Mamma mia! According to my tape recorder, just six minutes and 52 seconds have elapsed since I met the tenor Andrea Bocelli and he has just announced that he “haf a beeg reeespect for sex.” A big respect for sex? “Yes, a beeg reeespect for sex.”
There are several of us in this New York hotel room, but I appear to be the only one with a blush rising from their neck, and I soon realise that this is because I am the only one who is not from Italy. Of course Bocelli haf a beeg reeespect for sex. He is Italian, the most famous Italian after Silvio Berlusconi now I come to think about it – a section of the Adriatic coast is named after him – and, much like the Italian prime minister, Bocelli’s voice seems to make women’s clothes fall off, as witnessed the night before when he performed to a packed Central Park.
He is the first “classical crossover artist”, which is another way of saying “popular”, and has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. It’s amazing how many seemingly cool and hip people have a Bocelli ferreted away on their iPod. Anyway, as Celine Dion joined him on stage, I must confess that I, too, embraced the cheese. Chuck in a rendition of Time to Say Goodbye, finish with a rousing Nessun Dorma, and Manhattan felt as if it might just float away on a cloud of oestrogen.