King for a Day - Overture Giuseppe Verdi
The world's most popular living tenor, a best-selling crossover artist, a producer of fine wines... Andrea Bocelli is all these things and more! Discover more with our fact gallery.
Andrea Angel Bocelli was born on September 22nd, 1958, in the small village of La Stera in Tuscany.
Despite always having problems with his eyes and being diagnosed with glaucoma early on, tragically, Andrea lost his sight after a football accident when he was just 12.
Despite the setback with his sight, the young Andrea showed huge potential as a singer, winning his first competition aged just 14 with a rendition of 'O Sole Mio'.
However, it didn't seem that music was quite the right career-choice for Bocelli - he went to the University of Pisa to study law, but kept singing in bars for extra money.
Bocelli's luck changed when a demo tape of him singing found its way into the hands of Luciano Pavarotti, via the Italian rock star Zucchero. Bocelli was invited on tour with Zucchero, where the two performed the song 'Miserere' together.
Pavarotti remained supportive of Bocelli in the early days of his career, inviting him to perform at his annual charity gala concert in Modena, 'Pavarotti International'.
Andrea's massive-selling duet with Sarah Brightman, 'Time To Say Goodbye', was originally intended as a farewell song to boxer Henry Maske (who was friends with Brightman), and was first performed at his final fight in 1996.
Bocelli first performed for the Pope in 1994 after he returned to being a catholic (Bocelli, not the Pope). Since then, he's performed for the head of the catholic church on a number of occasions, most recently for Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.
In 1998, Bocelli finally took to the dramatic stage when he played the role of Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme. He played the role at the Teatro Comunale in Cagliari for one week only.
Perhaps one of Bocelli's biggest moments, though, came in 1998 when he recorded a duet with Celine Dion - 'The Prayer'. It was featured on the soundtrack to the film Quest For Camelot in the same year, and has since been covered by all manner of classical crossover artists, including Jonathan and Charlotte.
Along with his brother, Andrea has his very own brand of wine. Made from grapes grown on his family farm, the 'Bocelli Family' label has already wowed wine critics and earned the Bocellis the respect of the wine-making world.
March 2nd 2010 was a momentous day for Andrea Bocelli as he joined the true showbiz elite and was awarded his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bocelli is no stranger to receiving awards of all kinds, but in 2012 he was given a very special honour at the Classic BRIT Awards - the first ever award for Best International Artist.
Bocelli lives in a former hotel in Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany with his manager and girlfriend, along with his children. The rock singer Zucchero, who was so instrumental in giving Bocelli his big break, spent most of his childhood in the area. Picture: iTunes
Bocelli's album Passione saw him revisit the repertoire of his days spent singing in bars as a youth, with plenty of classic Neapolitan songs and romantic ditties.