The singer had said he wanted to do it as a kind of prayer with and for the world on Easter. It turned into something no one quite expected.
One of the producers calls it “living history,” and that sounds about right. This Easter event, just 26 minutes long, has become a phenomenon. Hugh Jackman tweeted: “From the bottom of our hearts, @Andrea Bocelli, thank you. A tremendous gift and exactly what we needed.” Over 30 million people (and counting) agree.
When Andrea Bocelli’s Easter performance at Duomo di Milan was first conceived, it was being thought of primarily as a local event — or localized to Italy, at least. The live-stream’s instigator, the mayor of Milan, came up with the idea with the intention of uplifting his home country, the one hardest hit in some of the critical weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
It became a global tune-in event, of course, for a lot of people who viewed it as a substitute for church and a lot more who might never have darkened the door of one. Roughly 5 million people around the world logged on to YouTube to view the half-hour sacred music concert as it was happening. By Monday night the archived performance had 32 million views. Clearly, it transcended religion, nationality, age demographic and even music preference on its way to becoming perhaps the signature cultural event of the pandemic.
“The mayor of Milan wanted to ask Andrea to do sort of a big prayer for all the Italian communities hit by the Covid,” says Francesco Pasquero, Maverick Management’s man in Milan, who co-manages Bocelli. “Andrea accepted the invitation, and then we started building the project, and it became bigger and bigger. We find now that it’s hit 30 million views in less than 24 hours, which is incredible considering the kind of artist he is and the kind of audience that he has, the kind of repertoire that he performed — because it’s pure classical music — and the difficulty that we had in putting this together.”
For a gig whose primary audiences might have been considered churchgoers or classical-goers, especially, demographic as well as spiritual transcendence seemed to be in play…
“Andrea has been really impressed by the amount of comments that we got all over the world, but most important from the people (who are) not Catholic,” says Pasquero. “So this event got way beyond just the religious. And the one that really hit me was, ‘This performance was the one that we will remember in 20 years (from) during these days.’ So it feels like a sort of living history.”
The piece goes on to say an audio of the concert will be released to streaming services, and a separate video of “Amazing Grace” is also being produced.
And of course, if you missed it, here it is. According to YouTube, it is still the #1 trending video on its online service.