ANDREA BOCELLI provided an emotional rallying cry to the world on Easter Sunday with a stunning concert performed in an empty Milan cathedral.
The opera legend sang, by invitation of the city, at the Duomo di Milano, in a performance representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world.
Italy is among the worst affected countries in Europe for coronavirus, with a reported 19,899 deaths and 153,363 reported cases at the time of writing.
Like much of the world, the country remains under strict lockdown with Italian cathedrals shut and religious celebrations muted over Easter.
Eager to offer some solace in these difficult times, Bocelli performed a list of songs under the title of Music for Hope after receiving exclusive access to the famous cathedral from Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and Archpriest Monsignor Gianantonio Borgonovo.
Taking to the altar surrounded by eerily empty pews, Bocelli was joined by organist Emanuele Vianelli for a performance that included familiar favourites like Ave Maria and Amazing Grace.
The performance was live-streamed on Bocelli’s YouTube channel, with as many as 3.4 million people tuning in at home to watch.
Since then, the clip has gone on to amass close to 25 million views on the platform and can be enjoyed, in full, here.
Speaking before his performance, Bocelli spoke of his belief in music as a unifying force.
“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,” he said.
“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.”