Opera singer Andrea Bocelli’s poignant Music For Hope live concert has so far been by 28,463,398 people following its streaming on Easter Sunday.
Bocelli’s concert aimed to send ‘love, healing and hope’ to Italy amid the coronavirus crisis.
The 61-year-old left viewers around the world in tears as they watched him perform from the deserted Duomo di Milano.
Powerful: Andrea Bocelli’s poignant Music For Hope live concert was watched by almost 27million people as he performed from the deserted Duomo di Milano on Easter Sunday
Sending love: The 61-year-old tenor stood in the deserted Duomo cathedral as he performed for the YouTube clip amid the coronavirus pandemic
Emotionally-charged fans praised Bocelli’s powerful performance on social media as ‘moving, mesmerising and magnificent!’
Bocelli was granted exclusive access to the currently closed Milan cathedral by Archpriest Monsignor Gianantonio Borgonovo and Mayor Giuseppe Sala.
The church has been shut off amid the pandemic but exclusively opened its doors for the opera star and organist Emanuele Vianelli.
The outbreak has raged across Italy – particularly in the northern Lombardy region – killing 19,899 and infecting more than 150,000 since it took hold.
But Italians hope they have passed the peak as 431 new deaths were reported by the civil protection service on Sunday – the lowest since March 19.
The event was hosted by Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, a 600-year-old organisation which supervises the building.
For his performance, Bocelli was accompanied by Duomo di Milano’s organist, Vianelli, while performing the likes of Ave Maria and Sancta Maria.
Viewers from around the world flocked to social media to express their gratitude to the singer, who provided one of his most iconic performances to date.
Iconic: The Italian opera singer left viewers around the world in tears as nearly 27million people watched his Music For Hope concert live from the deserted Duomo di Milano
Deserted: The Milan cathedral is currently closed amid the pandemic but exclusively opened its doors for just Bocelli and organist Emanuel
A concert for all: The footage was streamed live to his YouTube channel, and is set to be released digitally on audio streaming services within hours
‘I can’t help crying at the heartbreaking beauty of Andrea Bocelli alone in the great duomo, only empty seats in front of him. This moment in history is magnificent and utterly sad. Siamo con te, Italia,’ wrote one person.
‘Andrea Bocelli sang Amazing Grace just outside Duomo di Milano a few minutes ago. It was mesmerising,’ tweeted another.
Someone else admitted: ”Holy cow. Andrea Bocelli’s Amazing Grace just now was one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. Incredibly moving.’
Thanking the tenor, one viewer tweeted: ‘Andrea Bocelli singing alone inside Milan’s empty Duomo is heartbreaking but so powerful and uplifting. Grazie #MUSICFORHOPE.’
Peaceful: The Italian singer paused for a moment of quiet reflection ahead of his performance on Easter Sunday
High praise: Taking to social media in their droves, emotionally-charged fans praised Bocelli’s powerful performance as: ‘Moving, mesmerising and magnificent!’
Ahead of his performance, Bocelli appeared solemn as he was photographed at the breathtaking cathedral, wearing a sleek black tux complete with bow tie.
The tenor was without an audience due to Italy’s lockdown and government regulations surrounding COVID-19 but the footage was streamed live to his YouTube channel, and is set to be released digitally on audio streaming services within hours.
Talking ahead of his performance, Bocelli said: ‘On the day on which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honoured and happy to answer “Sì” to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan.’
Ahead of his performance: Bocelli appeared solemn as he was photographed at the breathtaking cathedral, wearing a sleek black tux complete with bow tie
The opera singer added: ‘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.
Devastating times: So far Italy has seen 19,468 deaths and 152,271 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Bocelli is also currently fundraising foundation to raise money for hospitals
Special: Andrea was granted exclusive access to the currently closed Milan cathedral by the Archpriest, Monsignor Gianantonio Borgonovo, and Mayor, Giuseppe Sala
‘It will be a joy to witness it, in the Duomo, during the Easter celebration which evokes the mystery of birth and rebirth.’
Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, said: ‘I am happy Andrea has accepted our invitation. This year, Easter will be very different for all of us.
‘The joyous serenity that usually comes with this day, has been greatly troubled by the pandemic we are experiencing.
Performance: Bocelli was accompanied by Duomo di Milano’s organist, Emanuele Vianelli, to perform the likes of Ave Maria and Sancta Maria
Virtual hug: ‘We will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart’ said the superstar singer ahead of his incredibly unique performance
‘I am sure that the extraordinary voice of Bocelli will be the embrace we are missing these days, a strong, special hug, capable of warming the heart of Milan, Italy and the world.’
Archpriest of Duomo di Milano, Monsignor Gianantonio Borgonovo, added: ‘Our ‘Hallelujah’ is an invitation that we placed in the ark forty days ago and that the flood, which has overwhelmed us all, almost made us forget the joy of expressing it on the day of Easter.
‘The voice and word of Andrea Bocelli reminds us that the reason for our hope does not come from us but it is a gift that comes from God.
Lockdown: Bocelli was without an audience due to Italy’s lockdown and government regulations surrounding COVID-19 (police pictured outside the cathedral in Milan on Monday)
‘This is what it means to promote, from our Duomo – the home of the people of Milan – and through the voice of Bocelli, the confidence that the Spirit of the Risen Crucifix will help us shape the days granted to us in the Kingdom of the One who wanted a new humanity, united and fraternal.’
As well as the special concert, Bocelli is also currently fundraising with his Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) on GoFundMe to raise money for hospitals to protect their medical staff with equipment during the COVID-19 emergency.
So far Italy has seen 19,468 deaths and 152,271 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Bocelli’s special live Easter concert was streamed on his YouTube channel from 6pm UK time, on Sunday.
Watch it: Bocelli’s special live Easter concert was available to stream on his YouTube channel from 6pm UK time, on Sunday