Robot conducts tenor Bocelli, orchestra in Pisa

PISA, Italy — Tenor Andrea Bocelli has brought down the house at Pisa's Teatro Verdi by performing with an unusual conductor: a robot.

The white, two-armed YuMi robot, designed by the Swiss company ABB for factory assembly lines, led Bocelli and the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra in Verdi's "La Donna e Mobile" on Tuesday night at Pisa's inaugural International Robotics Festival.

Bocelli, who is blind, follows the music and is sensitive to the variabilities brought to a performance by different conductors.

He declared YuMi a capable conductor, saying the robot had been "programmed well."

The Lucca orchestra's regular conductor, Andrea Colombini, praised YuMi but said "he lacks sensitivity, most of all he lacks interaction. If the orchestra should make an error, YuMi doesn't stop."

Bocelli heads a foundation that helped organize the festival.

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