Though extremely content with his life, Bocelli concedes the only problem he has is that he sometimes feels he has too much. Knowing that many people struggle to feed their families or pay their bills, he started the Andrea Bocelli Foundation in 2011 to fund medical research and fight poverty. Rather than being remembered as a great singer, Bocelli hopes to be remembered as a good, honest man.
He also strives to be a good father. In addition to his infant daughter, he has two teenage sons, Amos and Matteo, who live nearby with his first wife. When I ask about Virginia, Bocelli says Berti is very protective of their daughter, especially when he sings. “I’ve realized some doors get shut because my singing is not so soft,” he confesses, though his older children handle his booming pipes in more diplomatic fashion. “They say, ‘Daddy, aren’t you tired of singing?’ ”
We’ve been chatting for about 90 minutes when Bocelli starts jiggling his leg, a sign he’s ready for the interview to be over. Before I go, I ask about the crystal bust on the table across the room. It’s of Mario Del Monaco, thought to be one of the greatest tenors in the world, he tells me. He then points to a glitzy pink-and-green gecko on the wall that he bought as a present for Berti when they were in California a few years ago. His face lights up at the mention of his wife, and he explains their history: They met at a party in 2002, where he was attracted to her intelligent-sounding voice, knowledge of music and the warm feel of her slim hand. He poured on the charm and sang for her that night.
“It was love at first sight,” he says, the words taking on a whole new meaning when he utters them. “I took her home and she never left. We’ve been living together now for 10 years, 24 hours a day.”
“Isn’t that hard?” I ask.
“It’s a big house,” he jokes.
As I get ready to leave, he sits down at the gleaming baby grand piano in the next room and conjures a classical muse in the form of Chopin. The notes work their magic, and reality blurs.
KATHLEEN PARRISH, a freelance writer and frequent American Way contributor from Bethlehem, Pa., is still dreaming about being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli.