It has just been confirmed the world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will sing at the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday 25 August for the visit of Pope Francis.
Bocelli will join other artists including Nathan Carter, The Riverdance Troupe, Dana Masters, Daniel O'Donnell, The Begley Family, The Priests, The Holy Family Deaf Choir and Deaftones, Celine Byrne, Paddy Moloney, Bridgie and Missy Collins and Moya Brennan. An orchestra of more than 50 musicians; over 700 Irish, Sean Nós and contemporary dancers, including 500 from Irish dance schools across the country; a 1,000 strong choir; 100 community groups will perform on the day.
Families from 116 countries are attending a series of events beginning on 21 August and culminating with the visit of the Holy Father on 25 and 26 August.
Father Timothy Bartlett, Secretary General of WMOF2018 said,: "We are delighted to announce that Andrea Bocelli will be with us for our celebration of family life in the presence of Pope Francis. He will bring so much to our gathering not just because of his wonderful talent but because of his love for his faith. We are honoured that he has taken time out of an intensely busy schedule to come to Ireland to be part of our global celebration of family life."
Andrea Bocelli has met Pope Francis and has performed for him on more than one occasion including at the last World Meeting of Families which took place in Philadelphia in 2015. He is a devout Catholic and he has spoken openly many times about the importance of faith and how it takes first place in his life. He has regularly donated his time and talent to causes and events that he is passionate about.
Commenting ahead of his performance at the Dublin gathering of families he said: "Singing before Pope Francis is a privilege for our soul; it is an honour for what the Supreme Pontiff represents in the world. For the indescribable human fragility, typical of the average man such as myself, it brings me great pleasure and immense satisfaction to even have the privilege to be close to a person of such exceptional importance and grace.
"It is a joy to be able to offer my most modest contribution on the occasion of this grand meeting and moment of reflection about the family. The family remains the strongest building block of society, a cluster of affection, and a privileged space in which one can teach and learn - in every action - how to choose a life that leads toward the greater good."
Become returns Dublin at the end of the year to perform a headline show at the 3Arena on 30th and 31st October.
Andrea Bocelli is acclaimed, worldwide, as one of the most accomplished representatives of Italy's finest vocal tradition. His rich and unique voice, with tones as smooth as velvet, can range from Belcanto to Verism with great ease and talent, and is one of the most distinctive voices that the world has ever seen. Andrea Bocelli's fans delight in the pleasures that such a unique signature-like voice provides, especially thanks to the tenor's numerous records, of which over eighty million have been sold.
Through his voice and art, Andrea Bocelli reaches out to his global public spreading through the lyrics he sings positive and powerful messages of hope and fortitude, whilst, at the same time, he actively supports numerous philanthropic causes furthering medical and scientific research, tackling poverty, as well as promoting compulsory primary education worldwide. As a result, Andrea Bocelli's social commitment and kindness of heart are appreciated by all those whom he touches with his music and work, his voice having become the voice which articulates the world's cries for help and calls for action.
Bocelli's shot to fame began in 1994, when, following Franco Corelli's teachings, he won the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy. During the same year, he also embarked in a dazzling classical career singing in operas from the most prestigious lyrical tradition, such as Macbeth, Il Trovatore, Madame Butterfly, La Bohème, Tosca as well as Werther, Carmen, Roméo et Juliette, as directed by the lines of Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa and Zubin Mehta.
Over the years, Andrea Bocelli has been honoured with many awards and tributes such as the time when, in 2010, a star bearing his name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bocelli is indeed a record-breaking artist who regularly performs in front of huge audiences, and whose popularity may be compared only to a very small few. His CD Arie Sacre (in collaboration with the music director Myung-Whun Chung) has become, in fact, the best-selling classical album ever published by a solo artist.
Tickets to his concerts are invariably sold out within few days of their release, such is the magnificence of his music and the eminence of the grand venues where he performs - the Carnegie Hall, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera House just to name a few. Andrea Bocelli has recorded arias from La Bohème, Il Trovatore, Werther, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmen, and Andrea Chènier, and amongst his most recent recordings one can will find Manon Lescaut, conducted by Plácido Domingo, Turandot, released on July 22nd 2016, and Aida, conducted by Zubin Mehta.
