Feature: Saudi debut of Italian legendary tenor holds audience spellbound

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-02 21:58:08|Editor: xuxin
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RIYADH, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- "If there is any divine singing voice, it must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli," Celine Dione, a Canadian female singer with worldwide fame, once commented on the Italian legendary opera singer.

And this phenomenal musician made his debut in Saudi Arabia on Friday night, holding a houseful of audience spellbound.

"There couldn't be a better thing to befit the breathtaking surroundings of Al-Ula," said Mohammed Al Usman, a member of the audience, said of the concert held at the Saudi most coveted UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Italian tenor, known for his niche style of blending classical opera and modern pop, delivered one song after the other, receiving standing ovations from the crowd.

"I am pleased with the wonderful audience here," said Bocelli, complimenting the audience that frequently erupted into loud applause.

Toward the end of the concert, he appeared on stage wearing a ghutra, a traditional Saudi men's headdress, making a profound statement through gestures that immediately struck a chord with the audience.

"The response from the Saudi audience drove home the point that the language of music is universal," said Veronica Berti, Bocelli's wife.

"This is the kind of music Andrea is proud of. He spreads his messages through his songs. This is what he does all over the world," she added.

Jack Lang, a former French minister of culture, said the concert could launch "a cultural dialogue between the West and Saudi Arabia."

"They will also inspire a lot of young budding musicians here eager to perform on stage, " added Lang, who is currently president of Arab World Institute in Paris, one of the world's foremost museums of Arab art and culture.

Bocelli's concert is part of the Winter at Tantora, an ongoing cultural festival in Al-Ula, a city in northwestern Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to run until Feb. 23.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been trying to preserve and reinvigorate Al-Ula into a beacon for Arab tourism, where local and international visitors could experience Saudi Arabia's unique culture.