World-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli proved how powerful music can be when he united the globe at a time of great pain, writes Nick Benson
On Easter Sunday, in a moment that made the world stand still, legendary Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli broke multiple records with an emotionally charged solo performance, streamed exclusively live via YouTube from the Duomo in Milan.
The historic event reached over 2.8 million peak concurrent viewers, making it one of the biggest musical live stream performances of all time and the largest simultaneous audience for a classical live stream in YouTube history. The video received more than 28 million views from across the globe in its first 24 hours. Even prior to the stream be- ginning, more than 1 million viewers were present in the waiting room, in anticipation of the performance.
Bocelli’s extraordinary ‘Music For Hope’ performance has since been covered in more than 100 countries worldwide, and continues to trend globally across YouTube and social media platforms. Last week it reached number one trending on YouTube across the US, UK, Italy, Canada and throughout Latin America. These staggering figures make this
event the biggest live-streamed classical music event of all time, as millions, from all ages and backgrounds, joined together remotely around the world for this special 30-minute Easter Sunday broadcast. Within a week of the live performance being streamed, the video, which is now available to view on demand on YouTube, had been viewed over 35 million times.
The event was a moving delivery of an inspiring programme of sacred music, amid the stillness of a city under continued lockdown. But behind the scenes it was a remarkable technical feat to film and record the concert within the restrictions, as well as the time pressure to make the audio and footage available for access immediately afterwards. The aim was to deliver an uplifting message of love, healing and hope to the public through music, at a time when it was most needed and it did just that. The recording was released digitally on audio streaming services within hours.
Bocelli said: “I am moved and de- lighted to have received such an overwhelming reaction, that has gone beyond our highest expecta- tions. For an artist, the event is the reason for the sacrifices of a lifetime; for a believer and a Catholic as I am, it was further confirmation of the benevolent smile with which the Heavenly Father looks to his children. Thanks to everyone who worked in the shadows for weeks, from man- agement to the record label, and es- pecially to all of those who have shared this moment with us, to stay truly united.”
Accompanied only by the organist, Emanuele Vianelli, Bocelli sang a carefully chosen selection of pieces, specially arranged for solo voice and organ for the occasion, including the beloved Bach/Gounod setting of Ave Maria and Franck’s Panis Angelicus. Bocelli brought the stirring recital to a close with Amazing Grace, for which he was shown making his way out of the cathedral, in silence, and onto the steps facing a totally deserted piazza – an unprecedented sight for the national and international landmark – before singing the first verse completely unaccompanied. It was a moment of unforgettable poignancy.
Throughout history many people have spoken of how powerful music can be. On Easter Sunday, Andrea Bocelli gave the most conclusive evidence of this with his emotionally compelling performance.
On behalf of the millions of people throughout the world who were touched by this performance, thank you, Andrea Bocelli and everybody involved. The success of the event also shows the desire people all over the globe have to share a moment of prayer and hope, especially during these incredibly trying times.
• The ‘Music For Hope’ event, was promoted by the City of Milan and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, produced by Sugar Music, Universal Music Group & Decca Records, thanks to the contribution of YouTube. Bocelli’s participation was entirely free, in collaboration with Almud and Maverick Management.
Bocelli is currently involved in an emergency Covid-19 campaign. The Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) has started a fundraiser to help hospitals purchase all instruments and equipment necessary to protect their medical staff.
Donate through GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/f/wk67wc-abfxcamerino or by contacting the ABF.
Alternatively email for more details to [email protected]