Most churchgoers won’t be able to enter a place of worship on this Easter Sunday, but an exception is being made for Andrea Bocelli, who will perform a concert that night at the historic Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy, to be offered as a global live-stream on YouTube.
Bocelli will be accompanied only by cathedral organist cathedral organist Emanuele Vianelli for the occasion, which will, of course, take place without a live audience. Sacred pieces slated for the set list include “Ave Maria” and Mascagni’s “Sancta Maria.”
The performance, titled “Bocelli: Music for Hope,” is set to take place at 7 p.m. in Italy, the singer’s deeply afflicted home nation. That time slot will have it streaming in the U.S. at 1 p.m. ET and 10 a.m. PT, hours at which many viewers would have been attending church services if not for the worldwide coronavirus crisis. It’ll be seen exclusively on Bocelli’s YouTube channel (click here).
The city of Milan, the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, Sugar Music, Universal Music Group and YouTube have partnered for the web concert (for which Bocelli says he won’t be taking a fee).
“I am happy Andrea has accepted our invitation,” Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, said in a statement announcing the performance. “This year, Easter will be very different for all of us. The joyous serenity that usually comes with this day has been greatly troubled by the pandemic we are experiencing. I am sure that the extraordinary voice of Bocelli will be the embrace we are missing these days, a strong, special hug, capable of warming the heart of Milan, Italy and the world.”
“I believe in the strength of praying together,” Bocelli said in a statement. “I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now. 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. The generous, courageous, proactive Milan and the whole of Italy will be again, and very soon, a winning model, engine of a renaissance that we all hope for. It will be a joy to witness it, in the Duomo, during the Easter celebration which evokes the mystery of birth and rebirth.”
Separate from the concert, the tenor’s Andrea Bocelli Foundation has started a GoFundMe campaign to help hospitals purchase supplies to protect medical staff from the virus.