The Italian Almanac

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Andrea Bocelli

A Passion for Duets

The latest album from Italy's Andrea Bocelli, "Passion", is scheduled for release, featuring duets with such pop stars as Jennifer Lopez and Canadian Nelly Furtado. The album boasts 18 tracks, including an unusual virtual duet with late French chanteuse Edith Piaf. Bocelli and friends sing in at least five different languages on the album - Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese - as well as the Neapolitan dialect.

Bocelli joins once more with producer David Foster in creating an album that makes the singer reminiscent of his early days as a performer. The Tuscan tenor said that he aims to "set hearts aflutter again with this album of romantic classics inspired by my early days, singing requests in bars". Music critics say the track with Piaf could be the highlight of the album, as Bocelli sings with the Little Sparrow, who died in 1963, in her signature La Vie en Rose.

Bocelli is an iconic figure in music with a myriad of breathtaking career achievements to his name. The Italian tenor is the most successful classical solo artist ever and one of the best-selling artists in music history with more than 80 million albums sold worldwide. He is also credited with enabling the core classical repertoire to cross over and find a home atop the international pop charts, creating a new genre of music along the way. He has performed for four US presidents, two popes, and the British royal family, as well as at ceremonies for the Olympic Games and the World Cup.

Bocelli has been praised by such luminaries as the late super-tenor Luciano Pavarotti, fellow member of the Three Tenors Jose Carreras, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Renee Fleming and Celine Dion - as well as his own first teacher and guide, Franco Corelli.