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RCF celebrates the 70th anniversary in Venice with Andrea Bocelli

One of the most loved and appreciated voices in the world

A palpable sense of anticipation rippled across RCF’s global network when the Italian company announced that its 70th anniversary would be marked with the enigmatically-named “A Night in Laguna” and that they were prepared to fly in guests from all points of the globe to share this landmark occasion. With the realisation that the Laguna was Venice’s famous enclosed bay on the Adriatic, and that the ultimate destination would be the Arsenale di Venezia (Venice Arsenal), the sense of expectation rose further.

“A Night in Laguna”

It was here, following a 45-minute boat journey along the waterway that nearly 500 RCF distributors, dealers and customers arrived at the famous old 16th century complex, the hub of Italian shipbuilding and armouries at a time when the waves were ruled by naval fleets and merchant vessels in search of the new world.
Having been put up in one of the city’s best hotels guests were yet to discover just how far RCF’s hospitality would extend as they headed towards the North Hall of this imposing building.

With the Aperol Spritz, Martini cocktails, Prosecco and wines flowing freely, guests were able to further stimulate their taste buds with a spread of epicurean delights provided by two Michelin starred chef Silvio Giavedoni, Quadri Restaurant, Alajmo (Venice). After sampling some wonderful culinary canapés, these included such tasty confections as “Maxpacho” (the chef’s signature dish); Pasta and Risotto buffet; Cappuccino from the Laguna (mussels, clams, shrimp, cuttlefish, garusoli and potato mousse); Red snapper tartare; Milanese-style lamb chops with herb mayonnaise and much more. And to top it off there was a wonderful Gin & Tonic sorbet with juniper berries … followed by a special 70th birthday cake.

“one of the most loved and appreciated voices in the world”

Suitably replete, guests were invited next door, where RCF Group CEO Arturo Vicari was introduced to spontaneous applause. He emphasised the fact that what RCF had really been selling this past 70 years was “emotion”— a fact confirmed by a short company video. This was followed by an audible gasp as the announcement went out that RCF would now be celebrating its milestone in the company of Andrea Bocelli, “one of the most loved and appreciated voices in the world.”
The tenor took the stage with a 69-piece orchestra conducted by Carlo Bernini and for the next 60 minutes-plus guests were mesmerised as they were treated to their own private recital of populist light opera. It was a show to end all shows as first Bocelli first introduced the riveting Cuban soprano Maria Aleida, who gave a stellar performance while mimicking Offenbach’s “Bambola” (the Doll)—her strings “pulled” to various vocal incantations and ululations. This was one of many show highlights, as later was the appearance of magical Ukrainian principal violinist Anastasiya Petryshak, on whom all eyes were fixed every time she took to the stage. Meanwhile, another regular of Andrea Bocelli’s ensemble was Italian singer, Ilaria Della Bidia, who can perform in ten languages.

The set of popular classics ended to a crescendo of applause, which brought the ensemble back for two encores, firstly for Sartori’s “Con te partirò” and finally a moving version of “Nessun Dorma” starring Bocelli and Petrishak.

The concert also brought the best out of RCF’s cleverly designed PA. Given the opportunity of reproducing a pure, unamplified classical concert in a potentially live environment that seemed to lack any reflections or reverberation was a kind of sonic nirvana.

Credit for this is due to the expertise of RCF Engineering Support Group (ESG) pro staff, whose central cluster design not only met the specific rider requirements of the artist’s technicians but also every member of an audience for whom the search pristine sound reinforcement is their ultimate goal.

This cluster comprised ten HDL 26-A in curved line array configuration, with single L/R TT2-A sidefills giving width to the image. A straight line of seven TT10-A, electronically curved using RDNet, provided front fills, while a large complement of 13 SUB 9006-A in a straight line, was also fully optimised thanks to the curve electronically created in RDNet. Stage monitoring was provided by the artist’s production. 

Mixing Andre Bocelli’s vocals and the soloists on a DiGiCo SD7 was Andrea Taglia, the artist’s long term FOH engineer. He also received a separate orchestra mix created on a second SD7, piloted by another long-term collaborator, Francesco La Camera.

in addition to often overused words like “passion” and “emotion”, I would suggest another word that best encapsulates the ethos of RCF: “humanity”

But in addition to often overused words like “passion” and “emotion”, I would suggest another word that best encapsulates the ethos of RCF: “humanity”. For that seems to be the collective noun that best fits this Reggio Emilia-based company. 

RCF is, and always has been run like a social democracy. Arturo Vicari could not stress too highly how much the company owed its success to its wonderfully loyal distributor network. And in an age when loyalty is becoming a diminishing attribute, and the mercantile world is increasingly ruled by greed, this event not only marked a welcome return to old values but in the space of five unforgettable hours, paid homage to their importance.
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