fused to this place and the short round of time that breaks the silence once only in the earth’s slow course around the sun for a few magical hours, sunset to moonrise, and toward the infinite darkness of mezzanotte. It is here that Andrea Bocelli is il Padrone, here where all that formed his soul and heart blends uniquely with the voice born of his alliance with the land and its people. This place is the source of his being—this exquisite beauty, this singular tranquility, this rich culture have nurtured and formed the basis of his vocal expression, unique in its own beauty, tranquility, and richness.
Andrea said, “The things that leave a mark are those that finish in glory. For me, this was a magnificent binge.”
In the blackness on Sunday, leaving the theater, one star, brighter than the rest, hung over the dark silhouettes of the Tuscan hills…addio, stella, now the guardian of the memories we carry home from this beloved land of Andrea. The spirits of the music, of the land, and of the man that were born of this glorious experiment are locked away within our being. Il silenzio remains.
We wait to see what the sunrise will bring.
by Cami McNamee


Michael and I travelled from Melbourne Australia especially to attend the Concert.   We enjoyed an

11 day Trafalgar Tour of Italy in early July then 5 days at Ponsacco at a Tuscan Villa from where
we would attend the Concert a little later in July.
We were excited when the day of the 25th July finally came!
We were picked up in a Coach at our Villa to be taken to Teatro del Silenzio.
Amazingly a thunderstorm erupted during our journey and we all feared the concert would be cancelled.   Rain pelted down with dark clouds etc. but fortunately the weather settled by the start of the Concert, which had a lat start due to the stage having to be cleaned up after the rain.
Gina Lollobrigida the famous actress was seated in the  seats on the side of the stage - apparently she isa great fan of Andrea Bocelli (like us all).
Andrea Bocelli finally appeared on stage greeted by a huge applause as you can imagine.
Our seats were just six rows from the front of the stage - we could almost reach out and touch him!!
Andrea was dressed in a navy jacket and trousers with navy brocade vest and bow-tie (later in the Concert he changed into a white outfit looking very handsome) Forgot to mention Andrea's mother was seated near us.
The Concert was mostly Operatic and Classical nature - very different to his Concerts directed by David Foster, so it was a surprise to us as we had expected a familiar content.
Andrea performed several Operatic songs accompanied by Desiree Rancatoe, Nadia Vezzu, Violinist
Anna Tifu, Jose Carreras, 4 Sopranos Divas, Ballet performers male and female (very acrobatic)
Zucchero Fornaciari.
Andrea Bocelli finished a superb Concert performance with two popular songs which we all loved hearing.
Flowers were presented to Andrea Bocelli and the other Artists who had performed.
Colourful streamers etc burst about the Performers and the superb Orchestra.
Encores were called with several more songs by Andrea Bocelli.
Our much-looked forward to Concert was now at an end but memories will linger on always.
The Program we received was printed in Italian so I could not read it but the Photograph Album I received
- given to seat holders in the Executive Section where we were - was indeed a lovely keepsake.
by  Shirley Vaughan - Australia



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