Andrea Bocelli might be blind, but this did not prevent him from becoming one of the greatest singers in the world. His autobiographical novel The Music of Silence has now been adapted to the screen by British director Michael Radford. The Music of Silence shows the struggle that the artist, who lost his sight as a child from glaucoma and a soccer accident at the age of 12, had to go through to make it to the top. Now, at 59, the tenor has sold more than 80 million albums and was even declared the best of the best by fellow Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti, who said: “There is no finer voice than Bocelli”. But Bocelli had a hard time breaking through and coping with his blindness as it is portrayed in his autobiographical novel from 1999.
The adaptation is directed by British director Michael Radford, who is well known for the Oscar-nominated Il Postino and The Merchant of Venice and Bocelli is portrayed in the film by Toby Sebastian, the British actor best known as Trystane Martell from Game of Thrones. Bocelli himself makes an appearance in the beginning of the film, where he is seen writing the story on a typewriter and naming his alter ego, Amos Bardi. This was an old friend who was very influential in his early life and tutored him throughout his childhood and university years. “It was a discovery of a new world for me,” says Andrea Bocelli about the film. “I had the opportunity to be there while they were shooting some of the scenes.” The singer admits that he was nervous about having his personal story brought to the screen. He worked closely with the writer Anna Pavignano, who authored the screenplay.
“She had a very important role because she had to translate into a screenplay all the emotions that were in my book. There was something that worried me a little, but it was a very beautiful collaboration.” Starting out as a bar singer, Bocelli waited for his musical break. The film reveals that he truly longed for success and was impatient to get his big break. He was 36 before he became famous. But then he was suddenly in demand everywhere.
The role of the Maestro, who recognized Bocelli’s talent and practiced with him to make him star material, is played by Spanish actor Antonio Banderas. He recognizes Bocelli’s talent immediately. Banderas did not meet Bocelli in person but had many conversations with him on the phone. He did not meet the Maestro either, who was pretty hard on Bocelli while educating his voice. “I had some kind of experiences with singing professors too,” says Banderas. “When I did Evita and some of the musicals that I did, I worked with them and they are tough,” “He was just trying to not damage the instrument that this guy came to life with basically. At the same time, he did not only give him the technical preparation of his voice but also helped him understand art in general.”