Andrea Bocelli’s voice reached a livestreaming audience of 2.8 million in real time on Easter Sunday and collected 28 million views worldwide in the first 24 hours after it streamed, making it the biggest livestreamed classical music event in history.
A million people queued up in the waiting room ahead of the “Music for Hope” concert from Italy on Sunday, and by Wednesday morning the performance had notched more than 35.4 million views.
The Italian opera singer’s solo performance, which was streamed live on YouTube from the Duomo cathedral in Milan, included “Ave Maria,” “Panis Angelicus,” “Amazing Grace” and more. There was no audience present, in keeping with restrictions related to the coronavirus crisis.
That the event took place in a nearly empty venue — Bocelli was accompanied only by organist Emanuele Vianelli — made it that much more poignant. Scenes of silent, deserted cities punctuated the half-hour presentation.
“For an artist, [Sunday’s] 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,” Bocelli said in a statement Wednesday.
“It was an immeasurable honor and privilege to lend my voice to the prayers of millions of people, gathered in a single embrace — a small, great miracle of which the whole world was the protagonist and which confirms my optimism about the future of our planet.”
Concurrently, the 61-year-old has been raising money through his Andrea Bocelli Foundation to provide ventilators and personal protective equipment to Italy’s Hospital of Camerino. Since the last week of March, more than $270,000 had been collected.