Andrea Bocelli on the Coronation Concert, King Charles's song request and meeting the Queen
The Italian tenor spoke to Radio Times ahead of King Charles III's Coronation Concert.
Andrea Bocelli has played at concert halls all over the world, from Milan's Piazza del Duomo to Shanghai Stadium, and next on his list is Windsor Castle, where he'll be performing at King Charles III's Coronation Concert this weekend.
Joining the likes of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Ncuti Gatwa the day after King Charles is officially crowned, the Italian singer is taking to the palace stage for a duet with Sir Bryn Terfel, having previously performed at the late Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.
Ahead of the big concert, Bocelli spoke to Radio Times magazine in an exclusive interview on how gave an "immediate" yes to performing at the coronation, how King Charles III requested his particular song, and what the event means to him.
1. You’re performing at the Coronation Concert – was it an immediate yes to the invite?
"Yes, it was an immediate and definite 'Yes!' Good music boosts the spirit and nurtures beauty. If I'm asked to come and sing at a ceremony that may be heard around the world, my answer is 'Of course'."
2. You’ve teased a duet of You’ll Never Walk Alone – why that choice of song?
"King Charles III specifically requested that particular piece and in my humble opinion, it's a piece with a remarkable evocative power that can warm the heart.
"It's a kind of declaration of love and collective solidarity, of togetherness through dark moments. It's no coincidence that I chose to include that on my album Believe in 2020. For the coronation, I'm going to be singing it in a duet with a dear friend and amazing colleague, Bryn Terfel, who I shared the stage with at Central Park in 2012."
3. You called this opportunity an “inestimable privilege”– what does the coronation mean to you?
"I believe that for a singer to be invited to contribute with their voice at an occasion like this is a privilege, an honour, and above all a token of esteem and affection."
4. Have you met the King? Do you have any reflections to share?
"The last time I sang in his presence was in November, at the Royal Albert Hall. I have met him several times, along with the Queen Consort, although only briefly and at formal occasions. He has always been friendly and affable towards me, as well as being genuinely interested in music.
As for becoming King, I think he has had all the time he needs to make it a really good experience, having been at the side of a great and particularly long-lived sovereign."
5. You performed for Queen Elizabeth II several times – did you meet her? Any recollections?
"It has always evoked great emotion in me, over the years, when I have had the chance to perform in front of someone so crucial to the 20th century and to the new millennium. She was a queen of great moderation and charismatic energy. I was really struck, at her Platinum Jubilee, to see how deeply she was loved by her people.
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"I also remember a song and piano recital that I gave at Buckingham Palace, with Queen Elizabeth II sitting listening to me, just two or three metres away. As I have often said, when I shook hands with her, my main worry, perhaps a childish one but genuine nevertheless, was not to do so too vigorously, not to grip her hand too forcefully!"
6. What do you hope your music conveys as Charles ascends the throne?
"Music is a universal language: it can be therapeutic and it can foster trust in our fellow human beings and a precious inclination towards positivity. Above all, good music is a powerful instrument of peace. I hope that that is how my voice will be heard and felt. As I never tire of repeating, art is art if it leads to good, and every conflict is always the opposite of art."
7. You blew everyone away with your rendition of Nessun Dorma at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – how different does the coronation event feel?
"From my point of view, as regards my feelings about the event, I will be able to answer that better after 7th May. It's true that the Jubilee consecrated and celebrated a target that had already been achieved: there was a palpable festive atmosphere and you could feel the reverberations of it backstage at the concert, too.
"Now we're celebrating a new page of history and a new beginning."
The King's coronation will take place on Saturday 6th May, with the Coronation Concert airing on Sunday 7th May. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.