On Sunday evening, world-famous classical singer Andrea Bocelli performed a solo Easter concert from an empty Milan Cathedral. With only a piano as an accompaniment, the Italian tenor inspired hope around the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 61-year-old songwriter and record producer was born in Lajatico, Italy, on September 22, 1958. He was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma at five months old and completely lost his sight at the age of 12 following a football accident.
Bocelli’s career started when Italian rock star Zucchero held auditions for tenors to make a demo tape for his song, “Misesere,” which he would be recording as a duet with Luciano Pavarotti. When the latter heard the tape, he urged Zucchero to record with Bocelli instead of him. It became a hit throughout Europe.
Now, having sold over 90 million albums worldwide, Bocelli is the world’s best selling classical artist.
Bocelli’s “Music for Hope” concert took place in Milan’s Duomo Cathedral. It was live-streamed on YouTube, which has been viewed over 28.3 million times at the time of writing.
“On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honored and happy to answer ‘Si’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan,” the singer said in a message played before the virtual Easter concert.
Bocelli, donning a three-piece suit and black bow tie, performed four sacred pieces inside the magnificent Gothic building: “Sancta Maria,” “Domine Deus,” “Panis Angelicu,” and “Ave Maria.” Accompanied by the cathedral’s organist, Emanuele Vianelli, the tenor’s hauntingly beautiful voice reverberated through the interior of the massive church.
But the most powerful moment of the performance came when Bocelli stood in the cathedral steps outside and belted a powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace.” A montage showing the empty streets of Paris, London, and New York played as he was singing his final song. At the very end, he repeated the last line twice: “I was blind, but now I see.”
“I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now,” Bocelli said in the brief spoken intro of the video.
“Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride,” he continued.
Italy has been one of the hardest-hit nations by the coronavirus outbreak. Over 156,000 cases have been recorded in the European country, and more than 19,000 citizens have already died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
One of the famous figures moved by the magnificent performance is actor Hugh Jackman. He took to Twitter to express his admiration and gratitude to Bocelli.
“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Andrea Bocelli. A tremendous gift and exactly what we needed. #amazinggrace #happyeaster,” he tweeted, along with a snap of the star singing.
Money raised from the event will be used to provide emergency hospital resources for medical staff, like protective equipment gear.
You may watch the spectacular Easter concert in the video below.
Thank you, Andrea Bocelli, for once more using your musical gift to spread a message of love, healing, and hope to your home country and the rest of the world.