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Andrea Bocelli: Better than a box of chocolate

You think the average couple feels pressure every time Valentine's Day rolls around? Well, imagine being the focus of thousands of dates, with a cost that can surpass a high-end dinner and a nice piece of jewelry.

That's what Andrea Bocelli faces. Continuing his Valentine's tradition, the Italian tenor will perform three concerts next week in South Florida.

"It's a big responsibility, but I hope to give it my best and bring the best romantic music that I know," Bocelli says. "I will try to help both the new loves and the old ones."

Bocelli spoke by phone last week from his villa on the Mediterranean Sea in Italy, mostly in English, with an interpreter helping out when Bocelli wanted to expound. He has become more Americanized in recent years, having purchased a home in 2013 on Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach.

He says how much time he spends in South Florida per visit varies, but he hopes to stay for a month during this trip.

"I have a nice pool, and it's warm," Bocelli says, adding that he uses most of his time exercising his voice and relaxing.

Bocelli has performed on Valentine's Day the past four years at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. This year, though, he'll appear Feb. 12, 14 and 15 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, which he last played in 2007.

"The venue is never a problem. What really makes the concert is the public, and since I'm in America, I'm sure I'll have a fantastic public," he says.

Bocelli, 56, has been on top since he sent a demo to Luciano Pavarotti in 1992, and has soared from there, bringing opera to the NBA All-Star Game, the World Cup, New York's Central Park and every major music hall in the world. He has sold more than 150 million albums and moved into pop, which "opened a new world for me," he says.

"But when I decide what music to listen to, it's opera, because that's always been my passion," he says. "But if, for example, I turned on the radio, I would listen to whatever there is. No problem."

He became popular in the pop world partially by performing duets with Sarah Brightman, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Tony Bennett, Nelly Furtado and others.

"For me, it's nice doing the duets, because I like to share the stage with someone else, particularly the great artists," Bocelli says, adding that "The Prayer" with Celine Dion is a favorite. "It stays in my heart, as do others. It's collaboration in order to create music."

Bocelli says he has known since he was a child that he had a gift for music, when his family would ask him to imitate the great singers. Even though he was born with glaucoma, soccer was his love, until a brain hemorrhage while playing at age 12 wiped out what remained of his vision.

In 2011, he partnered with MIT in Boston in an attempt to "create a tool, a device, that would basically substitute itself for the eyes," he says. It would mainly help with mobility and navigation.

"We don't know when the problem will be resolved or even if it will. But in any case, we are working," he says.

Bocelli says he'll sing plenty of romantic songs at the Hard Rock, and he snorts at the question of whether he himself is a romantic.

"I'm an Italian tenor," he says.

Andrea Bocelli will perform 8 p.m. Feb. 12, 14 and 15 at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $204, $305, $454 and $554. Go to

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