In October 2015, Andrea Bocelli's fifteenth and latest pop album, Cinema, was released in 75 countries. Cinema is dedicated to the movie soundtrack genre and includes 16 timeless pieces - sung in five different languages - that have touched the hearts, and contributed to the memories, of several consecutive generations. Cinema broke all previous records in the UK when, just one month after its release date, it made the UK Top 10. Andrea Bocelli, in truth, is the first classical music artist who has had ten Albums in the UK Top 10 pop music chart, thus proving to be the UK's best-selling classical artist of all times. Cinema has also received a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
During his career, Andrea Bocelli has performed for four Presidents of the United States, three Popes, the British Royal Family and several Prime Ministers from different countries. Lately he has sung for Queen Elizabeth II, during Her Majesty's Gala Evening in celebration of her 90th birthday which took place in the gardens within the walls of Windsor Castle.
To celebrate 20 years since the original release of his best-selling album, Romanza, Bocelli worked towards a 20th Anniversary Special Edition of the same which was released worldwide in the autumn of 2016. Considered Andrea's breakthrough album and still the best-selling Italian album of all times, this special re-mastered edition of Romanza boasts 3 bonus tracks including 2 brand new versions of the wildly popular and highly commended song 'Con Te Partirò' (Time To Say Goodbye).
Andrea Bocelli, however, is not only a gifted tenor and superb artist; he is also a man of principle who believes that, in the face of inequality and human tragedy, solidarity with your fellow human beings is the only adequate response. Indeed, he sees this attitude as the conditio sine qua non of any tangible and effective solutions to the problems we face in our modern society. For Bocelli, compassion, empathy and support of the disadvantaged is not only a moral duty, but also, and most importantly, a spontaneous and genuine gesture originating from both his heart and mind. Hence, since the 1990s, his name has featured heavily among those of the most illustrious patrons who regularly participate in the projects and events undertaken by the most prominent charities and humanitarian organizations in the world.
In 2011, Andrea Bocelli founded the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF), an international charitable organization whose mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy and distress due to illness and social exclusion. In doing so, Bocelli has successfully drawn on the strength of the many relationships of trust and friendship he has built over the years, capitalizing on his vast network of colleagues, collaborators, friends, acquaintances and followers, and, thus, marshalling their help towards the Foundation's noble purpose. As a result, Andrea Bocelli is often considered to be not only one of the most prominent figures in the international musical scene, but also one of the key players in the humanitarian scene.
At the opening of the World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos, Andrea Bocelli was bestowed the Crystal Award, a prestigious recognition of the work he has carried out as an artist, man and philanthropist.
On 30th April 2015 Andrea Bocelli sang at the opening concert of the Milan Expo - an event broadcast live and worldwide telecast - accompanied by the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala and delivering a stellar performance praised by fans and critics alike.
Finally, having participated in the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, both as a performing artist and Founder of the ABF, Andrea Bocelli was invited once again in 2016 to this prestigious event. On this latest occasion, Bocelli's outstanding performances and poignant speech, both delivered in the presence of President Barack Obama, were welcomed with a double standing ovation.
The Visit of Pope Francis to Ireland for WMOF2018
Pope Francis will make a pastoral visit to Ireland for the 9th World Meeting of Families which is taking place in Dublin from 21 - 26 August. In addition to the Festival of Families the WMOF2018 has at its heart the following key moments:
A National Opening of World Meeting of Families which will take place simultaneously in the twenty-six dioceses on the island of Ireland on Tuesday 21 August;
A three-day Pastoral Congress which will take place in the RDS, Dublin from 22-24 August and will include entail a joyful and reflective programme of workshops, talks and discussions centred on the theme: "The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World". The Congress will also offer an engaging programme for young people to include faith and fun activities for children;
A visit to Knock Shrine, Ireland's National Marian Shrine, where he will pray for families and for the World Meeting of Families on Sunday 26 August;
Read more about the World Meeting of Families: www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/