By Jim Fair

On Easter Sunday, Italian tenor and global music icon Andrea Bocelli gave a solo performance at the historic Duomo, the cathedral of Milan, Italy, by invitation of the City and of the cathedral, and thanks to the hospitality of the Archpriest and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo.

On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honored and happy to answer ‘Sì’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan”. This is how Andrea Bocelli said ‘yes’ to the City of Milan in this dark time that has wounded all of Italy.

There was no audience present, and strictly no access for the public (in compliance with government regulations on Covid-19), but the concert will be exclusively streamed live globally on the YouTube; it can be replayed and has been enjoyed by more than 33 million viewers.

In a concert representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world, the Duomo, a national and international landmark, currently closed to all, opened its doors exceptionally for Andrea Bocelli who will be accompanied only by the cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli, playing one of world’s largest pipe organs. The carefully selected pieces, specially arranged for solo voice and organ for the occasion, will include the well-loved Ave Maria setting by Bach/Gounod and Mascagni’s Sancta Maria – uplifting sacred music repertoire on a day symbolic of the renewal of life.

The event was promoted by the City of Milan and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, produced by Sugar Music and Universal Music Group, thanks to the generous contribution of YouTube. Andrea Bocelli’s participation is entirely pro-bono (in collaboration with Almud and Maverick Management).

“I am happy Andrea has accepted our invitation,” said the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala. “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.”

“Our ‘Hallelujah’ is an invitation that we placed in the ark forty days ago and that the flood, which has overwhelmed us all, almost made us forget the joy of expressing it on the day of Easter. The voice and word of Andrea Bocelli reminds us that the reason for our hope does not come from us but it is a gift that comes from God. This is what it means to promote, from our Duomo – the home of the people of Milan – and through the voice of Bocelli, the confidence that the Spirit of the Risen Crucifix will help us shape the days granted to us in the Kingdom of the One who wanted a new humanity, united and fraternal,” said Monsignor Gianantonio Borgonovo, Archpriest of the Duomo of Milan.

“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. 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,” said Andrea Bocelli.

“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.”

Bocelli, with the Foundation that carries his name, is currently involved in an emergency COVID-19 campaign.

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