The inaugural Variety International Achievement in Music Award was presented to Andrea Bocelli onstage at Madison Square Garden Wednesday evening by Variety‘s EVP of content and executive editor, Steven Gaydos. Boceilli’s wife Veronica Berti and their young daughter, Virginia, joined Bocelli and Gaydos for the award ceremony onstage at the SRO show of opera favorites, pop standards and classical music selections.
Also on the bill were several notable guests, including pop maestro David Foster and his wife, star-singer Katharine McPhee. Since Foster co-wrote one of Bocelli’s most famous songs (with Celine Dion), the Oscar-nominated tune “The Prayer,” their rendition Wednesday drew a huge crowd response. Orchestra and chorus was conducted by longtime Bocelli associate Steven Mercurio and the evening included several guest singers and on key numbers, ballet dancers accompanying the music. One of the evening’s other highlights was Bocelli accompanying himself on piano for a passionate rendition of the Frank Sinatra standard “My Way.”
Bocelli was recently Grammy-nominated for the album “Si!” which is Bocelli’s first #1 album on the US pop charts. Nominated for best traditional pop album,” “Si” features duets with Ed Sheehan, Due Lipa, Josh Groban and others. In the midst of a sell-out U.S. tour that ended Thursday night, Bocelli has racked up incredible sales stats for a classical music artist, shifting over 90 million albums world-wide.
Gaydos alerted the audience to the fact that Bocelli is, as of now, Grammy-less, and in answer to the question, “Does Bocelli deserve a Grammy?” the 19,000 strong crowd of adoring Bocelli fans shouted in unison, “Yes!”