Andrea Bocelli performs in Hegra, Saudi Arabia

The world’s most beloved tenor, Maestro Andrea Bocelli, gave a stunning performance within the surrounds of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra, helped by two of his talented children
Andrea Bocelli performs in Hegra, Saudi Arabia

Tuscan-born Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli loves Saudi Arabia, and he's proven his passion for the Kingdom with not one, but three performances, in as many consecutive years. While his past two concerts took place during AlUla's Tantora festivals, set in the winter, this event marked the first ever of its calibre to take place in the ancient city of Hegra.

Hegra, built in the first century BCE by the Nabataean Kingdom, is an ancient desert city home to thousands of tombs cut into sandstone mountains. At least 100 tombs have elaborate carved facades, a signature of the skilled Nabataean craftsmen.

Some of the standout moments from the evening included Maestro Bocelli performing Leonard Cohen's beloved Hallelujah alongside his 9-year old daughter Virginia, and his son Matteo Bocelli, a model and singer, joining him on stage for a duet. The master tenor was backed by musicians from the Arabian Philharmonic along with special guests like Loren Allred, soprano Francesca Maionchi, and Eugene Kohn at the piano.

Songs included favourites from Puccini, hits from the artist most recent album, Believe, as well as songs from the Greatest Showman and Carousel. No Bocelli performance would be complete without an encore of Time to Say Goodbye and fans both attending the event in person and the millions watching live on April 8th, on MBC1 throughout MENA and the artist's YouTube channel globally, were not disappointed.

Bocelli said that the concert was about a celebration of life and music, “our planet is beautiful and music is the world’s great unifier so this moment for us has been about spreading a little joy as we all see the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to enjoying music together again soon.”

And when talking about the breathtaking location, the backdrop for his fluid, moving singing beloved the world over, he said “to be here creating a piece of history in such an inspirational setting so rich in human ingenuity, heritage and culture is truly a moment we will never forget.”

As a fascinating aside, Bocelli is said to be able to play any instrument he puts his hands on and the artist proved this on arrival at AlUla International Airport by playing a rendition of O sole mio on a Qanoun, also known as a Zither.

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