Andrea Bocelli’s concert at an empty Duomo of Milan has had over 26 million views since it streamed live on Easter Sunday, Fox News confirmed on Monday.
The concert, titled “Music for Hope,” premiered at the opera singer’s YouTube channel, and is the No. 1 trending video on the online platform. Bocelli’s participation was done pro bono, Universal Music confirmed. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has kept millions out of churches.
“I will cherish the emotion of this unprecedented and profound experience, of this Holy Easter which this emergency has made painful, but at the same time even more fruitful, one that will stay among my dearest memories of all time,” the Italian tenor told Fox News in a statement.
“That feeling of being at the same time alone – as we all are in the presence of the Most High – yet of expressing the voice of the prayer of millions of voices, has deeply impressed and moved me,” he continued. “Love is a gift. Making it flow is the primary purpose of life itself. And I find myself once again indebted to life.
“My gratitude goes to all those who made this possible, the City of Milan and the Duomo, and to all those who accepted the invitation and joined in a planetary embrace, gathering that blessing from Heaven that gives us courage, trust, optimism, in the certainty of our faith.”
The Duomo, which is the cathedral church of Milan, is closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bocelli previously told The Associated Press he didn’t thought of his performance as a concert, but rather “a prayer.”
“I received this invitation by the mayor of Milan and by the authorities of the church and of course I answered yes,” he explained. “I’m very happy to do this. Also, it’s not a performance. It’s not a concert. It’s only a prayer. I will go there to pray, and I’d like to think that everyone listening to me sing can pray with me.”
Bocelli, who was accompanied by organist Emanuele Vianelli, crafted and arranged a special set for the event and included holy songs such as “Ave Maria” and “Sancta Maria.”
The Grammy-nominated international star has also been giving back and assisting communities through the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF), which also started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help hospitals buy necessary equipment.
“We are trying to raise the money and deliver all tools needed for this crisis,” he told the outlet.
Italy has more than 135,000 confirmed cases and over 16,500 deaths attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak. The European country is still under lockdown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.