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Andrea Bocelli's excellent 'adventure'

Since Andrea Bocelli released his breakout album, 1994's "Il Mare Calmo Della Sera," the Italian tenor has had much crossover success in the United States, combining opera and classical music with contemporary flair. Over the years, the romantic singer has recorded duets with Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Luciano Pavarotti, Mary J. Blige and Sarah Brightman. On his new album, "Passione," he worked with producer David Foster and pop stars Nelly Furtado and Jennifer Lopez.

In a recent e-mail interview, Bocelli, who will perform Friday at the BB&T Center, discussed his new music.

What was your favorite part about making "Passione"?

It has been an exciting adventure, from the moment we started with David Foster to select the tracks until I was able to remove the cellophane to the first copy of the record. Finally, a reason for parochial pride: Some Italian songs, which in my country have had a great success, will be almost totally new in [the] United States. I am very curious to see how they will be welcomed in your country.

How does it differ from your other albums?

This adventure for me represents a series of wonderful memories, which date back to the time when I started to play the piano. Actually, before I was 18, I was totally absorbed by opera. Then, when I approached pop music, a new world opened to me. So I started to study the most-beautiful and popular pieces. Even at that time, while singing these songs that we find in the CD today, I saw many romances bloom, so many couples born on the edge of the emotion and of the suggestion aroused by those great love songs.

What was it like working with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado on the new album?

Jennifer Lopez, thanks to the charismatic power of her voice, has been able to give to a very famous song like "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" lightness and sensuality at the same time. The multiplicity of her talents melts in the apparent simplicity of this melody. Both nice and talented, Nelly Furtado, too, has a volcanic personality: Her cultural background, along with the genetic one, makes of her a great performer. A further confirmation comes from her performance of a classic of Brazilian music like "Corcovado."

Are there any musicians you wish to work with but haven't yet?

As I have often said in the past 15 years, a sort of fruitful and creative channel of friendship and understanding has been established with the artists of your great country. This being on the same wavelength I am sure will still give important fruits, which will result in new encounters and spectacular duets. Looking back, I cannot complain today many of my dreams have already come true. I am thinking, for example — on the pop side — I had the great pleasure to sing with Celine Dion, a great professional and a great person, simple and loving her work. On the stage of Central Park, it was [a] really exciting duet with a living legend like Tony Bennett. While in the opera field, I had the privilege to sing with Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.

Is there anything in your career that you haven't done, but would love to?

This year I will turn 55, spent in order to write a beautiful fairy tale to be left as a tender memory to my family as well as to the judgment of posterity. The fairy tale tells the story of a country boy who, with his burden of difficulties and hopes, makes a dream come true: the one of giving his voice to the world, to all those who are looking in music and in a voice, for a vivifying emotion, the joy of a moment, the relief from the harshness of everyday life. What I would like to do is simply to keep on singing until the public asks me to [stop] — be it in front of a huge crowd or in my house for my family and a few close friends. For me, it makes no difference.

Andrea Bocelli will perform 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, in Sunrise. Tickets cost $91.50-$398.75. Go to

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