CULTURE

Children with cancer receive tenor’s support

World-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, the blind, Tuscany-born vocalist who emerged as one of the most exciting voices in contemporary opera in the early 1990s, will be in Athens for a fund-raising concert at the Herod Atticus Theater this coming Monday in support of the local Elpida Foundation for Children with Cancer. On the night, Bocelli, backed by the State Radio and Television’s (ERT) Symphonic Orchestra, with be joined by regular collaborators Marcello Rota on the podium, violin soloist Ruth Rodgers, and soprano Maria Luigia Borsi. The repertoire will include excerpts of works by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Tosti, Lehar, Leoncavallo, and Mascanni. Bocelli, who grew up on a farm in Lajatico, a village in Tuscany, entered the world of music when he started piano lessons at the age of 6. Later, he also studied the flute and saxophone. The tenor was born with poor eyesight and became totally blind at the age of 12 following an accident playing soccer. Though his musical talent was obvious from an early age, Bocelli pursued advanced studies in law before eventually turning to music. He studied law at the University of Pisa and had earned a doctor of law degree before feeling inspired to study music with the renowned tenor Franco Gorelli. His big break came in 1992 when Bocelli recorded with Pavarotti, one of his main mentors. Bocelli’s career has been somewhat controversial for purists. After focusing his efforts on the classical music field for his first three records, the tenor turned to pop music for his fourth release, «Romanza,» in 1997. Bocelli maintained his career’s pop-oriented direction for his fifth album, «Sogno,» released two years later. The album, which eventually sold over 10 million copies, included a duet with Celine Dion. This latest prestigious fund-raising event by Elpida, which is headed by Marianna Vardinoyianni, also a goodwill ambassador at UNESCO, follows a successful effort last summer featuring the Bejart Ballet of Lausanne, whose celebrated choreographer Maurice Bejart presented work inspired by the music of the late Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis. Two summers ago, Elpida booked the French electronic music composer Jean Michel Jarre, who wrote music especially for his performance in Athens. Tickets for the show, priced at 500, 200, and 60 euros, are available at the Hellenic Festival’s box office (39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.322.1459), the Herod Atticus Theater (tel 210.323.2771 and 210.323.5582), and the Elpida Foundation (tel 210.795.7153), or via credit card bookings (210.322.1459).