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Operatic Pop, the popular turning point of lyrical music

Operatic Pop, the popular turning point of lyrical music

Operatic pop is, unmistakeably, a genre combining opera and pop music. This happens, most of the times, by developping a singing operistic style over a pop musical theme.

Italy has played an eminent role since its birth. Already at Enrico Caruso’s era – the first decades of 1900 – , one can trace down the first crossover symptoms between pop and opera. The great italian tenor popoularized – and the word is no coincidence – a new genre enriched by satirical elements that were inadmissible before then.

Let’s go ahead a few decades. It’s 1986 when a historical collaboration between Lucio Dalla and Pavarotti, considered a kind of unicum, where the pop embodied by the first and the opera by the latter melt together and lead the way to the future birth of the genre. Other cammeos will follow with Bono and other important names of the pop scene, demonstrating clearly that something is changing. 

But they are just occasional events, brief invasions of “no trespassing zones”. As a matter of fact the operatic pop will only arise with Andrea Bocelli, gaining so the maximum of its popolarity.

At the base of the artist’s musical project was the purpose of shifting the current paradigm: this by putting the general public in contact with the opera, involving them into something they would not consider beyond their grasp. And without the ideological burden oppressing a scholarly, erudited public.

The debut was not, as one could imagine, easy. In those early years, the judgement over the new genre oscillated between bluntly perplexed and resentful. Among these were the self-declared “opera experts”, who saw in this genre’s hybridizationa a threat: that is the invasion of a strictly forbidden field, exclusive to an elite of listeners (them!)

Meanwhile, despite all the obstacles, the musical experimentations goes on and Bocelli sharpens his technique. After a series of failed attempts, misunderstadings from the music industry, the critics and the public, the time is ripe for a turn. It is the middle of the 90s when opera escapes the narrow fences of theaters and is finally available to a much larger and international public.

Today operatic pop has cleared customs. Just think of the international acclaim from public and critics alike of groups such as The Three Tenors (Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras) and Il Divo.

But all of this would be unimaginable without the crack opened by Bocelli in the last decade of the last century. Bocelli is the joining link between opera and pop, the artist indissolubly tied to the genre. Just consider his numbers. To date he has sold 90 million albums worldwide. Romanza (1997), is the best selling italian album of all times. And his name is, since 2010, in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.