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I made a youtube comment on Andrea Bocelli's inability to sing Nessun Dorma and received a rebuke.

The following is the conversation that ensued. The syntax is quirky because of the limited number of characters for youtube comments.

Original comment:

"No one will ever take Pavarotti's place, but you people forget that it was Pavarotti himself who gave Bocelli wings to fly....so when you insult Bocelli, you're actually insulting Pavarotti, by saying he had bad taste?! think about that..... Bocelli never indicated that he was trying to outdo Pavarotti, he is a great tenor in his own right, in his his own style. How else would you explain why he's world-famous?"

My comment:

"Bocelli is popular because very few people understand what makes good singing. If you listen closely, he is flat on the top notes and they are also sung in complete head voice (falsetto). The money note at the end is pinched and unexciting. If you want to hear this aria sung properly, forget Pavarotti as well and listen to Franco Corelli, Franco Bonisolli, or Mario del Monaco. Those were appropriate voices for this aria. Enjoy!"

Another person comments on my comment:

"So you are judging this with a "professional ear". You know how cynical that sounds right? To diminish some one's talent because there is someone "better". You may know about sounds and tones, but you don't know about art O.o"

My comment back as I removed my gloves:

"Bocelli is a joke to anyone who knows anything about the ART of singing. He's a POP singer. His Nessun Dorma lacks the required emotions. Do you know what the aria is about? If you don't, how do you know he's singing it artistically? If you do know then shame on you for thinking he does a good job. I don't know about art?Art is the combination of technique and emotional intelligence. He has neither. He's a pop artist. NO OPERA unless he's doing it for free. If he's going to sing opera then he must sing in tune. He's flat & If he's going to sing opera he can't sing falsetto As a pop singer he's great.Once he starts singing opera it's a different STANDARD-nothing to do with artistry. If you hear a pop singer has opera training, the rest of the story is that they're not good enough to actually sing opera.He's not good enough to sing opera & should leave it ARTISTS who can sing it. His singing is pretty but static & void of artistry."

Same person replies:

"So you measure the beauty of art with charts, facts and definitions... You may be right, I don't know [poop] about arias compared to others, but that doesn't mean I will go diminish someone's performance because "as the stats say, he is just a pop singer"(how discriminative that sounds) Art, for me at least, is not something you can measure. You may be right about him "not being all professional" like others, but again, for me (don't take it personally) that just sounds awfully cynical."

I respond:

"With singing, the notes are what they are. As with dancing, technique is a big factor. If a dancer lacks physical ability, it doesn't matter how artistic they are. They must be able to perform the steps. Same with singing opera, if the singer lacks the physical ability to sing the notes in tune and deliver the text with emotional intention then it doesn't matter how "artistic" they are. He has no connection to the text and that's the foundation of artistic singing."

A few others jumped in but they're not worth mentioning here.

The bottom line for me is that while people love Bocelli, he is not an opera singer.

Having an Italian name and singing in Italian does not make one an opera singer.

Promoters and recording companies have made money by marketing him as an opera singer but he doesn't have the voice.

The songs that have been written for his voice are fantastic.

If you listen to him closely, there is a vacuity of emotion in his singing and that's not operatic.

To emphasize the difference, I've included a link to an 80 year old sining Nessun Dorma.

The sound quality it terrible but the emotion is off the charts and at 80, his intonation is better than Bocelli.

Here's the link:



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dmopbuff Dec. 14, 2010 @ 1:21 p.m.

I have always thought that Boccelli had a beautiful voice, but I agree he is not an opera singer and Nessun dorma clearly overtaxes his voice. In the old days, he would have been an excellent radio tenor.


arpeggio Dec. 15, 2010 @ 7:35 p.m.

Thank you for your comments on Bocelli. I'm much afraid that anyone who says on YouTube that Mr. Bocelli isn't a real opera singer, no matter how politely it's said, will be eaten up, spat out, and trampled to a pulp. Alas.


nan shartel Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:15 p.m.

u of course r right as rain Garrett!!!

but i like him as a lovely classical singer in general.....his voice is full enough... however i think that it is electronically volumized in all his singing...he hasn't done the serious breathwork training to sing opera...perhaps if he hadn't been blind and started voice training at a younger age he may have surprised us with his interpretation

but then he would never have had a career in opera as a blind man

this U Tube video of his shows the loveliness of his voice...his sweetened tremors go far to capture the ear


nan shartel Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:23 p.m.

i don't hear the open rounded tones in Giacomo's rendition...nor does it have that expansive feel that Andrea's has...it sounds flat to me...however that he could sing like that at 80 is indeed an exemplary feat!!! ;-D

and by the thunderous applause he was seemingly very well received

perdonimi il tenore per il mio parere....hahahaha

soltanto potete realmente giudicare queste cose


Tizoboz Dec. 17, 2010 @ 6:34 a.m.

I understand that as an writter, your job is to write what ever it comes to your mind to fill the blog section. But to criticize someone's talent is so sad. If Andrea Bocelli was not a good opera singer, he would not be able to sing with Pavarotti and other famous toners, and sell millions of CD's and give 100's of concerts! If you like to critic, let's compare your writing to some other famous journalist and let see what peoples would say about your work! The day you took the mike and went on stage and sing Opera in front of thousands of people, that day my friend, you have the right to criticize Andrea Bocelli's voice!!!!


Garrett Harris Dec. 17, 2010 @ 5:20 p.m.

Tizoboz you're argument is full of fallacies. Please review the following website and refine your comment.


I assume you have criticized The President of the United States at some point. Based on your reasoning, until you hold the office of president you must be quiet.

The issue is not about my writing compared to others but I'm confident I can hold my own with other music bloggers.

No one EVER takes the mic to sing opera. There are no microphones in opera. None. It is not part of the art form.


nan shartel Dec. 17, 2010 @ 6:10 p.m.


Garrett does sing Opera...and has a long term personal familiarity with it's form

and from his comment back to u he's got quite a operatic nature as well ..in pieno di passione...hahahahahaha

the blog is interesting because he speaks frankly from his own well tuned musical base....he speaks his mind adroitly and offers one the right to comment back in kind

would u have it any differently??? ;-D


Garrett Harris Dec. 18, 2010 @ 12:56 a.m.

Nan, regarding Lauri-Volpi. You're right about him sounding flat. I'm attributing a lot of that to the recording being made in Barcelona in 1972. Who knows what they used to record it. However, he could just be flat at times.

Lauri-Volpi's voice was described as being built for the theater and having a tremendous amount of squillo. Squillo basically means the ability to cut through an orchestra and be heard in the back row. A voice like that never records well. The equipment doesn't know how to handle it. The roundness in his voice was created by the acoustic of the theater.

What isn't flat is his understanding of what he's singing.

It's amazing how many people claim they don't care what this aria is about, they just love the music.

If you love something you want to know what it's about! I think this is my chief criticism of Bocelli. He doesn't give any indication that he's connected to the text. Maybe he is connected and I just don't perceive it.

If a singer isn't connected to the text they're singing, how are they going to connect with an audience?

Bocelli's voice is sweet and pretty. Doris Day was sweet and pretty but I'm more of a Lauren Bacall fan, if you know what I mean. I want a little danger with my singing.


nan shartel Dec. 18, 2010 @ 2:15 p.m.

danger is my stock and trade Garrett...and thx for ur explanations of various kinds of technical criteria most of us aren't aware of

hey back to rehearsal at SD Opera eh!!

happiness is a supple throat and fierce diaphragm!

...have fun in this new season ;=D

oh btb..."u know how to whistle don't ya Steve"....hahahahahahaha...and here's lookin' at u kid


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