Millions watch Andrea Bocelli sing in empty Milan cathedral
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed a solo Easter concert from an empty Milan Cathedral streamed live to millions of people around the world in coronavirus lockdown.
The "Music for Hope" performance, which was streamed on YouTube from Milan's Duomo cathedral, has been watched more than 22 million times so far.
Accompanied by an organist, Bocelli sang four songs inside the magnificent Gothic building and ended with a rendition of "Amazing Grace" from the cathedral steps with a montage of images showing the empty streets of Paris, London and New York.
"On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I'm honoured and happy to answer 'Si' to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan," the visually impaired star said in a message played before the short concert.
"Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth's pulsing heart," he said.
The Lombardy region, of which Milan is the capital, has been the hardest hit in Italy's coronavirus crisis, with more than 9,000 deaths.
"Andrea Bocelli is a true gift from God. This was beautiful and just what I needed to see and feel right now. Thank you Mr. Bocelli for sharing your gift of your voice and music with us," wrote YouTube viewer Peggy Young.
Churches in Italy remain closed and even prayers given by Pope Francis on Easter Sunday were livestreamed.