This year’s touching John Lewis Christmas advert has officially launched today, starring Snappy the Venus flytrap, with world-renowned opera legend Andrea Bocelli singing the joyful soundtrack. In the tear-jerking campaign, the 65-year-old singer performs the song ‘Festa’, meaning ‘celebration’, which is written and produced by artist Le Feste Antonacci.
The song will be released in a longer form as a charity single, with a portion of the proceeds going to charities. Andrea has said: “I am delighted to take part in this wonderful and unique tradition of Christmas storytelling. It is very special for me given the great support this will bring to both the John Lewis and Andrea Bocelli foundations. Joy to all of your worlds this Christmas!”
Andrea was born with impaired sight and diagnosed with congenital glaucoma. He spent much of his early childhood in hospital and medics managed to save around 10 percent of his sight in one eye. As an infant, Andrea felt comforted by music, and his mother, Edi Bocelli, would play records to calm him down. He once shared: “When I was five, my mother discovered that the only way to comfort me with my glaucoma was to play classical music on the record player.”
At six years old, he started piano lessons and later learned to play the flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar and drums. By age seven, he had his heart set on becoming an opera singer and would listen to Franco Corelli on repeat. Then when he was 12, Andrea lost his sight completely during a tragic football accident. He was hit in the eye playing goalkeeper during a match and suffered a brain haemorrhage.
“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,” he said during an interview in 2017. “The doctors tried to cure me with various operations… but there was nothing that could be done.” In a last-ditch effort to save his sight, medics tried to use leeches to improve the blood flow, but they were unsuccessful and Andrea remained blind. He taught himself to read music in Braille and carried on horseriding and cycling.
“The fact that I am blind is not what defines my life,” Andrea once said. “People wonder if there is a relationship between my lack of sight and the way I sing. But there’s no connection.” At the age of 14, Andrea won his first singing competition in Viareggio, Italy, and while he studied law at the University of Pisa, he performed in piano bars to make money. He is now the world’s most beloved tenor and the most successful classical artist of all time.