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WATCH: Andrea Bocelli’s Moving Easter Performance From an Empty Cathedral

Italian opera icon Andrea Bocelli gave a gift to the world on Easter Sunday, a moving performance streamed live on YouTube from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan. Billed as “#MusicForHope – Live from Duomo di Milano,” the songs were intended to lift the spirits of people around the globe who were separated from loved ones, unable to attend usual Easter services, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bocelli, who has been completely blind since the age of 12, began by addressing the global online audience in Italian, with English subtitles displayed on the screen.

“I believe in the strength of praying together,” he said, describing Easter as “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.”

Bocelli sang alone, accompanied only by cathedral organist Emmanuelle Vianelli, as the camera panned through an otherwise completely empty cathedral.

Dressed in black tie, Bocelli made no additional commentary as he sang “Panis Angelicus,” “Ave Maria,” “Sancta Maria,” and “Domine Deus,” his tenor voice resonating through the spacious cathedral.

He then walked out the doors to the cathedral steps to perform “Amazing Grace” a cappella, as the camera showed scenes of empty streets in Milan, and other cities around the world, including Paris, London, and New York City.

Bocelli’s performance was streamed live by over 3 million people and has been viewed by over 20 million so far, according to the YouTube statistics.

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, praising the singer’s heartfelt performance and efforts to support those fighting the pandemic. The performance was streamed for free, and the Andrea Bocelli Fund was raising money to provide ventilators and protective equipment to hospitals in Italy. As of the time this article was written, the fundraiser was closing in on its €250,000 goal, only about €30,000 short.

Watch the video above, via YouTube.

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