HOMECOMING: A rendering of the completed site of “Andrea Bocelli 30: The Celebration,” which takes place at the Teatro del Silenzio in the tenor’s native Tuscany. (Stufish)

Maestro Andrea Bocelli, an iconic voice in classical and popular music, chose to celebrate 30 years of breathtaking performances in the Teatro del Silenzio – the Theater of Silence – overlooking the verdant hills of his native Tuscany.

The Italian tenor hosts “Andrea Bocelli 30: The Celebration” a three-day, cultural, artistic and musical journey spanning three decades over three days July 15, 17 and 19 at the natural amphitheater in Bocelli’s hometown of Lajatico.

The cost is about $15 million to transform the property into a modern-day concert venue suitable for video production, according to project officials.

“When we approached Andrea at the beginning, he became a little serious and said, ‘Why are you so excited to celebrate that I’m getting older? What makes you so happy?’” recalled Veronica Berti, Bocelli’s wife and business manager. “I said, ‘Come on, we have to celebrate life every day and this is part of it.’ He started looking at it in a different way and how much he loves the voices and the music.”

An unprecedented number of global stars are scheduled to descend on the Tuscan hills to celebrate Bocelli’s 30th anniversary including Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain, Jon Batiste, Russell Crowe, Sofia Vergara, David Foster, Christian Nodal, Sofia Carson, Laura Pausini, Tiziano Ferro, Zucchero, Giorgia, Matteo Bocelli, Virginia Bocelli and classical superstars Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Lang Lang, Aida Garifullina, Bryn Terfel and Nadine Sierra among still others.

“To think about the celebration, we thought we had to put together all the people who had worked with Andrea in the past and then we realized how much more exciting it was to put together the past and the future,” said Berti, who married Bocelli in 2014.  

With a population of about 1,300, Lajatico is not a typical tour stop, but has become one each summer since 2006. Bocelli, who serves as honorary president of the Teatro del Silenzio, hosts an annual concert series at the venue showcasing his extensive repertoire alongside duet partners from a variety of genres.  

“The Teatro del Silenzio concert happens every year. What’s changed this time is the scale of the project,” said Francesco Pasquero of Maverick Management. “By far, this is the biggest event that Andrea has done.”

Merging the pop world and classical music on a small Tuscan hilltop is an opportunity to introduce an international audience to the region and further Bocelli’s mission of bringing music to the masses. 

“Andrea Bocelli 30: The Celebration,” will be captured for a concert film produced by Mercury Studios, Maverick, Impact Productions and City Sound & Events. The project will be released globally in theaters this fall by Fathom, which released “The Journey: A Music Special from Andrea Bocelli” in 2023. Sam Wrench, who directed “Taylor Swift – The Eras Tour,” will fill the same role for the upcoming production.

The creative director for the event will be two-time Olivier Award-nominee Francisco Negrin, who has directed more than 70 acclaimed productions in the world’s leading opera houses, such as The Royal Opera House in London, Sydney Opera House, New York City Opera and Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. 

Imagine the challenge of taking an isolated, natural amphitheater and transforming it into a world-class performance space for an international audience of 10,800 that’s suitable for filming a theatrical release.  

“The place is beautiful, but it is beautiful because it is so difficult to build anything there,” explained Pasquero. “You need to bring everything. It is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, locations ever.”

RED CARPET: Veronica Berti with Andrea Bocelli at the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Production hurdles abound including a lack of electricity, bathrooms, WiFi, parking, hotel space and the uneven terrain. The team reserved 300 buildings within a 13-mile radius for production needs and employs a dedicated working staff of 150. 

“This is Bocelli’s native land,” said Zarya Vrabcheva, a designer at Stufish Entertainment Architects. “This is where he grew up. This is where he was a child at his first concerts performing in front of his family, and this is where he still lives. So, it was important land symbolically for him. In a way, he is inviting the world to his home.”

The celebration will be a feast for the senses. Stufish, which has worked with the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, U2, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, is handling the stage design and architecture. 

“The initial starting point was to create a piece that expresses the passing of time,” explained Vrabcheva. “Because this was an anniversary, we had this idea and romanticism of the passing of time, the land and waking up the future of the Theater of Silence with music.”

Stufish is working with Negrin to create a stunning visual and high-tech experience for concertgoers as well as theater audiences. There will be an aerial drone show and projection technology and the revolving stage will resemble a sundial, and at the epicenter, a lake protected by a wall of local Travertine with 180-degree view of the hills of Volterra at sundown.  

“This site is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been fortunate enough to do a show,” explained Ric Lipson, partner at Stufish. “As a venue, it has existed for about 20 years. It’s essentially a bit of flat ground with some steps on one edge and they carved out this lake with a stone wall around it. We’re not building from complete zero but we have absolutely elevated it from what was done in previous years.”

 The design has gone from a functional rectangular stage and production scaffolding to something that fully embraces the audience experience with the feel of an outdoor opera house, including cascading box seats framing the stage and the addition of VIP seating for 250. 

“Because of the 30th anniversary, and because they are bringing in all the international stars as well as the local Italian and European stars; the decision was to take it to the next level,” explained Lipson, “and bringing it to a level that is more bespoke and more spectacular while keeping the Tuscan vibe.”

Creating the vision required time and added resources, with a production budget of between $15 million and $16 million. Everything had to be trucked in over pastoral, winding roads including the machinery to put it in place from orchestra risers to a massive, 12-meter revolving central art installation. 

The team conducted an architectural site study to get an exact 3D model before going to fabricators to make sure the design would work as planned on the asymmetrical landscape. Stufish also factored in audience, performer and crew safety as well as unpredictable weather conditions — even croaking frogs. 

“The frogs sing, always,” said Berti, of the amphibian residents that congregate around the lake, which was once a livestock watering hole. “As loud as you can be, you will always hear them in the back.”

“There are various bits of nature around the site,” Lipson said. “There is definitely a population of wildlife, which we have to be careful about, obviously. To say this is a complicated site would be an understatement.”

When it’s over, the space returns to its natural state with only the various sculptures, which are designed to withstand the elements remaining on site until the next Bocelli performance a year later. 

“It will be amazing,” said Berti. “There is no other option. It’s a beautiful challenge.”

“I’ll be in a church praying it’s not going to be raining,” added Pasquero.