When Andrea Bocelli sang a tender ‘Time to Say Goodnight’ to Elmo on Sesame Street

8 June 2021, 13:49

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

“It’s time to say goodnight…”

The beloved children’s TV show Sesame Street has been a generous supporter of classical music over the years, from Renée Fleming’s cameo to teach us all how to count, to the time Venezuelan maestro Gustavo Dudamel taught Elmo the true meaning of ‘stupendous’ through the medium of a chorus of penguins.

But have you seen the time a certain star Italian tenor appeared on the show, to warble Elmo to sleep?

The year was 2004, and the talent was one, Andrea Bocelli, who sang a mildly parodied version of his signature song ‘Con Te Partirò’ (Time to Say Goodbye), which had been adapted to help Elmo fall into a deep slumber.

“Elmo isn’t sleepy, Elmo wants some water and another story,” the character sings along to the familiar tune of the song’s opening verse.

“Elmo’s eyes are open wide awake, and Elmo doesn’t feel so snorey!”

Read more: 10 amazing times when Sesame Street went classical

Star tenor Andrea Bocelli sings a lullaby to Elmo
Star tenor Andrea Bocelli sings a lullaby to Elmo. Picture: Sesame Street/YouTube

Bocelli takes over with his signature warm, dulcet tones, but with the lyrics ‘Time to Say Goodnight’. The pop-classical crossover song, made famous by Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, was adapted into a lullaby for Sesame Street by Mike Renzi and Emily Perl Kingsley.

Elmo, hearing through the lyrics of his long, eventful day and the fun the following morning will bring, is gradually persuaded that sleep is a good idea.

Read more: Violinist Itzhak Perlman’s ‘easy and hard’ sketch on Sesame Street is everything about being human

“So, goodnight,” Bocelli ends his performance, finally reaching up into the heights of his glorious tenor range.

“Mr Bocelli, please, Elmo’s trying to sleep!” Elmo retorts, as he is awakened by Bocelli’s unexpected fortissimo cadenza.

Bedtime is never without a little drama, even in the puppet world. Watch in full below...