Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed an Easter solo concert from an empty Milan Cathedral streamed live from the coronavirus lockdown to millions of people around the world.
The recording of “Music for Hope,” which was streamed from Milan’s Duomo Cathedral on YouTube, has so far been viewed more than 22 million times.
Accompanied by an organist, Bocelli sang four songs inside the majestic Gothic structure and began with a version of “Amazing Grace” from the steps of the cathedral with a montage of photographs showing Paris, London and New York’s empty streets.
“On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honoured and happy to answer ‘Si’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan,” the visually impaired icon said in a message played before the brief concert.
“Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart,” he said.
The Lombardy zone, the capital of which is Milan, was the hardest hit in Italy’s coronavirus crisis, with over 9,000 deaths.
“Andrea Bocelli is a true gift from God. This was beautiful and just what I needed to see and feel right now. Thank you Mr. Bocelli for sharing your gift of your voice and music with us,” wrote YouTube viewer Peggy Young.
Churches remain closed in Italy, and even prayers by Pope Francis on Easter Sunday have been live-streamed.