Opera legend Andrea Bocelli left fans around the world in tears with a “mesmerizing” performance in the empty Duomo cathedral in Milan.
An incredible 3.4 million people listened to the concert of singer “Music for Hope”, who sent a message of “love, healing and hope” to Italy and the rest of the world to the coronavirus crisis.
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Although the famous Duomo cathedral was closed due to the pandemic, Bocelli obtained exclusive access from the mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala and the arch-priest Mgr Gianantonio Borgonovo.
He was accompanied by cathedral organist Emanuele Vianelli and performed a selection of pieces including Ave Maria and Amazing Grace.
Bocelli, one of the world’s most famous tenor singers, hoped to bring people together through the concert, which he described more as a “prayer” than a performance.
Viewers flocked to social media in awe of Bocelli’s performance, which was broadcast live on his YouTube channel at 5 p.m.
One user wrote: “Hearing @AndreaBocelli always gives me chills and makes me cry. Her voice is so powerful! “
And another added: “@AndreaBocelli you touched my heart. I cried tears for Italy and the whole world. “
Italy has been ravaged by the coronavirus, with 19,899 deaths and more than 150,000 people infected.
But the country’s death rate recently started to drop, with an increase of 431 deaths on Sunday, up from 691 the day before.
The figure is the lowest number of deaths per day recorded in the country since March 19 – giving Italians a glimmer of hope that the peak of the epidemic has passed.
The daily increase in coronavirus cases in the country has also slowed to 4,092 from 4,694 previously.
Bocelli, 61, also launched a fundraiser to help hospitals buy protective equipment for medical staff during the pandemic, which has so far raised € 200,000.
Speaking before his performance, he said he was “honored” to perform for the city of Milan and the Italian people.
He said, “I believe in the strength to pray together; I believe in Christian Easter, the universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether a believer or not – really needs right now.
“Thanks to the music broadcast live, bringing together millions of hands joined all over the world, we will be in our arms this pulsating heart of the Wounded Earth, this marvelous international forge which is the pride of Italy. “
This morning, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte celebrated Easter Sunday by thanking people for their sacrifices in the fight against the virus.
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He also recognized that many families are losing loved ones as they celebrate Easter with empty seats at the table.
“Together we will get there,” said Conte in a Facebook post.
Officials also noted that Italy has increased testing capacity in recent days, producing more positive cases but allowing more effective quarantine measures for people once they know they are infected.
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Italy passed the million virus test mark on Sunday, doubling the number of tests since late March.
And Italy is currently considering plans to relax the lock-in restrictions – despite health experts warning that it would be “a dangerous thing to do.”
Shops and businesses could reopen on April 13, and Italians may be allowed out and back to work starting May 4, reports said.