Lifestyle & Human Interest

Andrea Bocelli Sings 'Amazing Grace' at Empty Cathedral on Easter Sunday and It's Hauntingly Beautiful


For many of us, Sunday involved getting dressed in our Easter best (or best pajamas) and heading to “church” remotely. Some of us joined in on our iPhones, some on tablets, some on laptops, but for many of us, Easter did not involve something it always has: being in a church building.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a strange time for us all, but at least we can stay involved with the people and churches in our lives through the internet.

And to that end, Andrea Bocelli and the city of Milan offered a special Easter concert hosted in the famous Duomo Cathedral of Milan that people anywhere around the world could watch from their homes.

“On Easter Sunday (April 12, 2020 at 6PM UK), by invitation of the City and of the Duomo Cathedral of Milan, Italian global music icon Andrea Bocelli will give a solo performance representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world,” an announcement on Bocelli’s Facebook page said.

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“Stay home and live stream this performance exclusively on YouTube,” the caption for the video read. “The event is 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.”

The performance was set against the backdrop of the cathedral: Ornate carvings, vivid stained-glass windows and even the front of the impressive church are all highlighted.

Scenes of empty streets from several major cities also featured into the performance, showing how much the traffic has died down as we all shelter in place to protect ourselves, our loved ones and complete strangers.

Bocelli was joined by organist Emanuele Vianelli, and the music selections were all time-honored choices: “Panis Angelicus,” “Ave Maria,” “Sancta Maria,” “Domine Deus” and “Amazing Grace.”

“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,” Bocelli said, according to the YouTube caption. “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.”

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“It was a beautiful concert, and Amazing Grace brought me to tears,” one viewer wrote on the Facebook post of “Amazing Grace,” which has been viewed over 9 million times. “Thank you, Mr. Bocelli, for bringing that marvelous voice into our homes on Easter!!!!!!!”

“Thank You for this beautiful performance,” wrote another. “I played it while at the cemetery today in real time for my father as he listened to your music in his last hours. Blessings to the world, on this Easter Day.”

“Andrea, Thank you,” a third person said. “So loved watching you. Chills when you sang Ave Maria and Amazing Grace. From my home in New York, thank you so much bless you and your family.”

The whole performance is available on YouTube.

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