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12 September 2018, 17:57 | Updated: 12 September 2018, 18:01
A number of British tourists have complained they were ‘misled’ by a tour company, believing they would be seeing Andrea Bocelli in concert with ‘special guests’.
The advert claimed fans of Andrea Bocelli would be treated to a spectacular summer concert in the beautiful Tuscan countryside with the Italian singer and ‘special guests’.
Instead, they were presented with a little-known 19th-century opera, featuring only fleeting appearances from Bocelli.
A handful of tourists have complained, saying they were expecting to see Bocelli singing his greatest hits, such as 'Time to Say Goodbye' and 'Perfect Symphony', alongside the likes of Ed Sheeran and Barbra Streisand.
Anita Lowe, who went on the 11-night trip with her husband Christopher, said she broke down in tears because she was so disappointed with the event. She complained to the tour company, Leger Holidays, who offered her £350 as compensation.
She told the Daily Mail: “I wanted to see him singing his well-known songs. We didn’t book to see an opera. I thought it would be like a concert at the O2 in London, where he performs his greatest hits with guests like Ed Sheeran.
“When he did it in New York he had Barbra Streisand, so when it said special guests we expected stars. If it was La Traviata or Verdi or something it would have been better, but it was a classical opera that no one knew anything about.
“I watch some opera on TV and I like Pavarotti, but this was a full opera with wigs and heaving chests. We couldn’t understand the transcript – it was all in Italian.
“We wouldn’t have paid all that money if it had been advertised as an opera. It’s like booking tickets to see the rugby and getting there and being greeted with a ballet.”
The opera was ‘Andrea Chenier’, a work by Umberto Giordano about the life of the French poet Andre Chenier, who was executed during the French Revolution.
The concert, which took place in Bocelli’s hometown of Lajatico on 27 July, was part of a package coach tour which also included visits to Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Montecatini Terme and Volterra.
Jenny Bell, who was also on the tour, told the Daily Mail: “I was beyond disappointed. I thought the opera was maybe being put on as an intro for the first 15 minutes, [and then] I thought the concert was about to start. Some people didn’t even know Andrea Bocelli had been on because he had a very minor role. It was a very boring opera.”
Mrs Lowe said ten tourists on the trip had since been offered a total of £1,650 by Leger Holidays.
In a letter, the travel company apologised and claimed they were also unaware of the details of the concert.
“[We] must categorically stress to you that we, like many other independent visitors of the performance, were not made aware that the concert was due to be an opera, as naturally we would have made you and your fellow guests aware of the information.
“Nonetheless... I am truly sorry for the prolonged disappointment you have been caused by the performance of Andrea Bocelli, and if you believe you have been misled by Leger Holidays.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Leger Holidays added: “We are particularly concerned regarding the disappointment our customers have experienced and we are liaising with our guests individually.”