With all of Italy in a nation-wide lockdown until May 3rd, and all religious services suspended, this has been a strange Easter. We heard the church bells start early this morning in Rome, though the mass would be celebrated without the faithful.
The Pope live-streamed his Urbi et Orbi Easter message from an undecorated St. Peter’s. He called for “the contagion of hope,” and offered comfort to those experiencing the holiday in solitude.
Another extraordinary Easter event was also planned for Easter evening. At the invitation of the city of Milan, which is at the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak, Andrea Bocelli performed live from the empty Milan Duomo.
The cathedral has been closed for over a month but it will welcome Bocelli and organist Emanuele Vianelli on Easter Sunday. There won’t be a live audience, but the world is welcome to join for free by watching the Italian tenor’s concert on YouTube.
About the Easter performance, Bocelli said:
“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. 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. 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.”
His performance was broadcast live and it was incredibly moving – particularly the last song, Amazing Grace, which he sang outside the closed doors.
This is not Bocelli’s first gesture of unity during the crisis. The renowned singer has already been raising funds for Italy’s overstretched hospitals via his personal charity, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. The foundation raised €100,000 for the Covid Hospital in Camerino (Le Marche), purchasing four ventilators for the facility.