How Did Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Go Blind?

Andrea Bocelli

Getty Andrea Bocelli performs on May 25, 2016 in Rho, Italy.

This Easter weekend will be completely different than any other because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Church services around the world are being canceled because of requirements to isolate and stay at home, and instead, there will be a series of virtual services and performances available on live stream.

The famous opera singer Andrea Bocelli will be singing in the empty Duomo Cathedral, in Milan, Italy and it will be streamed live on Sunday, April 12 at 1 p.m. ET. There will only be one other person performing with Bocelli, and that’s the cathedral’s organist, Emmanuele Vianelli. Although many people might have heard Bocelli’s voice before, it might be a surprise to some that the acclaimed opera singer is blind.

Andrea Bocelli Was Born With Congenital Glaucoma & Went Completely Blind at the Age of 12

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. Mom, saying thank you to you does not seem enough to me! Instead, I would like to say to you: just think, mom, what a beautiful adventure we have experienced together, what a special fairytale we have been a part of, from the cultivated fields and tractors, to the top of the world! And I want to say to you mom, don’t be proud of a son who sings, but be proud of yourself, of your strengths and your wonderful faults that have shaped me, of your stubbornness and courage. Courageous, in teaching me to be brave myself, stubborn in always supporting me, at any cost, you, who at my first concerts would turn your hands red raw from clapping louder than anyone else. Mom, I wish that the mountain you have climbed in your life would leave room for the most pleasant stroll on sloping ground. For you I would like a long procession of serene and fulfilled days, warmed by the smile of those who owe you their life, surrounded by that love which, when it is given (as you did without reserve), inevitably comes back. I am sending you a big hug, mom Edi, as well as to all the mothers in the world, because it is all of you who truly make the world go round. . – Andrea . #MothersDay

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Bocelli was born on 22 September 1958 in Tuscany, Italy. From the time he was born, it became clear that he had issues with his eyesight and he ended up getting diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, an eye disease.

He went completely blind when he was 12 years old following an accident in a football game. He was accidentally hit in the head and suffered a brain hemorrhage, causing complete blindness. According to a profile by the Telegraph, doctors turned to the use of leeches in a desperate attempt to save his eyesight, but they were unsuccessful.

He described the incident:

As a child I was very lively and uncontrollable, I loved playing football and one day during a match, I was hit violently in the face with a ball on my right eye, the only one which I could see light and colour with. The doctors tried to cure me with various operations and they even used leeches but there was nothing that could be done.

He said that his love of classical music and opera stems from a young age, when his mother found that playing classical music records helped him with his glaucoma.

Bocelli Does Not Like to Speak About His Blindness & Doesn’t Consider It to Be an Obstacle

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. Riding through life, balanced on the back of every day and every encounter that we are given, breathing in the beauty that we can always find, if we really look for it: as this year also comes to a close, I thank God and bless every single moment that the earth has given me. My wish is that we never forget, not even for a moment, that we are a tiny, yet precious fragment of a masterpiece, of a project that is eternal. . . Cavalcare la vita, in equilibrio sul dorso di ogni giorno e d'ogni incontro che ci viene donato, respirare la bellezza che sempre, se la cerchiamo davvero, possiamo trovare: anche quest’anno che sta per finire, ringrazio il cielo e benedico ogni singolo istante che la terra mi ha destinato. Il mio auspicio, non dimenticare neppure un momento che siamo infinitesimo ma prezioso frammento di un capolavoro, di un progetto che profuma d'eterno. . Andrea

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In an interview with Radio Times, they point out that Bocelli doesn’t like to speak about his blindness. In fact, there are few interviews with the opera singer on the topic. Bocelli spoke to Radio Times about his faith, saying that: “I believe the obstacles God gives us to overcome are in proportion to the strengths and abilities he gives us to overcome them.”

He quickly clarified that he wasn’t referring to his blindness as an obstacle: “I do not understand the obstacle you are referring to because that’s not the obstacle I’m referring to. I do not see it as an obstacle – absolutely not.” He says he frequently rides horses on his farm in the Italian countryside, and it feels completely natural: “You may not know this, but in the Italian military, soldiers are taught to jump obstacles blindfolded.”

In an interview with the Telegraph, they wrote: “he refuses to talk about his blindness, perhaps because he is tired of being defined by it. ‘Let’s go to the next question,’ he says when I bring the subject up.”

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