ANDREA BOCELLI: Celebrating family at Christmas with Savannah show

Holidays are a time for loved ones to come together. For Andrea Bocelli, it’s enough of a touchstone to have inspired him to invite his 24-year-old son Matteo and 10-year-old daughter Virginia into the studio to record “A Family Christmas,” the trio’s first-ever album together.

Recorded over the summer, this project features an assortment of solo tracks, duets and trios that include everything from old favorites like “Feliz Navidad,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Joy To the World” to a pair of originals – “The Greatest Gift” and “When Christmas Comes to Town.” And while the project was suggested by the elder Bocelli’s label Capitol/Decca, Bocelli embraced the idea, particularly when given the chance to sing with his children -- a constant occurrence around their household.

“We were very excited about the opportunity as it would involve the whole family,” Andrea Bocelli said. “We started with recording the vocals, which was done in our home recording studio. At home, music is part of our everyday lives and we always find moments to gather around our piano, to play or sing. This year, with “A Family Christmas,” we wanted to give each other a special ‘Christmas gift’ -- recording these songs together.”

This current project is the successor to Bocelli’s first holiday album, 2009’s “My Christmas.” In choosing material for “A Family Christmas,” he wanted the selections to resonate beyond how well-known they might be.

“We looked at a variety of Christmas songs, while not all those we chose may be the most popular, but rather were the most compelling to my family and I,” the patriarch said. “Selections that would allow for Matteo and Virginia to shine their light on the album, and felt most exemplary for their vocals, of which, of course, as a father, I am so proud of. It was also wonderful to have my wife, Veronica, and my eldest son, Amos, also participate in choosing the songs. And the selection that emerged is very dear to my heart. We chose songs that we think are ones that would ignite the Christmas spirit in the hearts of others, a feeling that is special to this specific season.”

For as gratifying and satisfying as heading into the recording studio with his offspring was for Bocelli, taking the next step of bringing it on the road to the masses is no less of a thrilling experience for the Italian classical music icon. And when asked what fans can expect when the Bocelli brood comes around, he promises the magic they captured on the record will translate well on stage.

“The concert format will begin with the first part centered on well-known and loved operatic pieces and be followed by a second part tied to songs of romance and ballads from my catalogue,” he explained. “Then, of course, the second half will also include selections from the new Christmas repertory of “A Family Christmas.” I’m excited to say that Matteo and Virginia will be beside me onstage performing together as a family. We look forward to sharing the warmth and love of our family on stage with the extended family of the audience through the divine power of music.”

And while singing with their father is something both Bocelli children have been well familiar with throughout their lives, the siblings are equally over-the-moon about having the opportunity to do this night after night.

“Growing up, I remember that my dad would always play Christmas songs around the holidays and we would sing together,” Virginia said. “This is our first family Christmas album together and it’s so fun because I remember recording this together back in July. Now the songs are finally out there and I’m excited to get to share the stage with my dad and brother and see the fans react to these special songs we’ve recorded together.”

Matteo added, “We had so much fun in the studio recording the music, that it will be incredible, especially at the time of year with the holidays, to see the joy in our audiences as we share our family traditions with theirs.”

Having had a front-row seat for the global success his father has experienced as one of music’s foremost tenors has provided plenty of inspiration for Bocelli’s son to start his own career. His move into the family business will pick up considerable speed as work begins on Matteo’s debut album in January.

“Music has been a part of my life since I was in my mother’s belly,” he said. “I’ve always heard my father sing and I feel as though I’ve been singing with him since I was a very small child. I started piano at the age of six and that’s when things really picked up. My father has always been so supportive of my desire to sing and starting my own solo career.”

But for now, the Family Bocelli will be tapping into the unique energy produced by bloodlines and love of each other and what the holiday season represents. This accomplishment that lands high on Andrea Bocelli’s already large array of milestones.

“Having part of the family on stage with me is an extraordinary feeling,” he said. “It’s a dream come true -- the best Christmas gift I could ever receive. I will thus be on stage, but at the same time, literally ‘with the family,’ while the audience will be our ‘extended family,’ with which to celebrate Christmas through music. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise for everyone, an evening that will give us fond memories. If members of the audience return home even just a bit more serene, with a smile on their faces, then my mission is accomplished.”

ANDREA BOCELLI @ENMARKET ARENA

Bocelli makes his first ever appearance in Savannah at Enmarket Arena just in time for the Christmas season. Visit ticketmaster.com for info. FRI DEC 16 | 8 PM

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